Diversity and Inclusion in Education survey — July 2022

A research report in collaboration with Pearson.

Research in collaboration with Pearson into equality, diversity and inclusion in schools has found that while most parents feel they have a good understanding of diversity and inclusion in education, gender stereotypes still play a role in subjects studied in schools. Alongside this, parents highlighted LGBT+ definitions as an area that they might not feel confident discussing with their child.

Key findings 

  • The vast majority of parents (91%) feel they have a good understanding of what diversity and inclusion means in relation to education.
  • 71% of parents agree that their child’s school celebrates diverse cultures, people and experiences in its teaching and 70% say their child’s school has an inclusive environment that enables all children to thrive. 
  • Fewer than half of parents (41%) agree that the education provided in schools today reflects the diversity of pupils in the UK and the world around them. 
  • 40% of parents feel gender stereotypes influence the subjects their child is interested in learning at school and 37% of parents say their child’s career aspirations are influenced by gender stereotypes. 

Comparisons between parents and teachers [teacher data taken from Pearson’s Teacher Survey*]

  • 66% of teachers agree that the education provided in schools today is inclusive of all pupils in the UK, only 36% of parents say the same. Similarly, whilst 61% of teachers agree that the education system supports learners to succeed after leaving education only 29% of parents share this view.
  • More than six in 10 parents and teachers agree that the Black Lives Matter movement has prompted them to think about the diversity of the curriculum and what is taught in schools.
  • Six in 10 parents and teachers feel their personal background is reflected in what is taught in schools today.
  • The most common suggestion to raise aspirations and outcomes for children from both teachers and parents was to support greater flexibility to adapt teaching to suit the different ways that pupils learn.
  • Only a third of parents and teachers believe that non-binary identities are well-represented in resources, topics and materials taught in their child’s school today, rising to 39% of parents and 40% of teachers in the case of LGBT+ identities.
  • A much higher percentage of teachers (57%) than parents (25%) are confident that the current education system provides the best outcomes for all pupils.
  • More teachers (61%) than parents (41%) agree that the education provided in schools today reflects the diversity of pupils in the UK and the world around them.
  • Teachers are more likely to say that the subject content taught in schools is more diverse than parents are – although many more parents than teachers indicated they were not sure. 
  • A greater percentage of parents than teachers are confident talking to their children about topics and issues around the LGBT+ community and injustices (18% difference), racial injustices (14% difference), poverty (12% difference), gender equality (11% difference), mental health (11% difference) and LGBT+ and non-binary definitions (10% difference).
  • A higher percentage of teachers believe that different groups such as Black and Minority Ethnicities, girls/​women, boys/​men, White ethnicities, pupils with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND), advantaged pupils and disadvantaged pupils are represented in resources, topics and materials taught in school today than parents do. 

Our methodology 

Parentkind conducted a short online survey, promoted to parents via social media, between 14th October 2021 and 5th January 2022. 454 parents completed the survey (412 in England, 18 in Northern Ireland and 24 in Wales). Parents were asked to answer the questions based on their eldest child’s experiences. 52% of parents’ eldest children attended primary school, 46% secondary school 2% a special school. 7% of parents said their child attends an independent (fee paying) school. 75% of parents classify their ethnic group/​background as white, 7% mixed/​multiple ethnic groups, 6% Asian/​Asian British, and 3% Black/​African/​Caribbean/​Black British. Respondents cover all regions of England, including 27% from the South East, 15% the South West, 13% London, 8% the East Midlands and 7% Yorkshire and Humberside. 

*Comparisons with teachers are drawn from research conducted by Pearson, who surveyed 1,003 teaching staff between 10–17th December 2019 and 1,000 teaching staff between 31st July — 17th August 2020 to capture their views on education. Responses were collected via online surveys, with the fieldwork completed by research agency Opinium. Teaching staff include school leaders, middle leaders, classroom teachers and teaching assistants working in UK primary and secondary schools.