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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

Anti-equality protests must be stopped by the end of term

 

On Tuesday 11 June, NAHT held a parliamentary briefing in Westminster on Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) and Health Education. With just a few weeks remaining of the summer term, the event brought together some of the main figures involved in efforts to stop the anti-equality protests in Birmingham that have been making national headlines.

Speakers included Emma Hardy MP, Sara Khan, lead commissioner of the Commission for Countering Extremism and David Isaac, chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission. Nazir Afzal, former Crown Chief Prosecutor for the North West also submitted a short video where he called on the government to mandate the correct approach and to take the heat off of schools. You can watch this video in full below.  

Primary school leaders in Birmingham and some other areas of the country have been the targets of campaigning, protests and abuse relating to their commitment to equality and diversity, and the teaching of LGBT+ inclusive relationships. School leaders Sarah Hewitt-Clarkson, head teacher of Anderton Park Primary School and Andrew Moffat, deputy head teacher of Parkfield Primary School spoke about their experiences of dealing with the protests in their schools in Birmingham.

NAHT general secretary Paul Whiteman said: “Without meaning to, the government has put school leaders in an extremely difficult position. They and their staff have had to endure threats against their careers and their personal safety. The protests need to end, and the best way to achieve that is for the government to be absolutely clear about what they expect schools to do.”

NAHT is calling for clarity from the government on three key areas:

  • Relationships Education in primary schools must be inclusive of all protected characteristics and treat the different types of relationships in our society equally, reflecting their equal status under the law and so promoting tolerance and respect for diversity.
  • Relationships Education in all schools will include LGBT content as set out in the statutory guidance that has already been published.  In addition to that guidance, the DfE has said: “Primary schools are enabled and encouraged to cover LGBT content if they consider it age-appropriate to do so” which is not helpful to school leaders. The correct wording should be: “Primary schools are enabled and encouraged to cover LGBT content when they consider it age-appropriate to do so”. 
  • School leaders and their teams should receive the full support of the government and the full protection of the relevant authorities when delivering Relationships Education.

Over the past few months, NAHT has been supporting the schools under protest, as well as working with the DfE and others to try to bring a swift resolution. Mr Whiteman said: “Whilst schools are required to involve parents and the community in what they’re planning to teach, that engagement does not provide parents or others with a veto on curriculum content. Equality is not an ‘optional extra.’"

We will continue to press the government for clarity in these areas. Please find a pledge card below to send to your local MP to sign. 

 

First published 13 June 2019
First published 31 March 2021