1. Mission statement
Our school’s mission statement does embrace 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.”
In relation to the Equality Act 2010, 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 race, gender, disability, faith or religion or socio-economic background. 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.
We have a general duty 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 persons who do not share it
• Foster good relations between persons who share relevant protected characteristics and persons 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
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.
2. 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)
Admissions and exclusions
Our admissions arrangements are fair and transparent, and do not discriminate on race, gender, disability or 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.
3. 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.
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.
4. Equality and the law
There are a number of statutory duties that must be met by every school in line with legislation from the Race Relations (Amendment) Act (2000), Disability Equality Duty (2005) and Equality Act (2006).
The action plan at the end of this Equality Plan outlines the actions Penketh High School will take to meet the general duties detailed below.
4a. Race Equality
This section of the plan reflects the general and specific duties of schools as detailed in The Race Relations Act 1976 and as amended by The Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000.
The General Race Equality Duty requires us to have due regard to the need to:
• Eliminate racial discrimination;
• Promote equality of opportunity;
• Promote good relations between people of different racial groups.
Under our specific duty we will:
• Prepare an Equality Plan which includes our written policy for race equality;
• Assess the impact of our policies, including this Plan, on pupils, staff and parents by ethnicity including, in particular, the achievement levels of these pupils;
• Monitor the impact our plans and policies have on such pupils, staff and parents towards ,raising the achievement of minority ethnic groups.
This section should be read in conjunction with the school’s Special Educational Needs Policy and Accessibility Strategy. The Disability Discrimination Act 2005 (DDA) defines a disabled person as someone who has ‘a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial or long-term adverse effect on his or her ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities’.
The DDA 2005 has also extended the definition of disability as follows:
• People with HIV, multiple sclerosis and cancer (although not all cancers) are deemed disabled before they experience the long-term and substantial adverse effect on their activities;
• Section 18 has been amended so that individuals with a mental illness no longer have to demonstrate that it is “clinically well-recognised”, although the person must still demonstrate a long-term and substantial adverse impact on his/her ability to carry out
normal day-to-day activities.
The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) 2005 placed a general duty on schools, requiring them to have due regard for the following when carrying out and delivering services:
• Promoting equality of opportunity between disabled people and other people;
• Eliminating discrimination and harassment of disabled people that is related to their disability;
• Promoting positive attitudes towards disabled people;
• Encouraging participation in public life by disabled people;
• Taking steps to meet disabled people’s needs, even if this requires more favourable treatment.
Under our specific duty we will:
• Prepare and publish an Equality Plan which covers the requirements for a Disability Equality Scheme identifying our disability equality goals and actions to meet them;
• Review and revise this Scheme every three years.
4c. Gender Equality
The Gender Equality Duty 2006 places a general and specific duty on schools to eliminate unlawful discrimination and harassment on the grounds of gender and to promote equality of opportunity between female and male pupils and between women and men and transgender people.
Under our general duty we will actively seek to:
• Eliminate unlawful discrimination and harassment on grounds of sex and gender reassignment;
• Promote equality between men and women.
Under our specific duty we will:
• Prepare and publish an Equality Plan which covers the requirements for a Gender Equality Scheme identifying our gender equality goals and actions to meet them;
• Review and revise this Scheme every three years.
4d. Sexual Orientation
The Equality Act 2006 made provision for regulations to be introduced to extend protection against discrimination on grounds of religion or belief to sexual orientation.
The Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007 came into force on 30 April 2007, and they make discrimination unlawful in the area of goods, facilities and services on grounds of sexual orientation. For schools this means admissions, benefits/services for pupils and treatment of pupils.
4e. Community cohesion
The Education and Inspections Act 2006 inserted a new section 21(5) to the Education Act 2002, introducing a duty on the governing bodies of state schools to promote community cohesion.
Community cohesion encompasses promoting good relations between pupils from different races, faiths / beliefs and socio-economic backgrounds. The duty came into force on 1 September 2007.
5. 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).
6. 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 race, gender and disability.
• The governing body seeks to ensure that people are not discriminated against when applying for jobs at our school on grounds of race, gender or disability.
• 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 socioeconomic background, race, gender or disability.
• The governing body ensures that no child is discriminated against whilst in our school on account of their race, sex or disability.
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 noone 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, gender and disability, 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 headteacher.
• Teachers support the work of ancillary or support staff and encourage them to intervene in a positive way against any discriminatory incidents.
7. Tackling discrimination
Harassment on account of race, gender, disability or sexual orientation 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 / headteacher where necessary. All incidents are reported to the headteacher 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 race, gender, disability, sexual orientation or other factors such as socioeconomic status, can take many forms including verbal or physical abuse, name calling, exclusion from groups and games, unwanted looks or comments, jokes and graffiti.
A racist incident is defined by the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry Report (1999) as:
‘any incident which is perceived to be racist by the victim or any other person’.
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.
Procedure for responding and reporting is outlined in the PDF document downloadable on the right of this page
8. 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.
Member of staff to investigate further (if incident reported) or challenge behaviour immediately
Response to victim and family Response to perpetrator and family
Incident recorded on SIMS
Summary of Incidents to be reported to Governing body and local authority on a termly basis.
Action taken to address issue with year group / school if necessary e.g. through form/ House/ assembly
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.
9. Publishing the plan
In order to meet the statutory requirements to publish a Disability Equality Scheme and Gender Equality Scheme, 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.