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NAHT’s Diversity and Inclusion Group: supporting diversity within schools, the profession and NAHT itself

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As school leaders, NAHT members are in an ideal place to create an inclusive learning and working environment for all their pupils and staff, one which welcomes diversity and champions equality. That is why NAHT is proud to support and promote School Diversity Week and looks forward to developing our relationship with our new charity partner, Diversity Role Models, over the coming year.

The issues that underpin equality and diversity reach far wider than the school gates, and that’s why NAHT’s Diversity and Inclusion Group, have a broad remit, looking not just at the support and guidance that members might need to help make their schools inclusive environments, but also exploring issues with diversity and inclusion within the profession, as well as the association itself.

Over 2019/2020, NAHT, led by our Diversity and Inclusion Group, has developed a series of resources, to support and encourage members to develop the right provisions and conditions for staff with protected characteristics, in order to support career development for all.  The guidance documents work as stand-alone pieces but also fit together to create a ‘toolkit’ of support that can help members to be compliant with the law, follow best practice advice, and offer support on changing cultures and social norms in their settings.

As part of its ongoing efforts to improve the diversity at school leadership level, NAHT’s Diversity and Inclusion Group have recommended that NAHT add support to the Department for Education’s (DfE’s) commitments to improving diversity in the teaching workforce. We have pledged our own commitments as a co-signatory. The group has regularly engaged with the work underway by the DfE and other stakeholders on improving flexible working opportunities in schools, focusing on individuals with protected characteristics, and we are engaged in discussions around the gender pay gap, which is still prevalent across so many sectors. 

NAHT is committed to promoting equality for all members, in order to achieve equal and fair treatment at work. A key area of focus this year for the Diversity and Inclusion Group has been reviewing ways to ensure better representation and engagement across NAHT’s democratic structures for members with protected characteristics. The committee has discussed practices that might inadvertently lead to a lack of diversity at events, such as National Conference, and looked at ways that the Association can better support all members. The committee has steered the Association to build on the work of the TUC and emphasised the importance of utilising the resources that the TUC provide. As part of this work, the group has reviewed NAHT’s submission to the TUC’s bi-annual equality audit, recommending steps to improve NAHT’s data collection around collective bargaining ahead of the next audit. The committee has also recommended that NAHT undertake work to ensure effective equality monitoring of members. As a result, NAHT has been working closely with the TUC and member unions to review its practices and processes. The group will continue to monitor progress in this area during 2020 and beyond.

Improving equality and tackling discrimination are critical tenets of the trade union movement. There is, of course, always more we could, and should be doing to further our work in this critical area, and we recognise that these are very much the beginning steps to further work and focus over the coming years.

Natalie Arnett, NAHT – policy officer

This Friday, Diversity Role Models will be hosting two webinars and you are invited to join!

The webinars are 45 minutes long and will be delivered by Danny Allum. Danny has worked within education for the last eight years, supporting young people outside of mainstream school settings and training staff to do the same. Since moving from Suffolk to London with his husband in 2017, Danny has been an advocate for women’s and LGBT+ rights and volunteering for charities.

Register for the webinars here:

Friday 26 June at 10-10.45.am - What is Intersectionality?

Friday 26 June at 3-3.45pm - Understanding RSE Guidance for Secondary School

First published 24 June 2020