At Hawkhurst Church of England Primary School, we are committed to ensuring equality of education and opportunity for all pupils, staff, parents and carers, irrespective of race, gender, disability, faith 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 will ensure that all members of the school community will have the opportunity to improve their own understanding of race equality and understand their personal responsibility to promote race equality.
The achievement of all pupils will be monitored and Hawkhurst Church of England Primary School will use this data to support pupils, raise standards and ensure inclusive teaching. We will tackle discrimination by the positive promotion of equality, challenging bullying and stereotypes and creating an environment which champions respect for all. At Hawkhurst Church of England Primary School we believe that diversity is a strength, which should be respected and celebrated by all those who learn, teach and visit here.
Equality Act Statement
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.
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.
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:
Hawkhurst Church of England Primary School provides a broad and balanced curriculum for all pupils. The school accepts the three principles in the statutory inclusion statement for the National Curriculum:
We recognise that citizenship presents opportunities for encouraging respect for diversity. Our Senior Leadership Team (SLT) and curriculum co-ordinators are responsible for ensuring their subject programmes/schemes of work raise awareness of multi-cultural issues and, where appropriate, challenge any stereotypical views of different racial groups or nomadic communities. Teachers will seek opportunities to introduce activities that demonstrate the value of other cultures and encourage our children to discuss race equality. Resources bought by the schools and used to teach the various subjects, and provide the children with a range of images and messages about diversity e.g. posters, books, computer software, will promote equal opportunities and be free of prejudicial or stereotypical messages. Resources will be reviewed from time to time to ensure they are appropriate. Staff will be mindful that this may not be the case where children, parents or other well-intentioned sources have loaned resources to the school. Loaned material found to contain prejudicial, discriminatory or stereotypical messages will be used with discretion, not used at all, or used within the context of opportunities to discuss issues of equality and diversity. Staff will be mindful of children with specific physical needs, such as partial sight or hearing, or those with restricted mobility, when considering classroom organisation, lesson planning and practice. Staff will ensure both boys and girls have equal access to all aspects of the different curriculum subjects to ensure they are not seen as appropriate for only boys or girls, but for all children. This is especially important in those subjects that have historically been orientated to one gender. In class discussions, all pupils should be given the opportunity to contribute and staff should not allow the more lively and/or knowledgeable children, irrespective of gender, to monopolise the discussion. Indeed, it may be necessary for staff to deliberately ask reluctant individuals to contribute not only for equal opportunity reasons but to enable the staff member to evaluate the child’s understanding or to facilitate the child’s learning and personal development.
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.
Equal Opportunities for Staff
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. Staff appointments will be based on the applicant most able to demonstrate they best match the Person Specification and their ability to undertake the Job Description. Irrelevant characteristics such as gender, race, religion, etc. will not form part of the selection process.
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 not 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:
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 Hawkhurst Church of England Primary School will take to meet the general duties detailed below.
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:
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:
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:
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:
There are no specific duties or requirements on schools in relation to gender reassignment, beyond the requirement not to discriminate in terms of employment of staff.
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 and services for pupils and treatment of pupils.
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.
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 have achieved this by using the following to shape the plan:
Roles and Responsibilities
It is the responsibility of all members of the school community to:
The Role of the Head Teacher
The Role of all Staff both Teaching and Non-Teaching
The Role of Pupils
The Role of Visitors and Contractors
All Visitors and Contractors are reminded of their obligations to refrain from engaging in discriminatory language or behaviour. Non-compliance on more than two occasions will result in visitors no-longer being welcome and their offer of help terminated. Contractors will have their services terminated and be reported to the local authority if applicable for relevant sanctions to be imposed.
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 / Head Teacher where necessary. All incidents are reported to the Head Teacher and racist incidents are also reported to the governing body and local authority.
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.
We endorse the recommendations of the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry Report (1999). We accept their definition of racism and institutional racism.
Racism – “Conduct or words that either advantages or disadvantages people on the basis of their colour, culture or ethnic origin.” Institutional racism – “The collective failure of an organisation to provide an appropriate and professional service to people on the basis of their colour, culture, or ethnic origin. It can be seen or detected in processes, attitudes and behaviour which amount to discrimination through unwitting prejudice, ignorance, thoughtlessness and racist stereotyping which disadvantage minority ethnic people.”
Types of Discriminatory Incident
Types of discriminatory incidents that can occur are:
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 below: