The British Council creates international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and builds trust between them worldwide. Our work involves developing relationships with people from a wide range of backgrounds and cultures. Working effectively with diversity and promoting equality of opportunity is therefore an essential part of our work.

There is no equality of opportunity if diversity is not recognised and valued. Find out about the difference between equal opportunity and diversity, and the seven areas we focus on.


Equality of opportunity is about treating people fairly and without bias and about creating conditions in the workplace and wider society that encourage and value diversity and promote dignity. It is also about trying to redress past imbalances and ensuring that dealings with clients, customers and suppliers are conducted in a constructive way that supports appropriate inclusion and does not give rise to unjustified discrimination.


Diversity is concerned with creating an inclusive environment and practices which benefit the organisation and those who work in and with it. It takes account of the fact that people differ from one another in many ways. Understanding, valuing and effectively managing these differences can result in greater participation that can be leveraged for success at an individual, team and organisational level.

When we talk about equal opportunity and diversity, we focus on seven main areas:

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Race/Ethnicity
  • Gender (which includes transgender)
  • Religion/Belief and culture
  • Sexual orientation
  • Work-life balance

We have developed a number of policies to promote equality and diversity and we use a range of tools to monitor and evaluate our progress in mainstreaming these. We believe the best way to manage equal opportunity and diversity is to ensure that they are built into all processes and functions, considered part of all policy decisions, and present in the planning of all programmes from start to finish. This is what we mean by mainstreaming equality and diversity principles and practices.

Exam Special Arrangements

The British Council ensures equal opportunities to all candidates, including people with special needs. 

Here are some examples of special arrangements that had taken place on previous exams:

• Braille question papers and enlarged question papers for candidates with visual difficulties

• Extra time for the written parts of the examination because of dyslexia, dysgraphia or dysorthographia

• Administrative adjustments (e.g. headphones, computer, etc.)

• Special needs CD for the Listening test

• A lip-reading version of the Listening test

These are several examples but we are always open for discussion of arrangements to make the test accessible to you. Remember to inform the examinations department about any special needs you might have three months before the test date and provide relevant medical reports to support your application, so that we have enough time to make necessary arrangements. 

Please note that for technical reasons special arrangements for computer-based exams are not on offer. Contact us to find out what arrangements can be provided for you during the exam.

Full information about our corporate policy on Equal Opportunities and Diversity is available  here