Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

St John’s College is committed to ensuring the welfare and well-being of a diverse college community. It recognises that its staff and students are its most valuable asset.

The Equality, Diversity and Inclusion strategy set out below aims to further our efforts to become a more diverse and inclusive institution. It has due regard for equality law, our legal commitments, and our activities to promote equality, diversity and inclusion.

We strive to ensure that our equality work is central to all policy development, decisions and practice; that employment, study and other services are genuinely accessible to everyone; and that everyone has the right to have their individual needs respected without discrimination. We will challenge and stop any discrimination we encounter through our framework of dignity, respect and fairness.

About Equality, Diversity and Inclusion


Equality is about promoting equal opportunities, ensuring fair treatment and tackling discrimination.

We support the definition of Equality developed in the Equalities Review published by the Government in 2007:

‘An equal society protects and promotes equal, real freedom and substantive opportunity to live in ways people value and would choose, so that everyone can flourish. An equal society recognises people’s needs, situations and goals and removes the barriers that limit what people can do and can be.’ The Equality Review, Fairness and Freedom (p6)

Diversity is about taking account of the differences between people and groups of people, and placing a positive value on those differences.

Inclusion is about an individual’s experiences within education and/or the workplace and in wider society and the extent to which they feel valued and included.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, although different need to be progressed together. Equality of opportunity will exist only when we recognise and value difference and work together for inclusion.

"Equality and inclusion are not just aspirations; they are a responsibility for all of us." – Fellow for Equality

The Legal Framework

The Equality Act 2010 (the Act) consolidated many pieces of anti-discrimination law into a single legal framework, aiming to simplify, strengthen and remove inconsistencies that previously existed. The Act requires us to have due regard (fair consideration and sufficient attention) to the following three General Duties ensuring we:

  • eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation (e.g. remove any discriminatory behaviour, practices and take a zero-tolerance approach to prejudice)
  • advance equality of opportunity (e.g. remove or minimise disadvantage, meeting the needs of people with protected characteristics, and encourage participation where participation is disproportionately low)
  • foster good relations between people who share a characteristic and those who do not (e.g. promote understanding between groups and tackle prejudice)

We also have to consider another piece of legislation called the Public Sector Equality Duty, which came into force in April 2011. This law give us Specific Duties to publish equality information annually and develop Equality Objectives (at least every four years) to help us meet the above duty.

We publish this information on our website. The focus of this law is to demonstrate how we deliver the above three general duties and to provide transparency in how we respond to it.

The Equality Act requires us to consider equality in public procurement and, in a recent update of the Equality Act (2015), to publish gender pay gap figures annually on our website (since April 2018).

The Human Rights Act (1998) also provides for every individual’s right to dignity, respect and fairness and the principles of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 need to be embraced through the Equality agenda.

Public Equality Duties & Protected Characteristics

The Equality Act 2010 replaced the previous equalities legislation that evolved over the preceding 45 years. It replaced nine statutes (including The Equal Pay Act 1970, the Sex Discrimination Act 1975, the Race Relations Acts 1975 and 2000, the Disability Discrimination Acts 1995 and 2005) and over 100 other pieces of legislation.

The protected characteristics under Section 4 of the Equality Act 2010 are:

  • Age (collapsible)
  • Disability
  • Gender Reassignment
  • Marriage and Civil Partnership
  • Pregnancy and Maternity
  • Race · Religion or Belief
  • Sex
  • Sexual Orientation

Our Commitment

We are committed in our Strategic Plan (2019–22) to provide a high-quality learning experience for all of our students that meets their needs and empowers them to perform to the very best of their ability. Similarly, we aim to provide an inspiring working environment for staff that enables them to work to the best of their ability.

The College Strategy – (2019–2022)

Why do we need this strategy?

The Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy set out in this document will further our efforts to become more diverse and inclusive. We want all of our students and staff to feel included, and not ‘othered’. More specifically, the strategy will help us to:

  • identify, attract and recruit staff and students that reflect the make-up of modern Britain
  • value our staff and students for their individuality in ways that will create a culture in which talent, creativity and innovation can thrive and will help bring out the best in our people

This strategy sets out our diversity, equality and inclusion aims for the next four years through a clear focus on four themes:

Embedding culture, values, diversity, dignity and well-being
Embed equality, dignity and well-being in all of our functions and services. This will help us ensure that everyone has a role to play in improving our College culture.

Ensuring fair processes and inclusion
Ensure fairness and transparency in the way we do things can make people feel they belong and are valued

Empowering staff and students
Empower all so that they can study, perform to the best of their abilities

Communicating engaging and role modelling
Communicating (engaging and having mentoring and role models), foster dialogue, foster good practice and improve the staff and student experience through a communications and engagement strategy to drive the equality, diversity and inclusion forward.

Race equality in St John’s

The College is committed to becoming an anti-racist community. Racism exists within our own community as well as in society at large. It is unacceptable that any College member or visitor experiences racism and we pledge to acknowledge, challenge and dismantle structural racism within our policies, practices and behaviour. We are determined to ensure that St John’s College provides a supportive and inclusive environment in which all our students, staff and Fellows can flourish.

During 2020-21 the College set up a working group on race and equality to address the concerns of the BAME community and identify priorities for action. Members of the group included College students, staff and Fellows and we also benefited from advice from a group of alumni. The working group’s final report is here.

The College has an agreed action plan and anti-racism statement.

This cannot succeed as an isolated intervention. We will continue to strive to understand what it means in practice to be anti-racist and work towards sustained change.