Are you doing something innovative at your school or college to help promote equalities, diversity and inclusion among your staff? Perhaps you run a mentoring scheme or provide staff with other opportunities to step up to leadership? Here, ASCL members share their views.
Didcot Girls’ School has been instrumental in supporting the development of the school-based work of the MTPT (Maternity Teacher/Paternity Teacher) Project. We have acted as a pilot school for the MTPT Project’s ‘Family Friendly Schools’ Award in its first round of trials and created blueprints for policies that have benefited other schools within the MTPT Project network. We are proud of the sustainable careers in education that we are able to offer our staff, which embrace their family circumstances, and we will continue to work innovatively with the MTPT Project. More information about our practice can be found in our Family Friendly Schools booklet available on the ‘Staff Vacancies’ page of the school website www.didcotgirls.oxon.sch.uk
Assistant Headteacher, Didcot Girls’ School, Didcot, Oxfordshire
We have seen a significant change in the last three years following a training and development programme in school, led by Barnardo’s Positive Identities Service. This allowed training to be delivered to approximately 50 teaching and support staff and enabled a greater understanding of the mental health and wellbeing of our LGBTQ+ community in school. Following on from this, staff have volunteered to become LGBTQ+ support mentors and wear a rainbow name badge to be easily identified. Further training has been implemented this year for our initial teacher training (ITT) students and whole-school CPD will be offered in March for those who have not yet accessed the training. Alongside the CPD offer, an LGBTQ+ support and allies group has been established, attended by both staff and students, providing a safe space each week to discuss and implement further opportunities for inclusion and support in school.
Teacher of Geography, Wales High School, Sheffield, South Yorkshire
The TRUE Learning Partnership is committed to supporting and promoting equality, diversity and inclusion among our staff, our students and our community. Our Equality and Diversity Strategy Plan for 2019–20 includes some key actions, such as:
- open publication of our demographic data, for example, putting out there our gender pay gap report (even though we are not mandated to do so) and putting our staffing statistics of gender and ethnicity on the vacancies part of our website
- proactive recruitment of a more diverse governing body and parental council
- whole-staff training on unconscious bias to support the further development of our leadership
- establishing a ‘Menopause Policy’ to support leaders to support staff and raising awareness
- audit of student displays and teaching and learning resources; is our environment and are our examples unconsciously biased?
- promotion of maternity leave and shared parental leave policies
- strict blind shortlisting for all roles
- all roles advertised as possible job share or flexible working
- establishing a staff handbook specifically for flexible working
In addition, this year we are specifically focusing on gender and race having previously focused on sexual orientation through our DfE pathfinder status.
Headteacher, Poynton High School, Poynton, Cheshire;
Trust Leader, The TRUE Learning Partnership;
ASCL Vice-President 2019–20
Body and Mind
In 2018, Weston College identified that its staff needed a multi-team approach to staff welfare, wellbeing and mental health support that aligned with the existing support in place for learners. The aim of Weston College’s Staff Mentoring Scheme is to transform the college’s mental health, wellbeing and welfare services through interdepartmental linkage, senior leadership monitoring and staff investment, which is assisted via a framework of ‘Body and Mind’ (BAM) initiatives designed to offer seamless holistic support – operating within a whole-college/- community model. The BAM agenda consists of staff sessions across all sites, such as mindfulness, meditation, dance sessions and yoga. We even have a bring-your-dog-to-work session so staff can come and say hello and have a time out. We welcome a wide array of new lecturers and support staff and the staff mentoring programme aims to help them settle into their job roles. The induction process has been redesigned to make it more interactive and meaningful by taking an individual approach so staff have the best opportunity to be happy and successful in their role.
Dr Paul Phillips, CBE
Principal and Chief Executive,
Weston College, Westonsuper-Mare, Somerset