Less than half of school staff feel their workplace is diverse

Largest study amongst school staff on equality, diversity and inclusion

Today we’re helping to launch new research, produced by our client Edurio, a leading provider of stakeholder feedback solutions to schools and multi-academy trusts, which shows that less than half of school staff (43 per cent) feel their workplace is diverse. The report, titled Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Among School Staff, is the largest review of EDI amongst school and academy trust staff in England involving more than 16,500 staff from 381 schools. It found that less than three-quarters of Minority Ethnic staff (69 per cent) feel that their workplace is committed to promoting EDI compared to 83 per cent of White British/Irish staff.

The study discovered that leadership teams are perceived to be less diverse than the wider staff body.  Less than a third (28 per cent) believe its leadership team to be diverse. Almost nine out of ten (88 per cent) of those in a leadership position are confident that all staff are treated equally. However, this compares to just two-thirds (70 per cent) of those that do not hold a leadership position.

Furthermore, only a third of staff (36 per cent) consider the diversity of their school’s staff body to be representative of their student population. Almost half (47 per cent) of respondents in urban areas, most notably London and the West Midlands, believe their school to be diverse. This compares to a quarter (24 per cent) of those in rural areas.

The report by Edurio highlighted key differences between those who identify as male compared to those who identify as female. A higher proportion (65 per cent) of men feel confident that decisions around promotion are made without bias at their school. This fell to just over half (57 per cent) of women. Furthermore, two-thirds (64 per cent) of men are confident that their career is advancing in alignment with their personal needs and responsibilities compared to only 58 per cent of women.

Ernest Jenavs, CEO of Edurio said: “The last year has highlighted the magnitude of global challenges around EDI. The diverse backgrounds and identities of employees in education should have no adverse effect on their experience but we still have some way to go to get there. Many school and trust leaders have stepped up to better understand the challenges. We have looked deeper into EDI among school staff across England than has ever been done before. Edurio would like to thank every individual who has shared their experiences. This report is only the first of a number of publications shedding light on how the education sector can become more inclusive for all school staff.”

Other notable findings from the research include:

  • 68 per cent of women and 70 per cent of men from a Minority Ethnic background are confident that all staff are treated equally in school. This compares to 75 per cent of White women and 81 per cent of White men.
  • Respondents viewed opportunities for advancement differently. Four in 10 staff (43 per cent) are not confident that decisions on promotions are made without bias. Between non-disabled and disabled staff there was a significant difference: just 45 per cent of disabled staff felt confident that decisions around promotion are made without bias compared to
    60 per cent of non-disabled staff.
  • Religion also played a significant role in how valued staff feel at their school. It found that 65 per cent of respondents who selected a religion other than Christianity, said they feel very or quite valued in their workplace. This is lower than those who selected Christianity (73 per cent) and those who identify as agnostic or atheist (71 per cent).

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

Leora Cruddas, CEO of the Confederation of School Trusts, said: “Edurio’s latest research is a fascinating snapshot of EDI in schools today. Although we have all made great strides towards building an inclusive workspace, it is clear we have more work to do. I urge all school leaders and their staff to continue to listen and evolve.”

To download the full report visit here.