Equality and diversity

DfE aims to set an example as an employer and is developing 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. Read the Department for Education’s equality objectives.

Fairness in policy making

We are:

  • collecting and using evidence on equality to develop our policy and decision making
  • involved in effective practice in promoting equality, and engaging with communities in effective ways

You can find examples of our equality analysis in the links below:

Equality and diversity within DfE

We aim to set an example as an equal opportunities employer. A diverse and representative workforce enables us to deliver our business objectives.

Workforce breakdown: DfE equality workforce data, December 2012 to December 2016

    Dec 2012 Dec 2013 Dec 2014 Dec 2015 Dec 2016 Actual change (percentage points)
Whole workforce Black and minority ethnic 16.5% 16.9% 16.7% 17.2% 17.4% +0.2
  Women 59.5% 58.3% 57.6% 58.0% 59.0% +1.0
  Disabled 11.0% 12.0% 12.5% 9.4% 10.0% +0.6
  LGB 3.8% 4.0% 4.3% 4.4% 5.2% +0.8
Senior civil servants Black and minority ethnic 4.3% 4.5% 5.4% 5.7% 3.3% -2.4
  Women 48.8% 44.9% 44.4% 48.0% 54.8% +6.8
  Women (top management posts) 44.8% 43.8% 40.5% 44.4% 50.0% +5.6
  Disabled 4.2% 5.4% 3.0% 1.7% 3.7% +2.0
  LGB 6.9% 7.6% 11.5% 9.1% 9.2% +0.1

Source: RM, January 2017. Table shows the percentage of people with declared ethnicity, disability and sexual orientation. It includes staff paid through DfE payroll. Those who joined DfE in the machinery of government change, including from higher and further education and the Skills Funding Agency, are not yet included in the data.

We will update this section as new information is available.

Working with organisations and networks

We are working with partners in the equality and diversity sector and:

  • are supporting black and minority ethnic children by speeding up the process of adoption
  • are working with partners that promote equality
  • are making sure that meetings on different aspects of the curriculum involve partners from the various equality communities
  • have consulted with partners to develop ways to reduce the number of exclusions, including the Special Educational Consortium (SEC) and the Children’s Rights Alliance for England (CRAE)
  • have supported local delivery projects in 66 local authority areas to develop innovative approaches to deliver our plans to raise the participation age (RPA)