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Representation Matters: The disabled workforce in our schools


by Vivienne Porritt @ViviennePorritt

and Ruth Golding @LearnerLedLdr

The highlight of my decade was being honoured with an OBE in the New Year's Honours list on January 1st. Wouldn't it be great if every day feels even better than this! Most of you will know this was for the impact of #WomenEd and it was wonderful to see the community celebrate together.

The citation was also for #DisabilityEd, and that's the focus of this blog. I am part of the @DisabilityEdUK Development Group, led by Ruth Golding.

Making education accessible for disabled employees is a challenge. This is because working in education can be physically and emotionally demanding which takes its toll on the disabled workforce. Disabled people may choose work in other sectors or, if working in education, leave their roles as their support needs are not being met.

Remember, disability isn't just physical conditions, it's a wide range of conditions and 'hidden' disabilities such as neurodivergence, chronic illness and psychological conditions.

Many people don't let employers know about either their disability or their needs.

This is why Ruth and I want to share two government-led opportunities with you, aimed at tackling the issue of poor disability data collection and reporting:

1. Research into disability workforce reporting in schools

Are you interested in taking part in research around workforce reporting in schools? Each year, schools are asked to provide information on the number of teachers that record themselves as disabled in the School Workforce Census. However in the last census, disability data was not submitted by schools for 52 per cent of teachers.

The Department for Education (DfE) is very keen to hear from those within schools and trusts responsible for collecting school staff disability data. This research will help the department understand how schools currently collect disability data and identify ways this process can be more effective and user-friendly.

If you are interested in participating and/or would like to learn more ahead of deciding, please contact the researchers: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

If leaders don't know who is disabled in their schools, how can they meet their access/support needs? We believe that education should be at the forefront of advancing equality, diversity and inclusion in the workplace, so that all schools and multi-academy trusts fulfill their duties in the Equality Act 2010.

2. Government consultation on wider workforce disability reporting

The Cabinet Office's Disability Unit are running a consultation on disability reporting for large employers (250+ employees). They want to hear more about the views and experiences of employers and employees.

This is an important consultation for education organisations and you can complete the online survey here

Please also share with school / trust leaders. 

The full consultation and alternative formats are available on GOV.UK.

Deadline: 8th April 2022.

Why is this so important?

We at DisabilityEd and WomenEd ascribe the social model of disability that states that it is not the impairment that is disabling but the world we live in. We are happy to support this research and consultation because disability permeates all our lives. Through the lived experiences of disabled people navigating an ableist society, parents of disabled children fighting the system, people with newly acquired disability, or family members supporting a newly diagnosis, you never know when disability becomes an issue for you.We want the best for everyone - and this means dismantling some of the systems and structures that hinders the work and progression of different groups in society.

Be part of the change.

Please help by sharing details of the research and consultation as widely as possible.

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Wednesday, 29 May 2024

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