Equity, diversity and inclusion

Our work revolves around the following concepts of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, Belonging and Justice.


Equity: is recognizing that we do not all start from the same place and must acknowledge and put things in place to adjustment these imbalances. Equity is a system that recognizes each person has different resources and opportunities and seeks to understand and provide what people need based on these differences. It acknowledges the barriers different communities face and works to limit or eliminate these barriers.


Diversity: is recognising, acknowledging and celebrating each other’s differences. A diverse environment is one with a wide range of backgrounds, experiences and mindsets, which allows for an empowered culture of creativity and innovation. Respecting diversity is a key part appreciating that we are all different and each have our own identity.


Inclusion: welcomes all and fosters psychological safety which impacts upon the feeling of belonging and appreciation. It refers to the process of bringing everyone including those that may be traditionally excluded from decisions and/or positions of power.


Belonging: is the innate human desire to be part of something larger than us and is often sought after by trying to fit in and seeking approval. However, true belonging only happens when we feel safe to present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world.


Justice: focuses on the systemic barriers that can get in the way, not characteristics of the people themselves. With justice in mind, we can work on removing these barriers all together so that everyone can fully participate in society. Achieving justice isn’t a quick fix but a long-term work to remove the systemic barriers that affects the many aspects of our settings and societ

We believe the time has come for a dedicated association focusing on those key concepts. At the same time, increasing numbers of schools and organisations are appointing Inclusion Leads. There is a growing understanding that inclusion work needs to go beyond being a another tick in the box. Rather, inclusion must be an integral part of the organisation led by someone committed and passionate with access to continuous training. It is often not possible for one person to lead on every EDI initiative. Therefore, schools and organisations need to consider the support available for their EDI lead, both from the senior team and the wider staff body. 

EDI work requires a high level of open-minded introspection for schools and organisations. Critically analysing and evaluating current systems, understanding community, truly seeking and listening to feedback takes time. But it is absolutely critical in order to recognise and address the systemic barriers hindering certain groups from achieving their full potential or, in some cases, simply having a positive school experience. 

Our focus on these key concepts underpins members’ work and the strategy they implement in their contexts.


IELA represents all educational settings, including independent and state schools, colleges and universities, charities, organisations, corporate companies and businesses in the UK and world-wide.

Find out more about Membership here.