An award-winning inclusive and diverse community  

Our approach to Equality and Diversity is award winning – in 2017 the College was named as the UK Organisation of the Year in the National Centre for Diversity Grand Awards. We achieved ‘Leaders in Diversity Level 3’ in 2014 and again, for the second time, in 2016. Our outstanding approach to celebrating and enhancing the diversity of our community has seen us win a number awards, which you can read more about here.

Equality and Diversity is at the heart of our thriving, vibrant, and inclusive environment where young people are given the opportunity to explore and celebrate their own differences and those of others. Most importantly, each and every student feels part of the same community in which their own uniqueness is valued. 

Our awards reflect how we work hard to ensure that everyone in our college family is treated fairly, with respect and dignity. We actively seek to eliminate any form of inequality or discrimination on campus and in all aspects of our work. This also helps our young people to prepare for the diverse world they will experience when progressing to university or work.

Our approach focuses on ensuring that we help everyone understand the vital aspects of the

the protected characteristics as defined in the Equality Act 2010: age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion and belief, sex and sexual orientation. We are passionate about bringing the positives of diversity alive through opportunities to engage, celebrate and explore. We believe that this can be fun and exciting, and delivered in a way that is enjoyable for all.

The College’s commitment to equality and diversity is set out in our Equal Opportunities Policy and associated action plans. Our staff, students and governors are all central to achieving our equality and diversity aims and ensuring our college is a pleasant, supportive and safe environment in which to study and work.

Our award-winning approach means that each and every student, regardless of background, can thrive – our team of Student and Staff Diversity Champions take responsibility for embedding the ethos of the College, and celebrating our approach at every opportunity.


Meet the Diversity Champions!

Higher row (left to right); Our College Receptionist Angela, Matt Burton, Gary Eastwood, Drew Norbury, Zoe Shackleton

Lower row (left to right); Alicia Holdsworth, Erika Montgomery, Jess Law, Emma Fisher, Anna Fletcher


Our focus is very much on bringing Equality and Diversity to life in order to help our young people become informed, well-rounded young adults. This can range from discussing with a student the impact of using a particular term on an informal basis to large scale events. We passionately believe that by helping students to understand the vital importance of this topic through engaging activities and opportunities to get involved, they will develop a deeper understanding of why Equality and Diversity are so important.

Each year, our programme of work changes in response to feedback. Previous activities have included anti-bullying focus weeks, International Women’s Day celebrations, charitable events and a ‘tree of kindness.’ In 2017/18, alongside two high profile ‘Diversity Weeks’, we will offer a continued programme of advice, support and information.

You can gain a flavour of our work here. Our guide for students also gives a useful insight into how we communicate with students about this topic.

Our news section features many of our events, please visit this for an insight into how we bring Equality and Diversity alive for students.


Our award-winning approach to Equality and Diversity is led by a team of staff who are all passionate about helping students to celebrate and value individual differences. Our Diversity Champions all volunteer their time and expertise in a variety of ways. The team also champion Equality and Diversity throughout the College, encouraging students to ask questions and share ideas and feedback.

Here we provide a brief introduction to the team and an insight into why they are so passionate about ensuring we are an inclusive environment.

Zoe Shackleton, Assistant Principal, People and Place

“Equality and Diversity naturally links closely to my role in HR. However, it is far more than a set of legal obligations. I am passionate about helping young people to understand that the uniqueness of people is something that enhances their own personal and professional lives. By bringing alive the principles of Equality and Diversity through real people and enjoyable events, as well as by making our campus welcoming and accessible to all, we can educate everyone on this important topic, develop well-rounded and responsible young adults, and continue to enhance the College’s reputation as a place where everyone is welcomed and valued.”

Additional biographies for our 2017-18 team are under development, please revisit this section soon!

Our new Student Equality and Diversity Champions have recently been recruited; please revisit this section soon for an insight into why they joined the team!

Below you can find a selection of feedback and quotes reflecting the impact of our work in this important area. 

“The end result of the work the College does is ultimately felt in the welcoming atmosphere when you arrive. It doesn’t matter who you are, all that matters is that you want to do well. I struggled to fit in at school, but here students are helped to really see that differences do not matter, and I made friends with people that in high school I would never have thought about even talking to.” – Student 2017

"Equality of opportunity is central to the College’s mission.  Learners are valued for who they are and this in turn results in a respectful and harmonious learner community, in which all members accept each other’s differences."

- Ofsted

“I enjoy working here – I have a good manager”

“We respect management which is a big bonus”

“I care about the College and students and want to be part of the structure”

“No other place like it here”

“We are asked in appraisals about how we meet the values”

- Staff feedback

“I am very impressed at the work that has been done at HNC to embed EDI into all aspects of College life and this cascades from governors and leaders to all staff and students.  Congratulations to HNC in achieving Leaders in Diversity for the second time. It is an award that is truly deserved because of the exemplary practice and commitment to EDI that I have observed, which ensures there is an inclusive culture within College. HNC does live the values!”

- Jo Barton, Leaders in Diversity Assessor 

Find out more

Find out more about Equality and Diversity, including our policies and procedures, here.