In April 2011, the Public Sector Equality Duty came into force in England, Scotland and Wales. This duty replaces the existing race, disability and gender equality duties. All public bodies must publish a set of equality objectives by 6th April 2012.
The Equality Act specifies that Schools and other public bodies must:
- Encourage good relations and ensure everyone has equality of opportunity.
- Eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation.
- Help make sure everyone has an equal chance to make the most of their lives and talents.
A commitment to equality, diversity and community cohesion is a shared commitment to educational excellence and equality for all sections of our school community. It helps us to focus attention on improving planning, decision making, resource allocation and the monitoring and evaluation of our achievements.
Under the provisions of the Equality Act 2010 it is unlawful for a school to discriminate against a student or prospective student by treating them less favourably because of their:
- religion or belief
- sexual orientation
- gender reassignment
- pregnancy or maternity
These are known as the “Protected Characteristics”. The Act defines 4 kinds of unlawful behaviour – direct discrimination, indirect discrimination, harassment and victimisation. Beyond this we also consider both socio-economic and age related factors within our commitment to equality.
At Ridgeway High School, we are committed to building a cohesive school community in which we:
- Tackle all types of discrimination;
- Celebrate the diversity of our school and the wider world through our commitment to the International Schools Award framework and our extensive charity work;
- Promote equality of opportunity and outcome;
- Build good relationships between people of different ethnic groups;
- Meet our statutory duties under the Equality Act 2010.
STATEMENTS OF INTENT
- Commitment and Engagement
We respect and value all individuals for their own abilities, beliefs, challenges, attitudes, background and experiences, and seek to actively engage all members of our school and local community in promoting equality, diversity and community cohesion.
We create an ethos which promotes and reflects equality, celebrates diversity, develops understanding and challenges myths, stereotypes and prejudices. Our ethos is underpinned by our Core Values which are specifically stated in our Parental Handbook and on our school website.
We provide experiences which broaden students’ horizons in terms of culture, religion and social background, and ensure equality of access to high quality teaching and learning, an inclusive curriculum and wider opportunities for learning and personal development. Our curriculum extends to wider activities that provide scope for enrichment; these include residential visits and various visits to other countries.
- Addressing discrimination and harassment
We identify and remove all practices and customs which are discriminatory and record, report and challenge all incidents of prejudice-based bullying and harassment.
- Achievement and progress
We have high expectations of everyone involved with the school, monitor, evaluate and review outcomes for different learner groups and provide appropriate support and intervention to ensure that all students reach their full potential.
- Professional development
We ensure that all staff are able to recognise and challenge discriminatory behaviour and promote equality and diversity through their teaching and relationships with students and that Governors understand their statutory duties.
- Commitment and engagement
- All senior staff are expected to lead on the implementation of equality objectives in their respective areas, e.g. Achievement, Student Welfare, Teaching, and Staff Professional Development.
- We will publish details of our equalities policy, including our “equality objectives”, on a dedicated page on our school website (in line with the Equality Act 2010 Specific Duty).
- We will reinforce our commitment to equality of opportunity through our publicity materials, including the school website.
- We will encourage everyone in the school community to have a positive self-image and high self-esteem so that they may develop their potential.
- We will model relationships which promote mutual respect and value similarities and differences, and face equality issues openly.
- We will ensure that issues of equality, diversity and respect for human rights are promoted through all aspects of school life, including in school assemblies.
- We will use our focus on school charity work that is led by our students to promote equality issues.
- We will ensure that our curriculum promotes our equality principles so that they form an integral part of what we do.
- We will use our commitment to the International School Award Programme and Duke of Edinburgh Scheme, to embed issues of equality and fairness.
- We will provide opportunities for students to meet people from other cultural, religious and social backgrounds, through taking part in trips and visits, meeting visitors to our school and participating in collaborative partnership projects. Current examples of this include our partnerships with schools in Africa.
- We will monitor participation by groups in extra-curricular activities, trips and visits, through our on-line system for organising school visits (EVOLVE).
- Addressing discrimination and harassment
- We will record and report all incidents which are discriminatory.
- We will adopt a robust response to all forms of bullying and harassment, in accordance with our “Anti-bullying Policy” and in doing so, we will engage our students through the lead that they take on the school’s student leadership team.
- We will monitor exclusion rates and the use of other sanctions by ethnicity, Free School Meals (FSM), Pupil Premium (PP), Looked After Children (LAC) and Special Educational Needs (SEN).
- We will monitor recruitment of staff and ensure that all job advertisements include an equal opportunities statement.
- Achievement and Progress
- We will monitor data on progress, behaviour and attendance by different learner groups at least once per term, including by ethnicity, gender, FSM, LAC and SEN.
- Senior Leadership, Heads of House and Subject Leaders will monitor and evaluate the attainment and progress of different learner groups, including by ethnicity, FSM, PP, LAC and SEN.
- Tailored support and intervention strategies will be implemented to tackle the causes of under-achievement of individual students.
- Professional Development
- We will ensure that all appropriate staff continue to receive training and updates on Equality, Diversity and Community Cohesion.
- We will ensure that all staff will receive training which will enable them to meet their responsibilities, as described above.
- We will ensure that all staff training is reported on termly to the appropriate Governing Body Committee.
- We will ensure that designated funding for staff training and development is identified within the annual school’s budget setting.
- School Buildings
- We will ensure that all students have physical access to education and associated services within the school environment, with disabled access being appropriate for the needs of its users.
- We will endeavour to ensure that all staff have access to all areas of the school environment.
- We will ensure that all reasonable adjustments/improvements in terms of all students/staff having access to the curriculum are carried out, including auxiliary aids and services.
MONITORING AND REVIEW
The impact of this policy will be measured through:
- Attainment and progress of students.
- Monitoring sanctions and rewards.
- Incidents of bullying and harassment.
- Participation rates in trips, visits and extra-curricular activities.
- Parent and carer involvement.
- Surveys, including parents’ surveys undertaken at each parents’ evening and our student surveys.
Governors will be able to monitor the impact of this policy through one-to-one link meetings with senior staff, particularly in the area of Student Well-Being, Student Safety and Student Achievement.