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Equality diversity and inclusion

For more about the advice and guidance available from NAHT, along with resources to support members with equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in their schools, see our EDI hub page.

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. 


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.

Our Statement of action and commitments on equality, diversity and inclusion in education for 2023/24

In September 2023, NAHT, alongside other key organisations working in the sector, outlined its new actions and commitments to help further equality, diversity and inclusion in education. Find out more and read our Statement of action and commitments on equality, diversity and inclusion in education for 2023/24 here.

NAHT's equality, diversity and inclusion statements

Following a resolution at NAHT Annual Conference, we are developing a series of policy statements outlining NAHT’s views and commitments around equality, diversity and inclusion. These have been developed in conversations with NAHT’s equality networks, our diversity and inclusion group, and our national executive.

Click below to see our equality, diversity and inclusion statements:

Statements will continue to be reviewed and additional statements may be developed, as led by our membership. 

Celebrating diversity in school leadership - #ImASchooLeader

Building on the success of NAHT's Leaders for Race Equality book, You Are Not Alone, we have launched a new member blog series - #ImASchoolLeader.

The series aims to celebrate the diversity of NAHT’s membership, highlighting the range of experiences, backgrounds and expertise that different members bring to school leadership, and the value this adds for their pupils, colleagues and school community.

We hope, in sharing aspects of members personal and/or professional experiences, insights and sometimes struggles, the series will continue to raise awareness and understanding of the experiences and issues facing under-represented school leaders, and offer support and hope to current and future leaders. As we saw through the ‘You Are Not Alone’ book, common to many stories is the impact of the school environment and how vital the support and influence of role models can be.

Use #ImASchoolLeader if you wish to join the discussion on social media about the blog series and the topics raised.

If you’re interested in sharing your own experiences as part of the series, please contact policy@naht.org.uk.

Please note that all views contained within the respective blogs are the authors' own, and do not necessarily reflect NAHT’s broader policy positions and work.

Click here to read the blogs

Our networks


Find out more about our three existing equalities networks, including how to join and planned meetings, by clicking on the links below. 

Advice and support

NAHT has several advice resources that support and address issues of equality, diversity and inclusion. You can access NAHT's advice for members here

Guidance on provision for transgender pupils: in collaboration with ASCL, the Chartered College of Teaching, CST, ISBL and NGA, in November 2022, NAHT published a briefing for leaders of maintained schools and academies in England to support provision for transgender pupils.

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.


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 Leaders’ for Race Equality, our LGBT+ Network or our Disabled Members' Network, or representing the union at a TUC equality conference.

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

 TUC equality conferences

Every year the TUC hosts a series of equality conferences that supplement the general work of TUC Congress. These conferences focus on supporting the advancement of issues that disproportionally impact minority groups. Find out more and how NAHT members can get involved.

Latest news and advice

You Are Not Alone

By Troy Jenkinson

I recently listened to Dr Shaun Dellenty presenting with the LGBTed network (a national network of LGBT+ teachers and leaders). He talked passionately about his accidental/unplanned journey throughout his educational career, making changes for the better regarding equality.

I harked back to growing up and starting my career during Section 28 (or Clause 28) - a legislative designation for a series of laws across Britain that prohibited the “promotion of homosexuality” by local authorities. It was in effect from 1988 to 2003 in England and Wales. In recent training sessions I delivered to a Multi Academy Trust in the north of the country, only a handful of staff had even heard about this debilitating clause to the Local Authority Act, let alone understood its impact on the lives of the LGBTQ community for over two decades and the legacy it’s left.

I reflected upon where my education around LGBTQ relevant topics came from - the television, media, playground gossip… all negative and damaging, initially. My enlightening moment was Russell T. Davies’ “Queer As Folk” with positive queer characters tackling issues facing the LGBTQ community at the time in 1999.

Not once was I formally taught about LGBTQ safe sex, the culture or the positive impact queer pioneers had in sports, science and (social) history. Quite the contrary, I was ridiculed and teachers turned a blind eye (perhaps because they were scared themselves). The lasting impact resulted in me leading a double life; not only as a secondary student where I suppressed my authentic self, but as a fledgling teacher separating my personal and professional lives. Effectively, having to think about how I kept the real me hidden, prevented me from focusing on teaching and being a good role model to students who were potentially questioning, themselves.

My take-away from recent collaborations is “the power of sharing and connection” - sharing stories, making connections with people and learning from one another’s experiences. I resonate with this, as there is a huge power in sharing vulnerabilities and how we effectively deal with them.

I consider myself to be lucky enough to have survived my educational experience and thrived in school leadership, yet I hadn’t considered the true impact that hiding my authenticity had had on my mental health. In October 2022, the toll of these stresses prompted my decision to regain control of my educational journey.

Don’t get me wrong, I feel privileged to have led three very different schools, affording me the ability to grow and develop as a leader. My final headship taught me a lot about myself. Walking across the playground in those very early days, hearing homophobic slurs being used unchallenged, brought back the traumas of childhood. It galvanised me to become the role model I should have been from the outset and in the process saw me writing my first children’s book: “The Best Mummy Snails in the Whole Wide World”. Like Shaun Dellenty’s accidental journey, I fell into the role of author while creating representation for the diverse families at the school.

My stance on antibullying provided my school and I with the opportunity to work alongside a number of supportive individuals, giving rise to sharing my stories with other schools/organisations, leading assemblies/workshops for children and adults alike. Only now do I realise how vital my journey has been to provide positive visibility to empower others to be their authentic selves.

So how is this relevant now? In the current political climate with the rise of hate speech on social media, it is now more than ever that I feel the need to raise my head above the parapet and speak out. I have heard time and again how recent party-political conference speeches echo the historical prejudices towards the queer community that underpinned 1988’s Section 28! The incitement of hatred towards the trans community in potential policy-making is being, and NEEDS to be, challenged by the very UK law passed to make all individuals feel safe and valued.

The Equality Act was introduced by, some might say, a more enlightened government in 2010. The language and rhetoric of prominent voices today is divisive. We should be mindful and stand together. If we allow one minority group to be targeted, we allow inequitable views to take hold and risk the freedoms we have so valiantly fought for, being diminished.

Evidence from Just Like Us (2021), an LGBTQ charity working with children and young people, finds that LGBTQ pupils are far more likely to experience suicidal thoughts than heteronormative counterparts (68% compared to 29%). This increases to 77% in the trans community. This early trauma is long lasting. Indeed, Section 28 continues to influence the lives of many 40–60-year-olds even today with mental health difficulties. It hadn’t occurred to me how I had been subjected to it until I started listening to the powerful stories of others in networks I’ve attended.

Ultimately, I believe providing a voice for all people to feel safe to be who they are, is a safeguarding issue, challenging politicised prejudice and protecting all marginalised groups. It is there in print in “Keeping Children Safe in Education” (2023) and the Equality Act (2010). These documents support leaders when they are challenged about providing support for marginalised groups.

It has taken me a long time to come to terms with my journey. Only through listening to the journeys of others have I made connections - joined the dots. As Catherine Lee (2020) puts it, LGBTQ leaders have five key attributes in abundance that equip them to be exceptional leaders:

  • those of reading others
  • commitment to inclusion
  • approachability
  • courageous risk takers
  • good managers of uncertainty.

If this blog inspires someone to make sense of their own journey, knowing they are not alone and, maybe take a leap into leadership, I will be thrilled.

Troy is a head teacher and an author.

This blog is the first in a series of articles published as part of NAHT's Celebrating Diversity in Leadership series. Please note that all views contained within series are the authors' own, and do not necessarily reflect NAHT’s broader policy positions and work. Read other blogs in the series.

Use #ImASchoolLeader if you wish to join the discussion on social media about the blog series and the topics raised.

If you’re interested in sharing your own experiences as part of the series, please contact policy@naht.org.uk.

First published 13 November 2023