Equality and diversity

The Department for Education (DfE) aims to set an example as an employer and develop policies that make opportunity equal for children and young people.


Under the Equality Act 2010, we have a legal duty to publish information that shows compliance with the Public Sector Equality Duty, and to publish our equality objectives.

Equalities in policymaking and delivery

Equality and diversity are critical to delivering DfE’s vision: we enable children and learners to thrive by protecting the vulnerable and ensuring the delivery of excellent standards of education, training and care. This helps realise everyone’s potential – and that powers our economy, strengthens society and increases fairness.

Specific examples of our equality analysis

To deliver on our wider equality and diversity objectives, we invest in excellent analysis and research, some good-practice examples of which are provided here.

Equality impact assessments:

Research and analysis:

All education statistics and data can be found on the Explore our statistics and data page.

Equality and diversity within DfE

The diversity and inclusion work at DfE is directed by our diversity and inclusion strategy 2022 to 2026. Our aim is to create an inclusive DfE that nurtures talent and reflects the diversity of the country we serve.

Workforce breakdown: DfE equality workforce data, December 2018 to December 2022

Dec 2018 Dec 2019 Dec 2020 Dec 2021 Dec 2022
Whole workforce Black and minority ethnic 18.1% 19.1% 19.3% 19.4% 19.5%
  Women 57.7% 57.7% 58.0% 59.3% 59.7%
  Disabled 14.4% 14.5% 10.8% 12.5% 13.4%
  LGBO 6.1% 6.5% 7.1% 7.4% 7.7%
Headcount   6377 7014 7527 8200 8290
Senior civil servants Black and minority ethnic 4.9% 6.8% 9.2% 11.3% 11.3%
  Women 58.6% 56.3% 54.4% 58.3% 57.8%
  Disabled 12.0% 13.7% 9.6% 9% 10.6%
  LGBO 5.9% 6.4% 6.8% 6.6% 7.0%
Headcount   227 238 253 270 265

Source: HR System, March 2023.

The table shows the percentage of employees paid through the DfE payroll who have declared their ethnicity, disability status and sexual orientation.

Wellbeing and mental health support within DfE

DfE wants to make sure colleagues enjoy a good work-life balance and have access to guidance and tools to help them take care of their physical, mental and emotional wellbeing as well as that of their colleagues. We encourage openness so that colleagues feel they can talk about their wellbeing and mental health. We have trained more than 200 mental health first-aiders, who assist colleagues by listening to their individual experiences and discussing strategies with them for managing their mental health and wellbeing.

DfE staff networks

We have a variety of staff networks and groups for all employees to join. Those networks help us to create an inclusive and diverse environment so that everyone who works at DfE can bring their best to work. Our core inclusion networks include:

  • 50+
  • Bereavement
  • Black, Asian and minority ethnic
  • Carers
  • Christian
  • Departmental disability group
  • Eating disorders
  • Fertility
  • Hindu
  • Interfaith
  • LGBT+
  • Long COVID
  • Menopause
  • Neurodivergence
  • Parents
  • Positivity wellbeing
  • Social mobility
  • Vegan
  • Women
  • Women of colour
  • Working through cancer
  • Young people