Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and the BLA

Equal opportunities monitoring form

We would appreciate it if you could please take 2 minutes to complete this equal opportunities monitoring form. The form is not reviewed alongside your application and is completely anonymous. The information will help us to understand more about those applying to be on our leadership programme and will enable us to identify and remove barriers in the application process.

This data will be used for analysis by Big Education to improve the applicant experience, inform our DEI strategy and build a more inclusive community. We may also include the findings in external reports or promotions. Big Education is committed to ensuring discrimination under the Equality Act 2010 does not take place and to building our understanding of everyone involved in our organisation. 

Where do we stand?

Big Education is about a powerful vision; a belief that ALL students and young people deserve a holistic education, one that equips them to explore themselves, understand themselves and make a difference in the world.

In order to fulfil this vision diversity and equity must be at the heart of what we do. We believe in the power of authenticity, empowerment and vulnerability in the workplace, and strive to make sure everyone feels comfortable bringing their true selves to work.  We believe diversity is a core component in creating the innovation required to transform the sector, and recognise that we play an important role in A) creating lasting change on the ground and B) being part of sector-wide change. We’re a growing organisation and are building a culture where difference is valued and inclusion is at its core. We believe inclusion unlocks the power of diversity, and diverse perspectives enrich our team, adding value and impact to our work. 

We know that the education workforce does not reflect the diverse communities that we serve or the diverse and multicultural UK population. A recent study undertaken by UCL (2020) found that only ‘16% of schools across England employ over a fifth of their teachers from BAME groups’1. The research found that limited opportunities to progress are a huge contributing factor.  Lee (2018) found that ‘one in four of the teachers surveyed believed that their LGBT identity had been a barrier to promotion‘3. This is not right. In order to create an education that equips all young people for an ever-changing world, diversity and inclusion across all protected characteristics2 must be at the heart of what we do.

Call to action

We are looking for leaders from a range of different contexts within education, who have diverse backgrounds, experiences and roles within the system.  Therefore we have two important asks of you:

  1. If you feel there are barriers preventing you from applying or completing your application for this programme, please do get in touch with us at bla@bigeducation.org. We will endeavour to overcome these with you and warmly invite your feedback to help us improve our practices.
  2. Think about your own networks and colleagues, is there anyone you could signpost to consider applying for the BLA who may be interested in this opportunity to develop as a leader?

On the BLA we encourage participants to reflect on and share their own DEI journeys through dedicated events and components of the curriculum. From our experience, this has been an empowering experience for all involved:

I appreciated your professional horizon scanning – your honesty! I valued the auditing process and your strategic approach to your innovation project. I felt empowered by the involvement of all stakeholders and a clear direction on how to achieve this. I valued your passion and COMMITMENT to DEI and your journey.”

Please do check out some of our Big Leadership Adventurer’s reflections following a workshop led by Adrian Mclean and Hannah Wilson, (BLA ’20) in our DEI blog series:

Facing up to Privilege, Dan Colquhoun
My journey into diversity, equity and inclusion, Laura Ciftci
Belonging Part 1, Meirion Lewis

2 https://www.diverseeducators.co.uk/the-protected-characteristics/
3Lee, C (2018) Fifteen years on the legacy of section 28 for LGBT teachers in English schools. Sex Education 8: 1–16.

A special thanks to all our BLA contributors (so far…)

The design of the programme is iterative and we encourage everyone in the community to get involved by contributing and helping us to tailor the programme throughout based on input and feedback.

You can hear more about how leaders are finding their adventure in the next section..

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