How to have constructive conversations about diversity with pupils, staff and parents

It can be tricky to know what to say and do when a pupil or colleague says something sexist or racist. Understand why it’s important to challenge these behaviours, and how best to react when you see them happen.

Last reviewed on 10 August 2021
School types: All · School phases: All
Ref: 43164
  1. Equality and diversity - why do we need to talk about them?
  2. Guiding principles when challenging behaviours
  3. Scenarios: talking to pupils
  4. Scenarios: talking to colleagues
  5. Get parents involved 

Equality and diversity - why do we need to talk about them?

Ofsted’s recent review into sexual harassment in schools has shown that low level sexism and harassment are commonplace.

Educating your pupils, staff and parents about sexism and sexual harassment is a vital step to make your school a safe and inclusive place.

These conversations can also help tackle other forms of discrimination, such as racism or ableism. Stopping these behaviours early can help to educate and prevent more serious forms of abuse and discrimination from taking root.

You’re also required to comply with the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) in your school. This means you must have due regard for:

  • Eliminating discrimination
  • Advancing equality of opportunity
  • Fostering good relations in your community

You may have legal issues if you don’t make an effort to challenge discriminatory language and behaviour in your school.

There’s no “one size fits