Principle 6: Equality, diversity and inclusion

In ensuring the effective achievement of the Academy Trust’s charitable Objects, the Board has a clear, agreed and effective approach to advancing equality, diversity and inclusion throughout the Academy Trust.


Advancing equality, diversity and inclusion matters helps a Board to make better decisions. This requires commitment and should help an Academy Trust to understand the communities and Pupils its academies serve and to deliver its charitable Objects. Recognising and countering any imbalances in power, perspectives and opportunities in the Academy Trust, and in the attitudes and behaviours of Directors, staff and Pupils, helps to make sure the Academy Trust achieves its charitable Objects.

Maintaining a focus on equality, diversity and inclusion enables the Board to fulfil its  responsibility to ensure that the Academy Trust’s Schools meet the three aims of the Public Sector Equality Duty.

All Directors have the same accountability for the Academy Trust, so they must have equal opportunity to contribute to decision making. Board diversity is important because it supports more diverse, inclusive and culturally sensitive decision making.

Equality and diversity are only effective and sustainable when the Board works to be inclusive, guaranteeing accessibility to ensure that all Directors are welcomed, valued and able to contribute to the charitable Objects of the Academy Trust and to adhere to the agreed values of the Academy Trust.

Boards that commit to equality, diversity and inclusion are more likely to set a positive example and tone for the Academy Trust by following an appropriate strategy for delivering its charitable Objects and setting inclusive values and supportive culture. The Board should consider the impact of its diversity in acting as role models and ambassadors for the Pupils and communities it seeks to serve.

Key outcomes

6.1 The principles of equality, diversity and inclusion are valued and embedded across the Academy Trust and help to deliver its charitable Objects.

6.2 The Board supports governance at all levels to have a focus on equality, diversity and inclusion that ensures the Academy Trust’s Schools meet the three aims of the Public Sector Equality Duty.

6.3 Obstacles to participation are reduced, with the Academy Trust’s activities designed and open for everyone included within its charitable Objects, and, where relevant, in accordance with any overarching principle of its Foundation. This supports the Academy Trust to challenge inequality and achieve improved equality of outcomes.

6.4 The Board is more effective because its diverse perspectives, experiences and skills are valued and embedded.

Recommended practice

6.5 Systems and culture

a. The Board assesses its own understanding of equality, diversity and inclusion. It considers how this happens in the Academy Trust as a whole and in individual academies, identifying and addressing any gaps in understanding which are then filled by discussion, learning, research or information.

b. The Board regularly assesses its own practice and the Academy Trust’s approach to equality, diversity and inclusion, using available data and, where applicable, lived experience.

c. The Board ensures systems are in place to support all Schools in fulfilling their responsibilities under the Public Sector Equality Duty. The Board receives monitoring reports and ensures appropriate actions are taken where Schools need further support or training.

6.6 Setting context-specific and realistic plans and targets

a. The Board sets a clear Academy Trust-wide approach to equality, diversity and inclusion in line with the Academy Trust’s charitable Objects, strategy, culture and values. This is supported by appropriate plans, policies, milestones, targets and timelines[1].

b. To promote inclusive governance culture, practices and behaviours, the Board uses the findings from its assessments to make context-specific and regularly reviewed plans and targets for equality, diversity and inclusion training for those involved at all levels of Academy Trust governance.

6.7 Taking action and monitoring performance

a. The Board ensures that there are appropriate arrangements and resources in place to monitor and achieve the Academy Trust’s equality, diversity and inclusion plans and targets, including those relating to the Board.

b. The Board promotes, demonstrates and embeds inclusive behaviours, practices and cultures across the Academy Trust.

c. The Board regularly monitors and actively implements its plans and targets established under 6.6b.

d. The Board leads the Academy Trust’s progress towards achieving its equality, diversity and inclusion plans and targets. It receives regular updates from the Executive Leadership Team including challenges, opportunities and new developments.

e. The Board actively engages in learning and reflection about equality, diversity and inclusion and understands its accountability in this area. It acts on any gaps in its understanding and looks at how Board practice, culture and behaviours are affected by these gaps.

6.8 Publishing performance information and learning

a.   The Board regularly publishes information on its progress towards achieving its equality, diversity and inclusion plans and targets, including challenges, opportunities and learning.

[1] In a Voluntary Academy Trust, the Board’s approach is informed by the Foundation’s overarching principles.