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Equality, diversity and inclusion

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in Hertfordshire Schools

Many Hertfordshire schools and trusts, supported by HFL Education and Herts County Council, are actively looking at ways to diversify their staff and improve retention and progression for all staff. Diversity and inclusion in schools is vitally important for a number of reasons:

  • “You can’t be what you can’t see”. It’s important for young people to see themselves in others around them and especially in leadership roles. Having authentic role models can have a powerful impact on a child’s aspirations.

  • The world is changing; we are more interconnected and integrated than ever before. Not only is it intrinsically right that we reflect that in our own schools, by doing so we can also better prepare our young people for the world beyond education.

  • As educators, it’s important that we teach our young people to celebrate difference, to live with compassion for others and to be curious about people who may not be the same as them.

  • We know that when people can be themselves at work, they are more likely to perform better, and be happier, more productive and more innovative. Diversity and inclusion directly links to wellbeing of both our young people and our educators.

Here are some of the ways we have been working to make a difference:

Supporting equality, diversity and inclusion in schools

HFL are committed to promoting anti-racism in schools. Our Race Equality Advisers and Wellbeing Team work closely with schools to support their equality, diversity and inclusion initiatives.

We deliver staff training and consultation sessions, staff, pupil and parent voice sessions, and masterclasses on anti-racism and race equality for schools and governors. We also provide various digital resources, including a Race Equity Toolkit, anti-racism self-evaluation and Hate Crime teaching resources for primary and secondary schools.

Great Representation

We are delighted to share the case studies produced by the first cohort of schools on the Great Representation programme in 2021-22.

This programme, addressing race inequity in schools, is generously funded by Hertfordshire County Council from ‘Coming Back Stronger’ monies. Participating schools explore issues such as:

*How to talk to staff and pupils about race.

*How to diversify and decolonise the curriculum.

*How to increase race diversity in staff, governing and trust bodies.

Each school writes a case study, telling the story of the work they have undertaken towards becoming an anti-racist school. The case studies from our first cohort can be accessed below along with a digital copy of the book: Great Representation programme in 2021-22 - Hertfordshire Grid for Learning (thegrid.org.uk)

We are delighted to have delivered a second year of the Great Representation programme in 2022-23, with 28 more Hertfordshire primary and secondary schools, and our third year is now under way.

The National Race Equity Conference: Achieving Great Representation

In 2023 HFL Education was very proud to host our first, fully-funded National Race Equity conference to support the highly popular work we have been doing with many schools in Hertfordshire .

With three nationally renowned keynote speakers, this was a fantastic event.

David Olusoga OBE, historian, professor, journalist, film maker and broadcaster. Author of ‘Black and British’.

Reni Eddo Lodge, journalist podcaster and award-winning author of ‘Why I Am No Longer Talking To White People About Race’

Jeffrey Boakye, educator, writer and broadcaster. Author of 'Black, Listed’, ‘I heard what you said’, ‘Hold Tight’ and ‘Musical Truth’.

This event was fully funded by HFL Education to support our commitment to improving Race Equity.

Herts Voices

The HFL Education Herts Voices programme was designed to enable pupils in Hertfordshire schools to hear from inspirational speakers from Black, Asian and minoritised ethnic backgrounds who have Hertfordshire connections, and to challenge stereotypes about race and ethnicity. 

The programme is funded by HFL Education and Hertfordshire County Council (HCC).  

Stonewall CYPS Gold Award

Since 2013, HCC and HFL have maintained their joint status as a Stonewall Children’s and Young People’s Champion. It has evolved over the years, but we now, every other year, submit a joint application for accreditation of our LGBT+ work. The criteria are very wide ranging, including a strong focus on training of HCC/HFL staff, school staff, senior leaders, governors/trustees, council members and foster carers.

Other indicators cover support for LGBT youth, celebration of LGBT events and achievements and evidencing case studies from all categories of schools. HFL's Karin Hutchinson pulls together the joint application for the HCC/HFL partnership and is delighted to announce that – as ever – Hertfordshire has maintained their gold standard award.

There is no standing still with this award and our new work this year has included an HFL Wellbeing Team teaching resource on Hate Crime and Prejudice Related Incidents and significant support for schools on delivering LGBT+ inclusive RSHE.

For more information visit, www.hfleducation.org

HR & Recruitment

The Department for Education’s school data for 2022/23 shows that nationally 35.7% of school pupils are from a minority ethnic background. In contrast, 15.6% of UK teachers identify as belonging to an ethnic minority group.

We also know that most teachers of racially minoritised ethnic heritage teach in urban areas and that these teachers leave the profession at a higher rate than White teachers.

Here at Teach in Herts we are trying to raise the profile of school staff and school leaders from minority backgrounds through our Success stories area. We are also engaged in ongoing EDI training, guidance and support for schools across the county and beyond.

Some of our talented colleagues also contributed to You are Not Alone: Leaders for Race Equality by NAHT Communications - Issuu which is a great resource to read and to share.

Networking opportunities

Whilst many of our schools are actively seeking to increase the diversity of their staff, we recognise that there is still a lot to be done, and it can be a lonely place to be if you are one of a small minority. Many Hertfordshire schools have staff forums which offer extra support to staff from minority backgrounds. There are also a number of wider-reaching networking groups that might be helpful to you, and we’re pleased to provide contact details here:

HFL Education Staff Support Network

HCC BAME Forum

BAME Ed Network SE

And...

You can find out more about how we are supporting equity and equality across Hertfordshire here: Equality, diversity and inclusion

You might also be interested to read some of our blogs and podcasts

Hertfordshire is keen to support all staff, whatever their background, and if there is anything you need or that you feel is missing, please do get in touch and we will do our best to help you: 

teachinherts@hfleducation.org