Less than half of school staff think workplace is diverse, survey suggests

Only a third of staff think their school’s staff accurately reflects the diversity of their students

A survey of more than 16,500 school and academy trust staff suggests less than half think their workplace is diverse – with leadership teams in particular perceived to be the most homogenous.

The findings come from what organisers Edurio say is the largest single equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) survey of its kind in the education sector, including staff employed in nearly 400 schools.

The survey found that 43% of school staff feel their workplace is diverse. Less than a third (28%) considers its leadership team to be diverse, and while 88% of those in a leadership position are confident all staff are treated equally, just two-thirds (70%) of rank-and-file teachers feel the same.

Only a third (36%) think their school’s staff accurately reflects the diversity of their students. In urban areas like London and the West Midlands, almost half (47%) believe their school to be diverse – but this figure drops to a quarter (24%) of those in rural areas.

Less than three-quarters of minority ethnic staff (69%) feel that their workplace is committed to promoting EDI compared to 83% of white British/Irish staff. Around seven in 10 staff from a minority ethnic background are confident that all staff are treated equally in school, compared to around eight in 10 white members of staff.

Similar differences are apparent between men and women. More men (65%) than women (57%) are confident that decisions around promotion are made without bias at their school. Two-thirds (64%) of male staff feel that their career is advancing in alignment with their personal needs and responsibilities compared to 58% of women.

This research reflects what we pick up through the DisabilityEd UK network. The data around feeling valued, and some colleagues’ jokes or comments to them reflects an ableist environment that many experience – Ruth Golding, founder of DisabilityEd

The survey found that 43% are not confident decisions on promotions are without bias, with disabled staff significantly more likely to think it is biased (45%) than non-disabled staff (60%).

“I was very impressed with the content of the questions used in the EDI review,” said Evelyn Forde MBE, headteacher of Copthall School.

“I felt they were specific and the focus on being able to capture how ED&I is woven throughout a school (or not) was expertly done. This is an important piece of research and I would encourage all school leaders to engage with its findings.”

Ruth Golding, founder of DisabilityEd, said: “This research reflects what we pick up through the DisabilityEd UK network. The data around feeling valued, and some colleagues’ jokes or comments to them reflects an ableist environment that many experience.

“I founded DisabilityEd to raise awareness of how to make education accessible by supporting disabled educators to get the reasonable adjustments that they need. This research highlights how far there is still to go.”

The full report can be read online.


Read more: How parents pay private school fees ‘no longer fit for purpose’, says CEO

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