The world around us is changing at an exponential rate. It’s true we’ve come a long way as a society, over the last decade. Things are certainly moving in the right direction with regard to diversity in the workplace; the landscape is changing, but we can still do more!

Diversity… it’s something of a buzzword at the moment, with companies and organisations everywhere seeking to ensure that people of all ages and abilities, from different backgrounds and origins, are properly represented and valued within their workforce. This is an admirable move, but employers looking at diversity simply as a trend, are missing out on the positivity, productivity and value a truly diverse and inclusive workforce brings.

Put simply, a diverse organisation is a happy organisation. Genuine diversity in the workplace is invaluable on so many different levels, principally in the fact that it fosters a real sense of belonging that makes everyone feel like they’re part of a progressive and balanced team.

Its many benefits include lower levels of ‘groupthink’ (unchallenged, poor quality decision-making at group level), higher standards of creativity and innovation, a wider skills and knowledge base and increased employee engagement and retention.

The nine strands of diversity!

Diversity refers to different perspectives, outlooks and beliefs being properly represented within a team, all working as one to a set of core, shared values and principles. It is a broad term within the context of the workplace containing nine common, defining strands.

 At the recent Evaluate Ed Conference event (click to read my blog), one of the keynote speakers on the day was Leadership Development Consultant, Author and Co-Founder of Diverse Educators, Hannah Wilson.

A hugely experienced education professional with more than two decades of teaching and leadership experience under her belt, Hannah gave us a fantastic insight into Diversity, Equality and Inclusion within schools, sharing her own experiences in education, and exploring how important it is for everyone to feel like they truly belong in their workplace.

At the event, we were encouraged to make an open and honest appraisal of how we all can create a culture of belonging for everyone, as well as identifying and overcoming the potential barriers to this.

We were also asked to name all nine strands of diversity. Traditionally, there are six with which most people seem to be familiar; namely age, gender, sexual orientation, neurodiversity, race and religion.

But, following our session with Hannah, we were reminded that there are a further three strands which are, perhaps, less well-recognised… gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership and pregnancy & maternity.

Even amongst today’s enlightened organisations – of which I am proud to count Moxi Recruitment as one – there is still more to explore and embrace with regard to diversity in the workplace.

What does this look like in a teaching assistant environment?

First of all, teaching assistance as a profession has grown significantly over the last decade; in particular since 2019, with a 21% increase across all sectors including mainstream and specialist provision.

Teaching assistance is – and has traditionally been – a female-dominated environment, with 93% of UK workers in the sector being women. This is part of an overall UK teaching workforce demarcated as 76% female, 24% male in 2022/23. As of the latest government statistics, 14% of nursery and primary school teachers are male, with 35% of secondary school roles and 25% of special school and PRU positions taken up by men.

Likewise, both racial and age diversity within the sector has also broadened considerably with more and more people choosing to work in the TA sector aged 40 upwards, and over 15% of teachers and teaching assistants in the UK coming from ethnic minority groups.

So, why is diversity important in our schools?

Young people need positive role models with whom they can identify, both in and out of the classroom. They need to form bonds with people who share the same characteristics, outlooks and life experiences as them, based on trust and mutual respect.

Young people – including those with special educational needs – also need to be able to access the same facilities in school, wherever possible. When talking to school leaders, we always challenge them to take a good look at their environment and culture. Are all of their pupils and staff properly represented and catered for? Are they all able to access the same facilities, in order to maximise their life and learning potential?

At Moxi Recruitment, we go out into the communities in which we work, seeking to remove barriers to jobs in education, wherever they appear. Thanks to our training programmes, including our intensive Introductory TA course, we can play our part in ensuring those who want to make a difference to the lives of our young people in schools are given every opportunity to do so, irrespective of their age, gender, religion, race, socio-economic status, (dis)abilities or sexual orientation.

If you’re looking to get a head start in education as a career, then call me today on 0300 303 4414, email or visit our ‘Contact’ page and send us a message. We will always try and support you in the best way we possibly can. Whether that be through training, a new job role or CPD!

Here at Moxi Recruitment, we’re always in your corner!