Equality and diversity

The Department for Education 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. Our equality objectives are included in our Outcome Delivery Plan.

Equalities in policymaking and delivery

Equality and diversity are critical to delivering the Department for Education (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.

See how we’re achieving this through our Outcome Delivery Plan.

Specific examples of our equality analysis

Equality Impact Assessments:

Research and analysis:

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

Equality and diversity within DfE

DfE is renewing its 5-year Diversity and Inclusion strategy with the aim of ‘building a diverse DfE, which nurtures and builds talent for all, in an inclusive environment.’ We encourage and value open and honest conversations, challenge and innovation.

We aim to set an example as an equal opportunities employer. We strive to make sure that our workplace is attractive to people from all backgrounds as a diverse and representative workforce enables us to deliver our business objectives.

Workforce breakdown: DfE equality workforce data, December 2018 to December 2021

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

Source: HR System, February 2022.

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

Wellbeing and mental health support within DfE

The health and wellbeing of DfE colleagues is a key priority.

We follow the thriving at work standards to support all DfE employees and report on our results. We have also:

  • published a DfE wellbeing strategy which outlines how colleagues can take care of themselves and their colleagues
  • developed a wellbeing action plan to support staff throughout the winter and into spring
  • trained over 200 Mental Health First Aiders across the department
  • signed up to Mind’s mental health at work commitment to work towards best practice in mental health and wellbeing

DfE staff networks

We have a variety of staff networks and groups for all employees to join. Our 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+
  • Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME)
  • Carers
  • Departmental Disability Group
  • EU Nationals
  • Interfaith
  • LGBT+
  • Neurodivergence
  • Parents
  • Social Mobility
  • Women’s