Food for action – How does your school embed Equality, Diversity and Inclusion?

Ben Mearhart

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Co-ordinator, The King's School, Canterbury

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In support of deep noticing, deep listening, and systemic equity.


The following questions and considerations are pivotal for my work and my strong hope is that sharing them here provides not just food for thought for you and your school, but food for action.


EDI is not an extra, an act of charity or something we would “like to think” is in a good place. On the contrary, embedding EDI is something that can enrich what we already do.

Equity objectives are … To be embedded when we…
Parallel narratives are embedded for each subject … review the curriculum
Our anti-discrimination framework is trusted … manage misconduct
Protected characteristics do not equal negative outcomes … analyse data

For each of these objectives:

    • Is your school’s current position good enough?
    • Can you trust the evidence that supports this position?
    • What is the justification for the current position?
    • Are you comfortable communicating this justification internally and externally?


Parallel narratives are embedded for each subject

When you review the curriculum (including content and quality of teaching and learning), wherever a contribution to humanity is championed or an event contextualised …

  • Where do the pupils learn about how people who share protected characteristics contributed to the space?
  • Before? At the time? How did they add to the legacy?

In reality, this is not possible for every aspect of the curriculum but are the current levels of representation good enough – are they fair, reasonable and proportionate?

Rather than looking to ‘normalise’ the experiences of those who share protected characteristics, how can you…

  • Usualise (inclusion through reference, not direct instruction – business as usual)
  • Actualise (make the learning concrete so that the pupils can connect it to a real-life context – to their own learning and experience)

…their experiences?

Our anti-discrimination framework is trusted

When you manage misconduct, especially when addressing discrimination, to what extent do you centre:

  • The experience of the harmed?
  • The understanding of the harmer?
  • Reparation between the people involved?

How do you know?

  • Do proportionately low numbers of reports of discrimination prove that your responses are trusted and fit-for-purpose?
  • What do the pupils and staff most vulnerable to being discriminated against, especially intersectionally, feed back about their experiences?
  • Do they trust your anti-discrimination framework?

Do you have progressive levels of response – moving from addressing discrimination where the intention to harm is not clear through to something targeted?  Are these response levels clear to all of your stakeholders and enforced consistently?


Protected characteristics do not equal negative outcomes



When analysing the following data, do patterns indicate that pupils and staff who share protected characteristics are disproportionately disadvantaged? Underperforming? Overperforming?

Pupils Staff
Attendance Performance management
Behaviour Professional development
Achievement (attainment and progress) Career progression
Engagement (enrichment events and co-curricular activities)


The revelations within this data, these patterns, may run contrary to our instincts. They may not be what we wish to hear, but they can certainly inspire and steel our priorities.

For I understand that a commitment to embedding EDI is not an extra. Not an act of charity. Not something we would “like to think” is in a good place. Embedding EDI is data-informed action that enriches what we already do.


4 May 2023