“I have been a senior leader for many years, and I have taken part in many reviews of different types, but this DEI audit truly stands out. It provided a deep analysis of our application of DEI concepts and the legal and statutory requirements. The review report’s recommended strategies for further involving families and communities have been a valuable addition to our DEI work and the identified metrics have been essential in measuring our progress. I highly recommend this review process to any school leader looking to create a more inclusive and equitable learning environment for their students.”Georgina Reynolds, Vice Principal, James Wolfe Primary
Why consider a Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Audit?
As an educational consultancy, we understand the importance of creating a welcoming and inclusive environment for all students and staff in schools. That’s why we believe that a Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Audit should be an integral part of any school improvement process. Here are three key benefits that an DEI audit can bring to your school or group of schools:
- Improved academic outcomes: Research has shown that students from marginalized groups tend to perform better academically in inclusive environments. An DEI audit can help identify and remove any barriers that may be hindering these students’ success and help create a more equitable learning environment for all students.
- Enhanced staff and student well-being: An inclusive and equitable school culture promotes positive relationships, a sense of belonging and better mental health for staff and students. A DEI audit can help identify areas of improvement and make recommendations to help create a more positive and inclusive culture in the school.
- Increased community engagement: A school that is inclusive and welcoming to all members of the community is likely to have increased engagement from families and other stakeholders. A DEI audit can help identify any barriers to community engagement and provide recommendations to improve this.
- Compliance with statutory responsibilities: With the increasing focus on DEI in schools, it is important to ensure that your school is taking the necessary steps to comply with the relevant laws and regulations. This will include the Equalities Act 2010 and the SEND Code of Conduct.
Our expertise in DEI and school improvement can help ensure that your review is a thorough, effective, and rewarding process. We will work closely with you to understand your unique context, identify areas for improvement and provide practical, evidence-based recommendations that will help you create a more inclusive and equitable school culture. By working with us, you can be confident that you are making meaningful, sustainable changes that will benefit all members of your school community.
What expectations do Ofsted & ISI have for DEI ?
Ofsted intend the EIF framework to be “a force for improvement for all learners.” There is a clear expectation that all learners will receive a high-quality, ambitious education.
As part of the Ofsted or ISI inspection process, Inspectors will assess the extent to which a school is compliant with the relevant legal duties as set out in the Equality Act 2010, the Public Sector Equality Duty and the Human Rights Act 1998.
In the School Inspection Handbook, Ofsted also detail key areas that leadership teams will need to have considered:
P285: For pupils with SEND, this will include ensuring that appropriate reasonable adjustments are made in accordance with the Equality Act 2010 and the SEND code of practice.
P293: The extent to which the school promotes equality of opportunity so that all pupils can thrive together, understanding that difference is a positive, not a negative, and that individual characteristics make people unique. This includes, but is not limited to, pupils’ understanding of the protected characteristics and how equality and diversity are promoted
P332: It is unlawful for schools to separate pupils on the basis of any protected characteristic such as sex, race, or religion or belief while at school, unless permitted by an exception under the Equality Act 2010
What statutory responsibilities do schools have regarding DEI?
Our DEI audits ensure full compliance with current statutory regulations. Schools must follow a range of statutory regulations around diversity, equity & inclusion, including:
- The Equality Act 2010: This act prohibits discrimination on the grounds of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, and sexual orientation. It applies to all aspects of education, including admission, access to education, and treatment of pupils and staff.
- The Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Code of Practice: This code sets out the legal framework for the provision of special educational needs and disability (SEND) support in schools, including the requirement to make reasonable adjustments to ensure that pupils with SEND are not at a substantial disadvantage.
- The Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED): This duty requires schools to have due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination, advance equality of opportunity, and foster good relations between different groups when carrying out their functions.
In addition, the review will refer to:
|The Prevent Duty||The Mental Health of Children and Young People Statutory Guidance||The Race Equality Duty|
It is also important to note that schools also have a general duty of care to provide a safe and inclusive environment for all pupils and staff.
What activities will the DEI audit include?
We understand that schools have different priorities when it comes to Diversity Equity and Inclusion and that a one-size-fits-all approach may not be the best solution. That’s why we offer a flexible service, where schools and Trusts can choose from a range of activities, depending on their focus. Below is a selection of activities that we offer to help schools achieve their DEI goals:
- Curriculum review: This activity involves a review of the school’s curriculum offer to ensure it is inclusive and reflective of the diverse backgrounds of the students. This can include an analysis of the representation of different groups in the curriculum, an examination of the cultural relevance of the materials used, and an assessment of the accessibility of the curriculum for students with disabilities.
- Staff training: Training for staff is an important aspect of creating an inclusive school culture. Our consultancy team can provide training on topics such as unconscious bias, cultural competency, and inclusive teaching strategies.
- Student focus groups: Student focus groups can provide valuable insights into the experiences of students from different backgrounds. Our consultancy team can conduct focus groups with students to gather their perspectives on the school’s culture, curriculum, and resources.
- Observation: Our team of experts can observe classrooms and other school settings to identify areas of improvement in terms of inclusivity and equity. This can include analysing the language used by teachers, the interaction between staff and students, and the physical accessibility of the classrooms and other school settings.
- Behaviour Policy & Management: A DEI audit can help schools identify any disparities in the way that different student groups are treated with regards to behaviour management. For example, if a school finds that students from certain backgrounds are disproportionately represented in exclusionary discipline, such as suspension or expulsion, a DEI audit can help to identify the root cause of this disparity and develop strategies to address it.
- Parent and community engagement: Inclusive schools have a strong engagement with their community. Our team can work with schools to develop strategies to increase parent and community engagement to create a welcoming and inclusive environment for all students and families
- Governance Audit: In line with EIF expectations, the review can check that those with responsibility for governance ensure that the provider fulfils its statutory duties. For example, this could include looking at how Governors ensure compliance with the Equality Act 2010, the ‘Prevent’ strategy and safeguarding, and promoting the welfare of learners.
- Policy and procedure review: Reviewing school policies and procedures is an important step in creating an inclusive school culture. Our team can review existing policies and procedures to identify any areas of improvement and provide recommendations for changes that will help create a more inclusive school culture.
Based on the review conducted, a consultant will provide an action plan that will help schools move forward in their DEI journey. The action plan will include recommendations, timelines and goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time bound.
In addition to the curriculum, other sectors of school life that would benefit from a DEI audit include staff recruitment, student support, and community engagement. The activities listed above are not exhaustive. We will work with you to tailor the approach, to help you create a more inclusive and equitable culture in these areas.
When should Schools commission a DEI audit?
DEI audits are most likely to have a long term, positive impact if they are carried out as part of the organisation’s ongoing improvement cycle. An annual, or bi-annual review will help you ensure that:
- You have an accurate understanding of workforce and pupil demographics – which can change over time.
- Policies and procedures are aligned with legal requirements related to DEI.
- New staff to the organisation are effectively trained on their role in creating and sustaining an inclusive workplace culture.
- You are responding effectively to any feedback from stakeholders on their engagement, morale, and development.
- The curriculum is effectively incorporating diverse perspectives and experiences that both reflect the pupils’ backgrounds and provide them with opportunities to show empathy for others.
The Diversity Equity and Inclusion Audit Report
The DEI reviewer will give verbal feedback to the Headteacher, DEI Champion and other relevant members of the SLT during the visit.
After the visit we will follow up with a full written report which can be presented to the Governing Body / Trustees.
The following are additional statutory documents which schools and Trusts should have considered as part of their approach to DEI. These can be referenced as part of the review or staff training:
The Prevent Duty: This duty requires schools to have policies and procedures in place to prevent radicalization and extremism, and to promote British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs.
The Mental Health of Children and Young People Statutory Guidance: This guidance sets out the expectations on schools to promote the mental health and well-being of children and young people, including the need to create a culture of inclusion and respect for diversity.
The Race Equality Duty: This duty requires schools to have due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination, harassment, and victimisation on the grounds of race, and to promote race equality and good relations between different ethnic groups.