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Equality diversity and inclusion

Support NAHT's vision for equal and fair treatment for everyone working and learning in UK schools

Our commitment 

NAHT is dedicated to promoting equality for all of its members. We aim to achieve sector-wide equal and fair treatment for everyone working and learning in UK schools and equal representation and engagement within our structures and democratic processes.

This commitment is enshrined in NAHT’s constitution, which states NAHT will ‘promote equality for all including through:

  1. Collective bargaining, publicity material and campaigning, representation, union organisation and structure, education and training, organising and recruitment, the provision of all other services and benefits and all other activities.
  2. The union’s own employment practices.
  3. To actively oppose all forms of harassment, prejudice and unfair discrimination whether on the grounds of sex, race, ethnic or national origin, religion, colour, class, caring responsibilities, marital status, sexuality, disability, age or other status or personal characteristic.’

NAHT’s work on equality is overseen by our Diversity and Inclusion Group, a sub-committee of NAHT’s National Executive. The committee meets four times a year to discuss issues relating to diversity and inclusion within the association, the profession and schools themselves. 

NAHT’s work around equality and diversity runs across all areas of the association but centres around three main areas:

1. Schools 

As school leaders, NAHT members are ideally positioned to create inclusive learning and working environments for all their pupils and staff, one which welcomes diversity and champions equality. NAHT supports our members by providing advice and guidance to achieve this.

2. The profession

NAHT is committed to ensuring the education profession (and school leadership in particular) reflects the diversity of the communities and areas that schools work in. This includes establishing inclusive working environments and cultures for staff, lobbying for equal pay for groups with protected characteristics and providing advice and support to members who have experienced discrimination and harassment. As part of its ongoing efforts to improve the diversity at a school leadership level, NAHT has also pledged its own actions and commitments to furthering equality, diversity and inclusion in education for 2021/22. 

3. NAHT

NAHT recognises that we are most effective in representing the views and needs of school leaders when we engage with all of our membership. We are therefore committed to ensuring our own democratic structures are inclusive and reflect the diversity of the educational professionals and learners that we serve. We will take all possible steps to promote and encourage the participation of all members in our democratic processes and actively address areas of under-representation.

NAHT's anti-racism statement

We know that racism (intentional and unintentional) and racial inequality continues to exist, and we firmly believe that we, as an organisation and as individual members, must play a role in actively addressing this within the educational sector. It matters for the health, well-being and futures of our members, their staff and the pupils and communities that they serve.
NAHT commits to putting an anti-racist approach at the heart of our work; this means acknowledging, challenging and effectively addressing all forms of racism and racial inequality wherever we find it, both collectively and individually.
We know that doing so will not always be easy; for this to have true impact we must be willing to question our own roles in the system, both as an organisation and as individuals. We will need to acknowledge times where we may have got things wrong, or failed to improve our own understanding and awareness of the scale and impact of the current situation. 
It will also require clear action, not just rhetoric. 
This means committing to improving our understanding, awareness and action on the systemic racism and inequality that is experienced by Black, Asian and minority ethnic children, staff and school leaders. We hope that the You Are Not Alone: Leaders for Race Equality book, supported by NAHT, is a positive first step in doing so. We will ensure that this is underpinned by the recognition that individuals from ‘Black, Asian and minority ethnic’ backgrounds are not one single category, but rather, people from a range of backgrounds, races and religions, each with their own unique challenges and experiences.
We know school leaders have a unique and vital role to play in this work. From the overarching ethos of schools to the detail of the curriculum, their educational leadership has the power to help bring about the change we need to see.  We will work to support and empower all of our members to feel confident in adopting an anti-racist approach in their own schools; ensuring they have the understanding, knowledge and resources required to effectively embed an inclusive approach within their schools for all staff and pupils. 
As a profession we also need to be prepared to hold a mirror up to ourselves. We know that the profession is not yet representative of the communities we serve, and that this is a particular issue at senior leadership level. We commit to addressing this issue head-on; collaborating with the sector and our partners to build on our current commitments to ensure we play our part in helping further equality, diversity and inclusion in the sector. We will also use our voice and standing in the sector in order to press for greater change and support from government on this critical issue. 
And as a union, we must also be prepared to challenge ourselves by identifying and resolving issues of inequality within our own structures. This includes reviewing our processes and policies, supporting the growth of our equality networks and seeking new ways for members to engage with the democracy of NAHT. 
We also know the NAHT has a role to assess its own internal culture and commitment to anti-racism, and to lead by example. To this end we have begun to review our policies and procedures, and are seeking to provide training for staff in areas such as ‘unconscious bias’.
We acknowledge that this is a journey and will take time. To be truly effective it must be embedded as part of our work developing a full equality, diversity and inclusion action plan which will be focused on achieving and monitoring sustainable change for NAHT. We will use the insight and challenge from the members of our Leaders for Race Equality network to guide us in this endeavour.
We encourage and support all our members and the wider profession to join us in this journey. 

Our networks

Find out more about our three existing equalities networks below. 

Advice and support

NAHT has several advice resources which support and address issues of equality, diversity and inclusion. You can access NAHT’s advice here

The association is committed to pursuing, developing and championing equalities and equal opportunities in members’ employment. The association will protect members by challenging unlawful discrimination in employment matters. Further details on how to access support from NAHT can be found here.

While this page sets out the general position to provide helpful guidance to all members, the individual advice that we give may differ at times depending on the particular member’s personal circumstances and the factual position they find themselves in. There are also circumstances where NAHT will be pushing the government to change their position or take a different approach in the future but until that change is achieved, members need to follow the current legislation and the government’s guidance to protect their own position.

We hope members will attempt to go over and above the current legislation and the government’s guidance in their school, where they have the flexibility to do so and become beacons of best practice. This will help make these schools great places to be for all staff and pupils.

Policy and campaigns

NAHT’s policy and campaigning work is centred around five key campaigns, with equality, diversity and inclusion embedded throughout. You can see our latest work and updates on these here.

Resources 

Read 'You are Not Alone: Leaders for Race Equality', a book from NAHT’s first equality network for Black, Asian and minority ethnic members. 

Download our equality, diversity and inclusion calendar

 

Interested in supporting our diversity and inclusion work?

We welcome and encourage members to become involved in NAHT’s diversity and inclusion work. There are many ways to do this, whether through becoming a union rep, joining our Leaders’ for Race Equality or LGBT+ Network, or representing the union at a TUC Equality Conference.  Interested in supporting our diversity and inclusion work?

If you would like to be more involved, please get in touch by emailing organising@naht.org.uk

Latest news and advice

Reflections to mark LGBT+ History Month

As part of LGBT+ History Month 2022, school leaders are sharing how they're marking the month in their school and which LGBT+ figures have inspired them.

Helen Richardson, deputy head teacher, Seely Primary and Nursery School

It turns out it's really difficult to name inspirational LGBT+ people. It's a bit like being asked to name your favourite song. Where do you start narrowing it down? Growing up under Section 28 between the ages of seven and 22, I really lacked LGBT+ role models in my youth, but I've spent a lot of time recently researching LGBT+ history (particularly British LGBT+ history) for my own interest and for work, and I'm definitely in awe of the following people: 

Mark Ashton: British gay rights activist and co-founder of LGSM (Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners). It must have been hard enough being a gay man in the 1980s, but Mark looked for other struggling communities and decided (sometimes against great resistance) to support the striking miners.

Justin Fashanu: I'm a big football fan. Justin was incredibly brave to come out when he did. It's 2022, and the significant lack of out male players in the Premiership is telling – the football world hasn't really moved on. Sport is for everyone, and I hope in the future that acceptance and respect can overcome the hatred often heard in the football stands.

Baynard Rustin: as an advisor to Martin Luther King Jr, Baynard planned the 1963 march on Washington where MLK delivered his famous 'I have a dream speech'. Non-violent protests were important to Baynard to get across the message of inequality. He campaigned for an end to racial discrimination and, as a gay man, gay rights too.

Lisa Power: it would be hard to list all the achievements and contributions that Lisa has made to the LGBT+ community, but campaigning to end Section 28, co-founding Stonewall and the Pink Paper and being the first openly LGBT+ person to speak at the United Nations are but a few. Lisa is a trustee of Queer Britain, which is opening the first LGBTQ+ museum in spring 2022 in London, and I cannot wait to visit it!

This year, 2022, is the first year my school has celebrated LGBT+ History Month, so it was important for me to get it right. As the theme is ‘politics in art’, each year group has an LGBT+ artist who used/uses their art to campaign for change (Frida Kahlo, Andy Warhol, David Hockney, Doris Brabham-Hatt, Jean-Michel Basquinat, Leilah Babirye and Keith Haring). The children are going to produce art in the style of their artist and learn about their background. We're going to make the finished work into a big LGBT+ History Month display. I'm really excited about the combination of LGBT+, history and art. I've also been overwhelmed by the enthusiasm of my colleagues for the project. We're kicking off the month with age-appropriate assemblies about significant moments in LGBT+ history.

LGBT+ History Month will form an important part of our diversity work at Seely, and add to other elements of work we've done to educate the children about acceptance and respect of the protected characteristics.


Troy Jenkinson, head teacher at Highgate Primary, Sileby, Leicestershire

Writing this as another February LGBT+ History Month approaches, I take this time to reflect on those who influenced my thinking, growing up and beginning my career during the period of the infamous Section 28.

I cast my mind back to watching the hugely influential mini-series Queer as Folk back in 1999, written by the amazingly talented Russell T Davies. Back then, I was a fresh-faced student teacher nearing the end of my university degree. Closeted for the vast majority of my school years, I was still subjected to venomous bullying from peers ignorant to the impact of their jeers. I tried to find my voice as I neared the end of my sixth-form days, but divided reactions firmly shut the closet doors once more, and I led a double life throughout the majority of my formative years of university.

By day I was taking the path into a respected profession, yet by night I was venturing into an exploratory world of the unknown gay scene in Nottingham. I was fortunate to find a close group of friends who supported one another in finding their feet. Yet, I found no LGBT role models to look up to. Thanks to Mrs Thatcher's Section 28, it was illegal to discuss anything to do with being gay in school settings and gay characters such as Colin in EastEnders were vilified in the media.

So along came Russell T Davies and this ‘out there’ show. The characters were positive. The show was funny, yet it tackled issues facing the LGBT community. I remember watching it in secret, volume turned down. Fast forward a few years and Russell has continued to influence with his writing. He brought back Doctor Who with queer characters such as Captain Jack, broke boundaries with Cucumber and most recently in 2021, gained critical acclaim with his hugely successful series It's a Sin.

So how has this influenced me as an educationalist? Russell's first venture gave me hope. It made me realise that I wasn't a freak of nature. His offerings in Doctor Who and Cucumber reflected the changing attitudes towards all marginalised groups and reaffirmed my belief in myself. This belief helped me grasp every opportunity to progress in my teaching career and move into leadership positions that have allowed me to influence positive change. It's a Sin served as a reminder of the challenges many of us faced growing up gay in a world that, not so long ago, was less accepting than it is now.

Russell's work has stimulated my passion for writing and promoting equality in my own small way. As a primary school teacher, I have always loved writing, as much as teaching writing. So, when an opportunity arose for me to develop stories I had used in assemblies into self-published picture books tackling equality issues, I jumped at the chance. This has allowed me to visit many schools (during my school holidays) to help promote diversity through my book The Best Mummy Snails in the Whole Wide World.

Simultaneously, I was thrilled to work with Andrew Moffatt, a leading LGBT activist and author of No Outsiders in Our Schools. Taking inspiration from him, I was able to develop the use of picture books as a vehicle of representation for children and families of all different characteristics in our community. Not only this, but I was able to help our children feel and believe that they too could help to break down barriers. They were only too proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with schools in Birmingham who were subjected to protests against the ‘No Outsiders’ work, both locally and on a national level.

Russell – I have you to thank for being an inspiration, not just to me, but to many. I look forward to seeing what you have to offer next with your work.


David Church

As we enter this year's LGBT+ History Month, I'm keen to reflect on the journey we are on as a society, an LGBT+ community and on a more personal and professional level.

The year 2022 marks 50 years since the first Pride march in 1972. In that time, societal attitudes have changed. Society is now more accepting of the LGBT+ community. Television, film and music are now populated with openly queer people – just look at the public support affection for John and Johannes on BBC's Strictly Come Dancing, or the popularity of It's A Sin. Even sport is becoming more diverse, with more LGBT+ representation than ever before.

Politically, Section 28 has come and gone. Homosexuality has been declassified as a mental health illness, there is marriage equality, and sexual orientation and gender reassignment are now protected characteristics under the Equality Act.

However, on a personal level, I have only recently begun to explore my identity as a gay man within the teaching profession and accept this part of my identity with pride. There are two authors to which I credit this: Matthew Todd and George M Johnson.

Todd's book Straightjacket: Overcoming society's legacy of gay shame has been pivotal in allowing me to reflect on how society is heteronormative and the impact this has on young LGBT+ people. As a result, this has allowed me to question the role schools play in reinforcing these norms. It's given me the ability to feel stronger as a person and confident enough to not just celebrate LGBT+ diversity in schools, but ensure that allies also consider this important – both for staff, our children and their families.

Johnson's book All Boys Aren't Blue has been critical in allowing me to understand the intersectionality between being black and non-binary, and how identity is delicately formed in childhood. In his book, Johnson writes so eloquently that "the white community has long prevented Black progress in every arena. Even today, institutions are still having 'the first Black person to…' And it means something" (page 91). Although I don't share Johnson's lived experiences, I can relate this to being part of the LGBT+ community. There are still the same conversations around sexual identity and gender reassignment. Wouldn't it be wonderful, a time when we're not saying 'the first queer person to…'?

Finally, as I reflect on the theme for this year's LGBT+ History Month, 'the arc is long', I'm reminded that while there has been substantial positive change towards greater LGBT+ diversity, we are on a long journey towards true equality. It's right to look back and reflect on the civil rights movement, but we must keep sight of the journey ahead, towards a day when there is true equality for all, and LGBT+ History Month is no longer required, as it's part of the fabric of society, politics and education.
 
So, for the children we teach today, while the progress in society, politics and education is a huge achievement and rightly deserves celebration, there is still work to be done.
 
At my school, Harris Garrard Academy in London, we are proudly celebrating LGBT+ History Month through learning about seven artists (one for each year group) who have had to face their own personal struggles or used their art to convey a political message. We're looking at their artistic styles and enriching our curriculum by comparing them to their more famous (and non-queer) peers. For example, Year 4 are studying Fiore de Henriquez compared to Giorgio Morandi, allowing the children apply their knowledge and understanding of how Morandi painted to represent de Henriquez's sculptures. It is hoped that this will broaden the children's understanding of a range of artists, as well as educate them about the LGBT+ community.
 
The arc is long. The rainbow is bright, and the future is ours to make.

For more information and resources, see:

 

 

First published 17 February 2022