Leadership equality and diversity fund: for school-led projects

Apply for grant funding to co-ordinate school-led equality and diversity projects in your region.


The application round for 2018 to 2020 has now closed.

Review the list of 2018 to 2020 successful schools for details of the 7 regional hub lead schools successful in their applications for grant funding for onward allocation to individual school projects.

Arrangements for the East Midlands and Humber region are being finalised and are to be confirmed.

If you wish to be informed of any future application rounds please contact


The leadership equality and diversity fund supports schools to develop local solutions that help teachers covered by at least one of the protected characteristics as defined in the Equality Act 2010 progress into leadership. The protected characteristics are:

  • age
  • disability
  • gender reassignment
  • marriage and civil partnership
  • pregnancy and maternity
  • race
  • religion or belief
  • sex
  • sexual orientation

The fund reinforces the government’s commitment to increasing the diversity of school leadership and maximising the number of leaders available by raising aspirations and the chances of successful promotion among people with leadership potential.

The Department for Education invited lead schools to apply for grant funding in 2018 to 2019 and 2019 to 2020. Funding was awarded to one lead school in each of the regional school commissioner (RSC) regions. Lead schools will be responsible for allocating funding to individual school-led projects and for co-ordinating the fund across their region. This should lead to greater national coverage and opportunities to scale up best practice delivery models.

All projects must be designed and delivered by schools offering tailored leadership development activity to aspiring leaders from underrepresented groups, based on an audit of local needs.


Activity Date
Application round opened 15 December 2017
Application round closed Friday 9 February 2018 at midday
Notification of outcomes End of spring term 2018
DfE led orientation meeting for lead schools Summer term 2018
Year 1 programme completion By end of summer term 2019
Year 2 programme completion By end of summer term 2020

Who can apply

Lead schools graded outstanding or good for overall effectiveness by Ofsted in their most recent inspection can apply for the fund. They must:

  • be able to demonstrate a strong commitment to increasing the diversity of school leadership in their region
  • have the capability, capacity and infrastructure to administer grant funding, co-ordinate delivery and quality assure multiple school-led projects across their region

Role and responsibilities of lead schools

Lead schools will be responsible for:

  • the effective, efficient and appropriate use of all grant funding they receive including guarding against fraud
  • ensuring that all conditions of grant are met
  • running a fair and transparent process to facilitate the allocation of funding to schools for the design and delivery of school-led projects, and running an audit of this
  • ensuring that each project demonstrates need relating to one or more of the protected characteristic (where appropriate)
  • ensuring maximum geographical coverage within their region, based on need, including in opportunity areas
  • putting in place formal arrangements with each individual school delivering a project for example service level agreements or memorandum of understanding
  • monitoring school-led project progress and ensuring delivery against milestones and key performance indicators (KPIs)
  • supporting schools by building new, and/or working with established school networks across their region, and enabling the sharing of best practice
  • supporting schools in negotiating any partnership agreement (including data handling, intellectual property for example) with strategic partners
  • effective risks management
  • putting appropriate quality assurance arrangements in place
  • collecting and collating financial and performance information including progress against KPIs
  • reporting to the Department for Education on all aspects of the programme, for example performance against KPIs, providing financial returns. Lead schools will be asked to report in writing once per term outlining the progress of all projects
  • undertaking evaluation activities as requested by the Department for Education including issuing participant surveys to participants and collecting teacher reference numbers (TRNs)
  • participating fully in any external evaluation commissioned by the Department for Education
  • providing case studies as requested by the Department for Education

Lead schools will be expected to demonstrate a school contribution of 25% of the overall cost in the form of in-kind costs for good or services that are provided free of charge or that will not be paid for out of grant funding. For example, a bid of £100,000, should demonstrate an additional £25,000 worth of school or in-kind contributions.


£820,000 is available to fund projects in the academic year 2018 to 2019 and up to £1 million in 2019 to 2020. We anticipate this will fund a minimum of 1,800 participants at an average unit cost across each region of approximately £1,000.

Lead schools should apply for the amount of funding they will need to manage their proposed number of school led-projects in each year.

Contact us

Equality and Diversity

Published 20 May 2014
Last updated 29 March 2018 + show all updates
  1. Changes made to the 'Apply' section to reflect the end of the 2018 to 2020 application round and how to see the list of successful schools.
  2. Updated guide as the 2017 to 2018 application round has closed.
  3. Application round is now open.
  4. Application round has now closed
  5. Application round now open
  6. Application round now closed.
  7. Leadership equality and diversity WebEx slides added.
  8. Application round is now open
  9. Application round for the equality and diversity grant funding has closed.
  10. First published.