On 1 October 2010, the Equality Act 2010 replaced all existing equality legislation such as the Race Relations Act, Disability Discrimination Act and Sex Discrimination Act. The Equality Act 2010 introduced the single Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) which extends to certain protected characteristics – race, disability, sex, age, religion or belief, sexual orientation, pregnancy and maternity, and gender reassignment. This combined equality duty came into effect in April 2011.
Penketh High School is committed to ensuring equality of education and opportunity for all pupils, staff, parents and carers receiving services from the school, irrespective of sex, race, disability, religion or belief, sexual orientation, pregnancy / those who have recently given birth and gender / those undergoing gender reassignment. We aim to develop a culture of inclusion and diversity in which all those connected to the school feel proud of their identity and able to participate fully in school life.
Our school aims to meet its obligations under the public sector equality duty by having due regard to the need to:
• Eliminate discrimination, harassment, victimisation and any other conduct prohibited by or under this Act.
• Advance equality of opportunity between persons who share relevant protected characteristics and people who do not share it
• Foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and people who do not share it
In order to fulfil these 3 aims we have two sets of specific duties:
• To publish information which demonstrates their compliance with the duty and to have due regard for the three aims of the general duty
• To prepare and publish specific and measurable objectives which we will pursue over the coming years to achieve those aims
Penketh High School will give relevant and proportionate consideration to their PSED duty:
• Decision makers in schools will be aware of the duty to have “due regard” when making a decision or taking an action and must assess whether it may have particular implications for people with particular protected characteristics.
• School should consider equality implications before and at the time that we develop policy and take decisions, not as an afterthought, and we need to keep them under review on a continuing basis.
• The PSED will be integrated into the carrying out of the school’s functions, and the analysis necessary to comply with the duty has to be carried out seriously, rigorously and with an open mind – it is not just a question of ticking boxes or following a particular process.
• We will not can’t delegate responsibility for carrying out the duty to anyone else.
At Penketh High School, we believe that diversity is a strength, which should be respected and celebrated by all those who learn, teach and visit here, and our school’s mission statement embraces the spirit of equality in stating:
“Our school will offer an open and collaborative culture built on a willingness to listen and involve all our stakeholders and a desire to develop dynamic partnerships that create and enhance opportunities for our young people.”
2. Equality and the Law – Legislation and guidance
This document meets the requirements under the following legislation:
The Equality Act 2010, which introduced the public sector equality duty and protects people from discrimination
The Equality Act 2010 (Specific Duties) Regulations 2011, which require schools to publish information to demonstrate how they are complying with the public sector equality duty and to publish equality objectives
This document is also based on Department for Education (DfE) guidance: The Equality Act 2010 and Schools.
3. Protected Characteristics
The school is aware of its obligations under the Equality Act 2010 and complies with non-discrimination provisions set out by the act. The Act prohibits discrimination against people with the “protected characteristics” that are specified in section 4 of the Act, which references the personal characteristics to which the law applies. Penketh High School will not discriminate against a pupil or prospective pupil by treating them less favourably because of their:
• religion or belief
• sexual orientation
• gender reassignment
• pregnancy or maternity
The Act defines four kinds of unlawful behaviour – direct discrimination; indirect discrimination; harassment and victimisation and makes it unlawful for the responsible body of a school to discriminate against, harass or victimise a pupil or potential pupil:
• in relation to admissions,
• in the way it provides education for pupils,
• in the way it provides pupils access to any benefit, facility or service, or
• by excluding a pupil or subjecting them to any other detriment.
The action plan at the end of this Equality Plan outlines the actions Penketh High School will take to meet the general duties in the PSED.
4. Mainstreaming Equality into Policy and Practice
As well as the specific actions set out beneath this plan, the school operates equality of opportunity in its day to day practice in the following ways.
Teaching and Learning
We aim to provide all our pupils with the opportunity to succeed, and to reach the highest level of personal achievement. To do this, we will:
• Ensure all staff are aware of the school’s Single Equality Plan
• Monitor pupil achievement by race, gender and disability and any trends or patterns in the data that may require additional action to narrow the gap are addressed;
• Take account of the achievement of all pupils when planning for future learning and setting challenging targets;
• Ensure equality of access for all pupils and prepare them for life in a diverse society;
• Use materials that reflect the diversity of the school, population and local community in terms of race, gender and disability, without stereotyping;
• Promote attitudes and values that will challenge racist and other discriminatory behaviour or prejudice;
• Provide opportunities for pupils to appreciate their own culture and celebrate the diversity of other cultures;
• Seek to involve all parents in supporting their child’s education;
• Encourage classroom and staffroom discussion of equality issues which reflect on social stereotypes, expectations and the impact on learning;
• Include teaching and classroom-based approaches appropriate for the whole school population, which are inclusive and reflective of our pupils.
• Provide, where possible, extra and additional support for pupils who are under-achieving, in order to make progress in their learning and their personal well-being, e.g. ensuring that children with visual impairment have accessible texts
• Provide additional support for parents of underachieving children ( e.g. reporting progress, discussing needs)
5. Admissions and Exclusions
Our admissions arrangements are fair and transparent, and do not discriminate on any level, including socio-economic factors.
Exclusions will always be based on the school’s Behaviour Policy. We will closely monitor exclusions to avoid any potential adverse impact and ensure any discrepancies are identified and dealt with.
6. Equal Opportunities for Staff
This section deals with aspects of equal opportunities relating to staff at Penketh High School
We are committed to the implementation of equal opportunities principles and the monitoring and active promotion of equality in all aspects of staffing and employment.
All staff appointments and promotions are made on the basis of merit and ability and in compliance with the law. However we are concerned to ensure wherever possible that the staffing of the school reflects the diversity of our community.
7. Employer Duties
As an employer we need to ensure that we eliminate discrimination and harassment in our employment practice and actively promote equality across all groups within our workforce. Equality aspects such as gender, race, disability, sexual orientation, gender re-assignment and faith or religion are considered when appointing staff and particularly when allocating Teaching and Learning Responsibilities (TLR) or re-evaluating staff structures, to ensure decisions are free of discrimination.
Actions to ensure this commitment is met include:
• Monitoring recruitment and retention including bullying and harassment of staff;
• Continued professional development opportunities for all staff;
• Senior Leadership Team support to ensure equality of opportunity for all.
8. Consultation and Involvement
It is a requirement that the development of this plan and the actions within it have been informed by the input of staff, pupils and parents and carers. We will achieve this by using the following to shape the plan:
• Monitor feedback from parents, through parents’ evenings, parental surveys
• Monitor staff views through surveys, staff meetings or INSET;
• Feedback from the school council, LfL lessons, whole school surveys on children’s attitudes to self and school (PASS); pupil activity participation data
• Issues raised in annual reviews or reviews of progress on Individual Education Plans/Personalised Provision Maps, mentoring and support;
• Feedback at Governing Body meetings (Climate for Learning and Safeguarding Committee).
9. Roles and Responsibilities
The role of governors
• The governing body has set out its commitment to equal opportunities in this plan and it will continue to do all it can to ensure that the school is fully inclusive to pupils, and responsive to their needs based on any protected characteristic.
• The governing body seeks to ensure that people are not discriminated against when applying for jobs at our school on grounds of any protected characteristic.
• The governors take all reasonable steps to ensure that the school environment gives access to people with disabilities, and also strive to make school communications as inclusive as possible for parents, carers and pupils.
• The governors welcome all applications to join the school, whatever a child’s socio-economic background, race, gender or disability or any other protected characteristic.
• The governing body ensures that no child is discriminated against whilst in our school on account of their race, disability, sex, age, religion or belief, sexual orientation, pregnancy and maternity, or gender reassignment.
The role of the Principal
• It is the Principal’s role to implement the school’s Equality Plan and s/he is supported by the governing body in doing so.
• It is the Principal’s role to ensure that all staff are aware of the Equality Plan, and that teachers apply these guidelines fairly in all situations.
• The Principal ensures that all appointments panels give due regard to this plan, so that no-one is discriminated against when it comes to employment or training opportunities.
• The Principal promotes the principle of equal opportunity when developing the curriculum, and promotes respect for other people and equal opportunities to participate in all aspects of school life.
• The Principal treats all incidents of unfair treatment and any incidents of bullying or discrimination, including racist incidents, with due seriousness.
The role of all staff: teaching and non-teaching
• All staff will ensure that all pupils are treated fairly, equally and with respect, and will maintain awareness of the school’s Equality Plan.
• All staff will strive to provide material that gives positive images based on race, disability, sex, age, religion or belief, sexual orientation, pregnancy and gender, and challenges stereotypical images.
• All staff will challenge any incidents of prejudice, racism or homophobia, and record any serious incidents, drawing them to the attention of the Principal.
• Teachers support the work of ancillary or support staff and encourage them to intervene in a positive way against any discriminatory incidents.
10. Tackling Discrimination
Harassment on account of race, disability, sex, age, religion or belief, sexual orientation, pregnancy, or gender is unacceptable and is not tolerated within the school environment.
All staff are expected to deal with any discriminatory incidents that may occur. They are expected to know how to identify and challenge prejudice and stereotyping; and to support the full range of diverse needs according to a pupil’s individual circumstances.
Racist and homophobic incidents and other incidents of harassment or bullying are dealt with by the member of staff present, escalating to a class teacher / Principal where necessary. All incidents are reported to the Principal and racist incidents are reported to the governing body and local authority on a termly basis.
What is a discriminatory incident?
Harassment on grounds of sex, race, gender, disability, sexual orientation or other factors such as socio-economic status, can take many forms including verbal or physical abuse, name calling, exclusion from groups and games, unwanted looks or comments, jokes and graffiti.
Types of discriminatory incident
Types of discriminatory incidents that can occur are:
• Physical assault against a person or group because of their colour, ethnicity, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or gender;
• Use of derogatory names, insults and jokes;
• Racist, sexist, homophobic or discriminatory graffiti;
• Provocative behaviour such as wearing racist, sexist, homophobic or discriminatory badges or insignia;
• Bringing discriminatory material into school;
• Verbal abuse and threats;
• Incitement of others to discriminate or bully due to victim’s race, disability, gender or sexual orientation;
• Discriminatory comments in the course of discussion;
• Attempts to recruit others to discriminatory organisations and groups;
• Ridicule of an individual for difference e.g. food, music, religion, dress etc;
• Refusal to co-operate with other people on grounds of race, gender, disability or sexual orientation.
Responding to and reporting incidents
It should be clear to pupils and staff how they report incidents. All staff, teaching and non-teaching, should view dealing with incidents as vital to the well-being of the whole school. This is detailed further by downloading the PDF to the right of this page.
11. Review of Progress and Impact
The Plan has been agreed by our Governing Body. We have a rolling programme for reviewing our school policies and their impact. In line with legislative requirements, we will review progress against our Equality Plan annually and review the entire plan and accompanying action plan on a three year cycle.
We make regular assessments of pupils’ learning and use this information to track pupil progress. As part of this process, we regularly monitor achievement by ethnicity, gender and disability, to ensure that all groups of pupils are making the best possible progress, and take appropriate action to address any gaps.
12. Publishing the Plan
In order to meet the statutory requirements to publish a Single Equality Plan we will:
• Publish our plan on the school website;
• Raise awareness of the plan through the school newsletter, assemblies, staff meetings and other communications;
• Make sure hard copies are available on request.