Equality & Cohesion Policy
The Equality Act 2010 replaced all existing equality legislation from 1st October 2010. It streamlines a variety of legislation into a single requirement. This policy has been drafted in compliance with the new Act (www.equalities.gov.uk/equality_act_2010). Under the Equality Act, equality is the principle of equal treatment for all people, irrespective of features designated by the Act as ‘protected characteristics’: age, disability, gender (including gender reassignment), marital/civil partnership status, pregnancy/maternity status, ethnicity, religion/belief or sexual orientation.
The core ethos of The Vale Federation: We value the individuality of all our students, staff, governors, parents/carers and visitors. We are committed to eliminating discrimination, promoting equality and celebrating diversity. We aim to give all our pupils every opportunity to achieve their personal best. Within this ethos of achievement, we do not tolerate bullying and harassment of any kind. We aim to ensure that the school values and celebrates the individuality of all our students and staff, irrespective of age, disability, gender (including gender reassignment), marital/civil partnership status, pregnancy/maternity status, ethnicity, religion/belief or sexual orientation. We are committed to ensuring that positive action is taken where necessary to redress the balance of inequality that may exist.
We aim to reflect the diversity of our local community and society and ensure that the education we offer reduces the chances of social divisions by recognising, celebrating and valuing different backgrounds, lifestyles and identities.
The Governing Body is responsible for ensuring that:
- The school complies with all equalities legislation relevant to the school community;
- The school’s Equalities and Cohesion Policy is maintained and updated regularly;
- That procedures and strategies related to the Policy are implemented;
- The Community and Development Committee will monitor termly all racist incidents and ensure that appropriate action is taken.
The Governing Body recognises that the avoidance of discrimination is not sufficient to ensure that equality exists in the school. The Governing Body will therefore give full consideration to measures of positive action which may assist in achieving the aims of this policy.
The Governing Body is committed to the principles of dignity at work for all staff in the school. This includes the right to be treated with respect by all managers and colleagues. The Governing Body will consider any acts of harassment including those on the grounds of age, disability and other equality issues, as totally unacceptable and outside the ethos and culture of the school. Any such act by a member of staff against any adult or child will be treated as a disciplinary offence, and action taken accordingly.
The school has procedures to resolve grievances and for the handling of complaints of harassment and bullying at work. The Governing Body is committed to investigate any such complaint. These procedures will be followed carefully and promptly in response to any such complaint. The first point of contact for any such complaint should be the principal. In addition, staff have the right to approach their professional association or trade union representative for support.
The Principal, School Business Director and Senior Leadership Team are responsible for:
- Providing leadership and vision in respect of equality and diversity;
- Overseeing the implementation of the Equalities and Cohesion Policy;
- Co-ordinating the activities related to equality and diversity;
- Ensuring that all who enter the school are aware of, and comply with, the Equalities and Cohesion Policy;
- Ensuring that staff are aware of their responsibilities and are given relevant training and support;
- Taking appropriate action in response to racist incidents and other equality issues;
- Supporting parents/carers to become involved in their children’s education;
- Considering and overcoming barriers to parents’/carers’ involvement (i.e. work commitments, non-resident parents, and lone parents.
All Staff are responsible for:
- Dealing with incidents of discrimination and knowing how to identify and challenge bias and stereotyping;
- Not discriminating on grounds of ethnicity, disability, or other equality issues;
- Keeping up to date with equalities legislation by attending training events organised by the school.
All Parents/Carers are responsible for:
- Their children’s education;
- Being aware of and supporting the School’s Equalities and Cohesion Policy; Positively influencing their children’s expectations about education as well as their attitudes and behaviour towards other students and staff;
- Understanding the ethos of the school and becoming involved in school life (such as attendance at parents’ evenings).
Pupils are encouraged to be (where possible):
- Being aware of and complying with the Equalities and Cohesion Policy;
- Not discriminating on grounds of ethnicity or other equality issues;
- Reporting any racist incident or act of discrimination in which they were directly or indirectly involved, either in or out of school;
- Understanding, valuing and celebrating diversity;
- Treating others as their equals.
The School is committed to equality and diversity. As such, we will:
- Ensure equality of access for our pupils and prepare them for life in a diverse society;
- Use materials that reflect diversity within society in terms of age, ethnicity, gender, ability, faith, social condition, cultural background and sexual orientation, without stereotyping;
- Provide opportunities for pupils to appreciate their own culture and celebrate the diversity of other cultures;
- Promote attitudes and values that will challenge discriminatory behaviour;
- Use a range of sensitive teaching strategies when teaching about different cultural traditions;
- Develop students’ awareness so that they can detect bias and challenge discrimination;
- Ensure that the curriculum covers issues of equalities, diversity, human rights and inclusion;
- Ensure staff take account of disability needs, gender, religious and ethnic differences and the needs of particular groups;
- Ensure all students/staff/parents/carers are given support, as appropriate, when they experience discrimination;
- In staff recruitment and professional development, the school will be mindful of its legal obligations under the Equality Act.
The Equality and Cohesion Policy will be monitored and reviewed annually and a report on progress will be submitted annually to the Governing Body.
The School’s commitment to equality and diversity is reflected in our other policies and practices, especially those concerned with:
- Equal opportunities
- Progress, attainment and assessment
- Behaviour, anti-bullying, discipline and exclusions
- Personal development and care
- Teaching and learning
- Admissions and attendance
- Teaching and learning
- Staff recruitment and retention
- Governor /staff training and professional development
- Partnerships with parents/carers and communities
- Visits and visitors.