Navigating Equity and Inclusion in Schools

Written by: Libby on May 1, 2024

Equity and inclusion are two key topics that shape so much of the world we live in. As you know, a lot of the world-shaping happens during school years, so it’s essential that equity and inclusion are a key component of that. 1 in 3 teaching staff think that the diversity of pupils is not reflected in the education provided in UK schools today. Statistics like this enforce how pivotal it is that students are exposed to the society around them and their value in it. 

Here at InnovateHer, we prioritise equity and inclusion in the work we do. We want our activities and opportunities to be available to all schools and students. This is why they’re free and built to be virtual or in-person. Our activities represent the diverse world we live in. So students can see themselves represented while highlighting how important equity and inclusion is.

Equity:

We’ve all seen that image that explains equity (if you haven’t, you can see it below). Equity acknowledges that we don’t all start from the same place. An effort needs to be made to alter the imbalance so everyone has the same opportunities and understanding of how to best support. 

So, how can schools make a difference?

  1. Encourage students’ voices. Actively speak to and involve the students who don’t usually speak during lesson time.
  2. Be a symbol of equity in your classroom. One way to do this is to move around the room. Moving around creates an atmosphere of balance and makes space for students to get more involved.
  3. Virtual learning. Online learning provides flexibility and further opportunities for students. Students can learn outside or during school hours, during lessons or in extracurricular clubs.

You can see more suggestions here.

InnovateHer’s eLearning platform, InnovateHer Online, also allows schools to build on equity. Our platform is fully accessible in terms of format and time variety, and it is completely free!

Our content comes with subtitles, can be used on a desktop, tablet, etc, and can take as little as 5 minutes to watch a video to 6-weeks to complete our longest course. It is for all types of learning. It links to your curriculum and reaches Gatsby benchmarks 4,5 & 8. It is available for everyone, so you know your students all have the same learning opportunities on InnovateHer Online.   

Inclusion:

Inclusion has many definitions, but the one that best fits our discussion is “the process of improving the terms of participation in society, particularly for people who are disadvantaged, through enhancing opportunities, access to resources, voice and respect for rights.”

An inclusive world is one that is truly built for everyone. A part of this begins at school, “they (Inclusion) are promoted mainly through the general aims of the curriculum.”

Students must feel seen and involved in all aspects of school life, from being asked for their thoughts on a topic to a school addressing discrimination issues, showing the determination to achieve inclusion.

On InnovateHer Online, we want students to feel included and represented. This is why we have content featuring role models from different backgrounds to represent the world we live in. Our Meet The Expert series is a key example of the inclusion we want to represent. Not only is it wide-ranging careers, but people of different genders and races discussing their career experience. All with the purpose of inspiring students into tech and showing that they belong in the industry!

Equity and Inclusion at InnovateHer

Focusing on equity and inclusion is a way to guarantee a better and fairer society for all. It’s important that students are exposed to it so that things are better for them. But so they, too, can grow to build a society that is equal for everyone to succeed in!

Outside of the activity mentioned above. Here at InnovateHer, we also have other activities/resources available to support the incorporation of equity and inclusion at your school: 

1. The InnovateHer Journey. This journey includes extra activities such as assemblies, role model talks, and bespoke activities such as career fairs. You will be matched with an InnovateHer Partner, who will support and deliver this activity. This allows your students to gain further insight into tech and hear about equity and inclusion in workplaces You can find out more about the InnovateHer School’s journey here.

2. InnovateHer Events. Throughout the school year, we run several virtual events. ALL secondary schools are invited. These events focus on specific themes that envelop equity and inclusion in order to inspire your students for their present and future. You can keep a look for future events here.

3. Hearing from your students. We want to hear directly from your students through our survey. In the survey, we ask students about their career aspirations, what they think about technology, and what they might think are the barriers to getting into tech. Students who complete the survey have the opportunity to win a PlayStation 5. Click here to access the survey.

We hope this discussion makes the importance of equity and inclusion as clear as ever and that you have learnt new ways to change schools. Whether through working with InnovateHer or the other resources we have mentioned.

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