October 2017

The know zone

  • Diversity in focus
    Anna Cole highlights the latest initiatives on equality and diversity at ASCL and in the wider sector. More
  • Where's the money?
    New 16-19 money is apparently on its way but will schools see any of it? Kevin Gilmartin examines government post-16 funding pledges. More
  • To pay or not to pay?
    Sara Ford explains the real implications of the STRB's recommendations on teacher pay. More
  • Let's talk about SATs
    Last year's Key Stage 2 SATs results generated more questions than they answered. One year on, has the dust settled? Julie McCulloch takes a look. More
  • We need to talk...
    How do you teach personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE) at your school? What approaches do you take? What topics do you focus on? Is your school teaching PSHE in an innovative way? Here ASCL members have their say... More
  • Leaders' surgery
    Hotline advice expressed here, and in calls to us, is made in good faith to our members. Schools and colleges should always take formal HR or legal advice from their indemnified provider before acting. More
  • Take back control
    Former school leader Ross Morrison McGill said that during his time as a leader, he experienced eight Ofsted inspections under various frameworks and goalposts. Yet, he says, one factor has always remained consistent in each of them: anxiety. More
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Anna Cole highlights the latest initiatives on equality and diversity at ASCL and in the wider sector.

Diversity in focus

The equalities agenda has never mattered so much in education. We believe that this is important for many reasons but not least so that leaders more accurately represent and reflect pupils. We feel strongly that removing barriers that prevent individuals with protected characteristics from reaching senior leadership roles in schools and colleges will also help to ensure the best outcomes for all pupils.

Women and people from an ethnic minority background are still under-represented in leadership positions, according to the school workforce census data. And although there is no actual data available, only anecdotal evidence, we believe that there is also significant under-representation of professionals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer (LGBTQ) and of disabled people. The ASCL equalities plan identifies six key priorities with actions for this academic year:

  1. We will improve ASCL’s own equalities data collection as both an employer and in the collection of data from members. We are taking steps to make ASCL Council and the ASCL governance structure more diverse and we are looking at the data-protection implications of collecting more comprehensive equalities data from our members.
  2. We will improve communication and signposting of equalities networks and services for members. Plans are in progress to create a shared portal for equalities information and services and we are working with the leadership unions, governors’ organisations and other key education stakeholders to make this a reality.
  3. We will work with organisations promoting equalities in the education workforce (see below).
  4. We will focus on equalities in leadership appointments with ASCL’s Leadership Appointment Service, the DfE, ministers and senior civil servants and the National Governance Association (NGA).
  5. We will build on the expertise of ASCL staff around equalities. ASCL’s policy, public relations (PR) and member support teams have received equality and diversity training.
  6. We will better promote equalities and diversity in our publications and through our other communication channels.

LGBTEd, a new grassroots body, is being launched in the autumn and a Diversity Educators event to bring educators across the equalities strands together to celebrate and showcase diversity, equality and inclusion in education is planned for January 2018. See www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/diverse-educatorstickets-36470457119 Both follow in the footsteps of the hugely successful WomenEd meets across the country and the new Black, Asian & Minority Ethnic Educators (BAMEed) conference. ASCL is represented in both.

In April, I chaired a roundtable meeting with key stakeholders in education leadership and grassroots groups, alongside individual school and college leaders. We came together to consider how we could work to create and promote strategies to increase the diversity of school and college leaders.

Removing barriers

This group has lots of plans for future joint work within a school-led system and for working with government to change the diversity and equality landscape in school and college leadership.

This summer, we wrote to Justine Greening, who is both Secretary of State for Education and Minister for Women and Equalities, inviting her to meet with us and outlining three key areas where we see a key role for government to work alongside us. They are:

  1. The collection of more comprehensive equalities data: The current equalities data does not provide enough information about the leadership pipeline or indeed about regional variation. We want to explore with government what is possible.
  2. A strategic approach: We welcome the government’s Leadership, Equality and Diversity Fund to support school-led initiatives but believe that, in order to make the most impact, career development programmes need to be strategically coordinated and their impact shared. We have offered to work with government to develop this approach.
  3. An evidence-based approach: The barriers facing individuals with protected characteristics are complex and multi-dimensional. There needs to be an evidence-based approach and we believe that more research is needed. We want to understand any work that government has initiated and be part of future plans.

Look out for further updates on ASCL’s work on equality and diversity in future issues of Leader.

Anna Cole
ASCL Parliamentary Specialist.