Carbeile Junior School is a local authority maintained school, and as a public body, we must therefore comply with the public sector equality duty in the Equality Act 2010 and the Equality Act 2010. 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. It has consolidated this legislation and also provides some changes that schools need to be aware of.
The Equality Act 2010 requires us to publish information that demonstrates that we have due regard for the need to:
- Eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment, victimisation and any other conduct prohibited by the Equality Act 2010
- Advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and people who do not share it
- Foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and people who do not share it.
Carbeile Junior School is an inclusive school where we focus on the well-being and progress of every child and where all members of our community are of equal worth.
We believe that the Equality Act provides a framework to support our commitment to valuing diversity, tackling discrimination, promoting equality and fostering good relationships between people. It also ensures that we continue to tackle issues of disadvantage and underachievement of different groups.
The Act 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.
It is unlawful for a school to discriminate against a pupil or prospective pupil by treating them less favourably because of their:
religion or belief
pregnancy or maternity
It is unlawful to discriminate because of the sex, race, disability, religion or belief, sexual orientation or gender reassignment of another person with whom the pupil is associated. So, for example, a school must not discriminate by refusing to admit a pupil because his parents are gay men or lesbians. It would be race discrimination to treat a white pupil less favourably because she has a black boyfriend.
The Act defines four kinds of unlawful behaviour – direct discrimination; indirect discrimination; harassment and victimisation.
Direct discrimination occurs when one person treats another less favourably, because of a protected characteristic, than they treat – or would treat – other people. This describes the most clear-cut and obvious examples of discrimination – for example if a school were to refuse to let a pupil be a prefect because she is a lesbian.
Indirect discrimination occurs when a “provision, criterion or practice” is applied generally but has the effect of putting people with a particular characteristic at a disadvantage when compared to people without that characteristic. An example might be holding a parents’ meeting on a Friday evening, which could make it difficult for observant Jewish parents to attend. It is a defence against a claim of indirect discrimination if it can be shown to be “a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim”. This means both that the reason for the rule or practice is legitimate, and that it could not reasonably be achieved in a different way which did not discriminate.
Harassment has a specific legal definition in the Act – it is “unwanted conduct, related to a relevant protected characteristic, which has the purpose or effect of violating a person’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that person”. This covers unpleasant and bullying behaviour, but potentially extends also to actions which, whether intentionally or unintentionally, cause offence to a person because of a protected characteristic. Where schools are concerned, the offence of harassment as defined in this way in the Act applies only to harassment because of disability, race, sex or pregnancy and maternity, and not to religion or belief, sexual orientation or gender reassignment. It is very important to recognise that this does not mean that schools are free to bully or
harass pupils on these other grounds – to do so would still be unlawful as well as unacceptable. Any case against the school would be on grounds of direct discrimination rather than harassment.
Victimisation occurs when a person is treated less favourably than they otherwise would have been because of something they have done (“a protected act”) in connection with the Act. A protected act might involve, for example, making an allegation of discrimination or bringing a case under the Act, or supporting another person’s complaint by giving evidence or information, but it includes anything that is done under or in connection with the Act. Even if what a person did or said was incorrect or misconceived, for example based on a misunderstanding of the situation or of what the law provides, they are protected against retaliation unless they were acting in bad faith. The reason for this is to ensure that people are not afraid to raise genuine concerns about discrimination because of fear of retaliation.
As well as it being unlawful to victimise a person who does a protected act, a child must not be victimised because of something done by their parent or a sibling in relation to the Act. This means that a child must not be made to suffer in any way because, for example, her mother has made a complaint of sex discrimination against the school, or her brother has claimed that a teacher is bullying him because he is gay, whether or not the mother or brother was acting in good faith.
Special Provision for Disabilities
The law on disability discrimination is different from the rest of the Act in a number of ways. In particular, it works in only one direction – that is to say, it protects disabled people but not people who are not disabled. This means that schools are allowed to treat disabled pupils more favourably than non-disabled pupils, and in some cases are required to do so, by making reasonable adjustments to put them on a more level footing with pupils without disabilities.
Protected Characteristics from Equality Act 2010
A person belonging to a particular age (for example 32 year olds) or range of ages (for example 18 to 30 year olds).
A person has a disability if she or he has a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on that person’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.
The process of transitioning from one gender to another.
Marriage and civil partnership
Marriage is a union between a man and a woman or between a same-sex couple.
Same-sex couples can also have their relationships legally recognised as ‘civil partnerships’. Civil partners must not be treated less favourably than married couples (except where permitted by the Equality Act).
Pregnancy and maternity
Pregnancy is the condition of being pregnant or expecting a baby. Maternity refers to the period after the birth, and is linked to maternity leave in the employment context. In the non-work context, protection against maternity discrimination is for 26 weeks after giving birth, and this includes treating a woman unfavourably because she is breastfeeding.
Refers to the protected characteristic of race. It refers to a group of people defined by their race, colour, and nationality (including citizenship) ethnic or national origins.
Religion and belief
Religion refers to any religion, including a lack of religion. Belief refers to any religious or philosophical belief and includes a lack of belief. Generally, a belief should affect your life choices or the way you live for it to be included in the definition.
A man or a woman.
Whether a person’s sexual attraction is towards their own sex, the opposite sex or to both sexes.
At Carbeile Junior School, we are committed to ensuring equality of education and opportunity for all pupils, staff, parents and carers, irrespective of race, gender, disability, belief, religion or socio-economic background.
In order to further support pupils, raise standards and ensure inclusive teaching, we have set the following objectives:-
Objective 1: To monitor and analyse pupil achievement by race, gender and disability and act on any trends or patterns in the data that require additional support for pupils.
Objective 2: To raise levels of attainment in core subjects for vulnerable learners.
Objective 3: To narrow the gap between pupil premium and non-pupil premium children.
See our Equalities, Diversity and Inclusion policy for more information:
Please visit: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/315587/Equality_Act_Advice_Final.pdf for a full outline of the Equalities expectations in schools.