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Equal Opportunities & Plan

DRAFT Mirfield Free Grammar & Sixth Form Equality policy statement

Introductory notes

Since the Equality Act 2010 came into effect in April 2011 there has no longer been a requirement that schools should draw up and publish equality schemes or policies. It is still good practice, however, for a school to make a statement about the principles according to which it reviews the impact on equalities of its policies and practices, and according to which it gathers and publishes information, and decides on specific objectives.

Download Equality Act 2010.

There is fuller information about the background in notes at the end.

Legal framework

We welcome our duties under the Equality Act 2010 to eliminate discrimination, advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations in relation to age (as appropriate), disability, ethnicity, gender (including issues of transgender, and of maternity and pregnancy), religion and belief, and sexual identity.
We welcome our duty under the Education and Inspections Act 2006 to promote community cohesion.
We recognise that these duties reflect international human rights standards as expressed in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, and the Human Rights Act 1998.

Guiding principles

In fulfilling the legal obligations cited above, we are guided by nine principles:

Principle 1: All learners are of equal value.

We see all learners and potential learners, and their parents and carers, as of equal value: -
• whether or not they are disabled
• whatever their ethnicity, culture, national origin or national status whatever their gender and gender identity
• whatever their religious or non-religious affiliation or faith background
• whatever their sexual identity.

Principle 2: We recognise and respect difference.

Treating people equally (Principle 1 above) does not necessarily involve treating them all the same. Our policies, procedures and activities must not discriminate but must nevertheless take account of differences of life-experience, outlook and background, and in the kinds of barrier and disadvantage which people may face, in relation to:
• disability, so that reasonable adjustments are made
• ethnicity, so that different cultural backgrounds and experiences of prejudice are recognised
• gender, so that the different needs and experiences of girls and boys, and women and men, are recognised
• religion, belief or faith background
• sexual identity.

Principle 3: We foster positive attitudes and relationships, and a shared sense of cohesion and belonging.

We intend that our policies, procedures and activities should promote:
• positive attitudes towards disabled people, good relations between disabled and non-disabled people, and an absence of harassment of disabled people
• positive interaction, good relations and dialogue between groups and communities different from each other in terms of ethnicity, culture, religious affiliation, national origin or national status, and an absence of prejudice-related bullying and incidents
• mutual respect and good relations between boys and girls, and women and men, and an absence of sexual and homophobic harassment.

Principle 4: We observe good equalities practice in staff recruitment, retention and development

We ensure that policies and procedures should benefit all employees and potential employees, for example in recruitment and promotion, and in continuing professional development:
• whether or not they are disabled
• whatever their ethnicity, culture, religious affiliation, national origin or national status
• whatever their gender and sexual identity, and with full respect for legal rights relating to pregnancy and maternity.

Principle 5: We aim to reduce and remove inequalities and barriers that already exist.

In addition to avoiding or minimising possible negative impacts of our policies, we take opportunities to maximise positive impacts by reducing and removing inequalities and barriers that may already exist between:
• disabled and non-disabled people
• people of different ethnic, cultural and religious backgrounds
• girls and boys, women and men.

Principle 6: We consult and involve widely

We engage with a range of groups and individuals to ensure that those who are affected by a policy or activity are consulted and involved in the design of new policies, and in the review of existing ones. We consult and involve:
• disabled people as well as non-disabled
• people from a range of ethnic, cultural and religious backgrounds
• both women and men, and girls and boys.
• people of any sexual orientation.

Principle 7: Society as a whole should benefit

We intend that our policies and activities should benefit society as a whole, both locally and nationally, by fostering greater social cohesion, and greater participation in public life of:
• disabled people as well as non-disabled
• people of a wide range of ethnic, cultural and religious backgrounds
• both women and men, girls and boys
• gay people as well as straight.

Principle 8: We base our practices on sound evidence.

We maintain and publish quantitative and qualitative information showing our compliance with the public sector equality duty (PSED) set out in clause 149 of the Equality Act 2010.

Principle 9: Objectives

We formulate and publish specific and measurable objectives, based on the evidence we have collected and published (principle 8 ) and the engagement in which we have been involved (principle 7). The objectives which we identify take into account national and local priorities and issues, as appropriate. We keep our equality objectives under review and report annually on progress towards achieving them.

The curriculum

We keep each curriculum subject or area under review in order to ensure that teaching and learning reflect the principles set out in paragraph 4 above.

Ethos and organisation

We ensure the principles listed in paragraph 4 above apply to the full range of our policies and practices, including those that are concerned with:

• pupils’ progress, attainment and achievement
• pupils’ personal development, welfare and well-being
• teaching styles and strategies
• admissions and attendance
• staff recruitment, retention and professional development
• care, guidance and support
• behaviour, discipline and exclusions
• working in partnership with parents, carers and guardians
• working with the wider community.

Addressing prejudice and prejudice-related bullying

The school is opposed to all forms of prejudice which stand in the way of fulfilling the legal duties:

• prejudices around disability and special educational needs
• prejudices around racism and xenophobia, including those that are directed towards religious groups and communities, for example antisemitism and Islamophobia, and those that are directed against Travellers, migrants, refugees and people seeking asylum
• prejudices reflecting sexism and homophobia.

There is guidance in the staff handbook on how prejudice-related incidents should be identified, assessed, recorded and dealt with. We keep a record of prejudice-related incidents and, if requested, provide a report to the local authority about the numbers, types and seriousness of
prejudice-related incidents at our school and how they are dealt with.

Roles and responsibilities

The governing body is responsible for ensuring that the school complies with legislation, and that this policy and its related procedures and action plans are implemented.
A member of the governing body has a watching brief regarding the implementation of this policy.
The Principal is responsible for implementing the policy; for ensuring that all staff are aware of their responsibilities and are given appropriate training and support; and for taking appropriate action in any cases of unlawful discrimination.
A senior member of staff has day-to-day responsibility for coordinating implementation of the policy.

All staff are expected to:

• promote an inclusive and collaborative ethos in their classroom
• deal with any prejudice-related incidents that may occur
• plan and deliver curricula and lessons that reflect the principles in
• paragraph 4 above
• support pupils in their class for whom English is an additional language
• keep up-to-date with equalities legislation relevant to their work.

Information and resources

We ensure that the content of this policy is known to all staff and governors and, as appropriate, to all pupils and their parents and carers.
All staff and governors have access to a selection of resources which discuss and explain concepts of equality, diversity and community cohesion in appropriate detail.

Religious observance

We respect the religious beliefs and practice of all staff, pupils and parents, and comply with reasonable requests relating to religious observance and practice.

Staff development and training

We ensure that all staff, including support and administrative staff, receive appropriate training and opportunities for professional development, both as individuals and as groups or teams.

Breaches of the policy

Breaches of this policy will be dealt with in the same ways that breaches of other school policies are dealt with, as determined by the Principal and governing body.

Monitoring and review

We collect, study and use quantitative and qualitative data relating to the implementation of this policy, and make adjustments as appropriate.
In particular we collect, analyse and use data in relation to achievement, broken down as appropriate according to disabilities and special educational needs; ethnicity, culture, language, religious affiliation, national origin and national status; and gender.

Date approved by the Governing Body:

Background and acknowledgements

1. In its overall framework this model policy on all equalities in education is based on the race equality policy that Derbyshire developed in response to the Race Relations Act 2000, and that was included in Here, There and Everywhere: belonging, identity and equality in schools published by Trentham Books in 2004.
2. The model statement takes into account guidance issued by several other local authorities, including Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Dudley, Durham, Hertfordshire, Newcastle, Sheffield and Somerset.
3. The list of principles at paragraph 4 is adapted slightly from material in Equality Impact Analysis: a workbook, the most recent version of which was published by the Department for Education in February 2011.
4. The phrasing at certain points reflects the specific duties required by the Equality Act 2010 to publish information (principle eight) and to formulate and publish objectives (principle 9).
5. 1. We acknowledge the support of Brighouse High School in the development of this policy

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