Diversity and Inclusion Strategy 2018-2022


Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) is about respecting and valuing the differing backgrounds, skills and experiences that everyone brings to our workplace.

To prepare young people to lead rewarding and productive lives in a complex and changing world we need to be truly inclusive and embrace differences so we can make sure every student is known, valued and cared for. Valuing difference will enable a workforce of the highest calibre and community confidence in public education is high.

This strategy takes into account and responds to the Government Sector Employment Act 2013. It aligns with the Department’s Disability Inclusion Action Plan 2016-2020, the Multicultural Plan 2016-2018, the Aboriginal Affairs Strategy and the NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group Inc. (NSW AECG) Partnership Agreement 2010-2020 (the Partnership Agreement).

Our vision

This strategy aims to support the departmental goal; Education is a great place to work and our workforce is of the highest calibre.

Through the diversity of our workforce and recognising the individual skills, perspectives and experiences our people bring to our workplaces; we will position ourselves to do the best job we can for the students and communities of NSW.

Our values

Integral to this strategy are our department’s values of Excellence, Equity, Accountability, Trust, Integrity and Service. Our aim is to achieve a workforce and culture where:

  • We respect and support all people to reach their full potential.
  • We embed universal design in our thinking and responses.
  • Diversity and inclusion is everyone’s business.
  • We learn from everyone’s experiences in the workplace.
  • We reflect the NSW community we serve.

Our priorities

Over the next five years we will:

  1. Build an inclusive workforce through employee awareness, understanding and engagement.
    View objectives and timeframes.
  2. Attract, recruit, develop and retain a workforce, which reflects the community we serve. View objectives and timeframes.
  3. Strengthen workforce data and evidence to inform sustainable decisions and initiatives. View objectives and timeframes.

Photo of Mark Scott

A note from the Secretary

“Respect for diversity is a core value of the department. If we are to be the best education system in Australia and one of the finest in the world we need to create a workplace that encourages and supports opportunities for all employees of all backgrounds and life experience to achieve, succeed and be at their best.

When we all have opportunities to be ourselves, creativity and innovation will thrive and we will position ourselves to do the best job we can for the students and communities of NSW. That’s why it’s critical we embrace this strategy as we strive to prepare young people in our schools to lead rewarding and productive lives in a complex and dynamic world.”

– Mark Scott

Our commitment to action

Our areas of focus are based on our current workforce data and NSW Government priorities:

We respect and value our Aboriginal People

Supporting Aboriginal people and communities with every interaction within the Education system remains a priority. Although we are on track to meet the existing Premier’s priorities target our goal is to increase the number of Aboriginal people across all position classifications within our workforce. Improving representation of Aboriginal people increases our opportunities to engage with students, families and communities and provide relevant and culturally appropriate services and support.

We include by design

We will ensure our workplaces and systems are accessible and designed to enable and maximise participation and leadership opportunities for our employees with disability. We will achieve this through the removal of barriers to participation and embedding universal design in our thinking and responses. By doing so, we will increase the representation and inclusion of people with disability in our workforce.

We reflect our communities

To support and deliver the best outcomes for our students, it is important that we reflect the community we serve. The department has continued to increase the number of employees from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds. We aim to continue this by understanding and tackling systemic barriers to entry and progression, to help improve experiences for all our staff.

We value diversity in our leadership

Gender diversity in senior leadership helps improve problem solving and collaboration and leads to higher organisational performance. Our aim is to maintain a gender balance at senior leadership levels. This will involve understanding the leadership pipeline and any structural barriers in place that may be impacting disproportionately on women’s progression into leadership roles.

We challenge the status quo

Workforce gender equality is shaped by the roles and norms we absorb throughout our life. Teachers play an important part in setting those norms, and we recognise that ‘you can’t be what you can’t see’. We have an obligation to address the gender imbalance in our teaching population, attracting and retaining more male teachers. Our goal is to understand the barriers currently perceived for entry as a male teacher and work with a range of people and organisations to start developing a targeted plan to overcome those barriers.

However, we recognise that diversity extends beyond the above areas. Therefore, our strategies will also aim to foster a workplace with an inclusive culture, which extends beyond these to include:

  • Age, carer responsibilities, marital status, LGBTIQ+, educational level, life experience and socio-economic background.

For this reason, our strategy outlines key objectives, which we will action across all areas of diversity as well as our areas of focus.

Our progress

The Workforce Diversity Plan 2012-2017 has seen progress towards most targets which were set for the whole organisation in line with the Premier’s Priorities. This progress demonstrates that with focus, we can realise benefits for all. However, to gain great insight into people’s experience of the workplace to ensure we benefit from the richness of lived experience we must move beyond targets, to the more holistic goal of inclusion within and across the entire workplace.

As a NSW Government department, we adopt the Premier’s priorities for Diversity and Inclusion. These priorities are to:

  • Double the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in senior leadership roles in the government sector by 2025.
  • Increase the proportion of women in senior leadership roles in the NSW government sector from 33 to 50 per cent by 2025.

Department wide, we are on track to meeting and exceeding these two existing targets. We will continue to monitor and improve our progress against the following targets.

Summary of areas of focus and their progress towards targets
Areas of focusOur progressOur targets

Aboriginal people – in senior leadership roles


Increase the number of Aboriginal people in senior leadership roles to 3.0% by 2025

Aboriginal people


Maintain the trend growth rate to reach a 4.5% representation across the department by 2022

People with disability


5.6% representation by 2027

Culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD)

New measure

Increase the representation of CALD employees across the department

Women in leadership – senior leadership roles


Increase the representation of women in senior leadership roles to 60% by 2025

Male teachers


Increase the representation of male teachers

For more information, email spp@det.nsw.edu.au

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