DfE The Equality Act 2010 and schools: Departmental advice for school leaders, school staff, governing bodies and local authorities May 2014
5.16 Under specific duties set out in previous equality legislation, schools were required to produce equality schemes in relation to race, disability and gender. Under the specific duties there are no requirements to create equality schemes. But schools may choose to continue producing such a scheme, if it helps them to comply with the Equality Duty, and they can expand it to cover the additional protected characteristics.
This Single Equality Scheme for schools in North Yorkshire provides a format for addressing the statutory duties of 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 scheme also highlights how our school has worked with and listened to the staff, pupils, parents and carers to inform development of action plans and the need and commitment required to ensure the scheme is a success. This is underpinned by a commitment to promoting positive relationships and understanding between all groups within our school community.
This document sets out how pupils with the following protected characteristics (previously known as equality strands) will be protected in our school from harassment and discrimination:-
- · disability.
- · gender.
- · race.
- · religion and belief.
- · sexual orientation.
- · gender reassignment.
- · pregnancy and maternity.
The law on disability discrimination is different from the rest of the Equalities 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 The definition of what constitutes discrimination is more complex. Provision for disabled pupils is closely connected with the regime for children with special educational needs. Chapter 4 of the Act deals in detail with disability issues.
This scheme extends however 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 our pupils, the school is also committed to being a good employer and as such this scheme outlines how we meet our varied duties in terms of recruitment and employment practices. We 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
*A person’s age is also a protected characteristic in relation to employment and the Act extends this (except for children) to the provision of goods and services, but age as a protected characteristic does not apply to pupils in schools. Schools therefore remain free to admit and organise children in age groups and to treat pupils in ways appropriate to their age and stage of development without risk of legal challenge, even in the case of pupils over the age of 18.
A full copy of this scheme can be accessed as an attachment below.