School of Education receives Silver Athena Swan award for work progressing gender equality 

School of Education receives Silver Athena Swan award for work progressing gender equality 

An update on the School of Education's Silver Athena Swan award

The School of Education has received an Athena Swan Silver award for its work progressing gender equality.  

Advance HE’s Athena Swan Charter recognises commitment to the advancement of gender equality in academic, professional and support roles, through departments and institutions taking action to identify and overcome barriers to career progression for all. 

The School’s successful application was led by Mhairi Freeman Academic Lead for Athena Swan within the School and Catherine Simpson, Co-lead (Professional Services). Diverse self-assessment teams and the wider school staff have contributed to the process of enacting and evaluating the Bronze Action plan since 2017.  

The Athena Swan Bronze Award recognises that an institution or department has an evidence-based action plan and robust governance process in place to progress gender equality. The Silver Award recognises achievements and demonstration of progress and success in implementation of the action plan, evidenced through both quantitative and qualitative data. 

Mhairi Freeman said: “We are delighted to be awarded a Silver Athena Swan Award. It reflects a lasting commitment across our School community to improving and developing our inclusive culture. We are excited to continue this work and strive to make further improvements for colleagues and students." 

Head of School, Catriona MacDonald added: “I am pleased that our application for Athena Swan Silver has been successful and proud that we embed EDI principles within the School through our recruitment processes, supporting women into leadership through training, career development and networking opportunities, improving progression opportunities for UG and PG students, proactively promoting wellbeing and ensuring that all staff are able to access and participate fully in the life of the School. The award is valid until 2028.

"We have an ambitious Athena Swan action plan to build upon the work to date over the next five years. Key areas of focus will be equitable participation in and recognition of EDI work, supporting career development for Professional Services staff, improving gender and racial representation within our UG programmes, making workload planning and School decision-making more transparent.” 

Education is the third School at the University to hold an Athena Swan Silver award, the first being the School of Psychology in 2020.