All schools and settings have statutory duties they must meet under the Equality Act 2010 and The Children and Families Act 2014. This supersedes and brings together all previous statutory duties in relation to race, gender and disability and also addresses the duty to promote community cohesion, thus meeting the school’s statutory duties in these areas. The national guidance documents (see below) outline these duties in more detail.
The Single Equality Scheme template provided by North Yorkshire, provides a structure to help schools address the key areas and set equalities objectives.
Schools must show they have worked with and listened to staff, pupils, parents and carers to inform development of action plans. This is underpinned by a commitment to promoting positive relationships and understanding between all groups within a school community. Equalities objectives should be published every 4 years and reviewed annually. It is good practice to share these on your school website.
The document sets out how pupils with the following protected characteristics (previously known as equality strands) will be protected in a school from harassment and discrimination:
- Religion and belief
- Sexual orientation
- Gender reassignment
- Pregnancy and maternity
This scheme extends to cover all aspects of vulnerability, including those associated with socio-economic factors (e.g. pupils from low income families).
As well as delivering high quality services to pupils, school are also committed to being a good employer and as such this scheme outlines how schools can meet their varied duties in terms of recruitment and employment practices. Schools are also committed to be fully inclusive of all community users, including parents and carers. As such, this scheme therefore also sets out how we will work to overcome any discrimination related to the other protected characteristics:
- Being married or in a civil partnership
Further support and guidance on equalities can be provided by Rebecca Swift, Equalities Adviser (Rebecca.email@example.com)
For details of training offered in these areas see http://smartsolutions.northyorks.gov.uk/
North Yorkshire Guidance