Equality Statement and Objectives
Woodlands School Equality Statement and Objectives
Woodlands Secondary School is committed to the development and promotion of a cohesive and inclusive school community.
We therefore have a responsibility to consider our equality duties with regard to:
· Our children and young people
· Our families and carers
· Our staff teams and governors
· Other professionals, students, volunteers and visitors engaged within our organisation.
Public Sector Equality Duty
The Equality Act 2010 replaced previous anti-discrimination laws with a single Act.
The Equality Act requires all schools to comply with the Public Sector Equality Duty and two specific duties.
Public Sector Equality Duty requires us as a school to have due regard to:
- Eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and 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 those who do not.
Having due regard means that the school will:
- demonstrate awareness of our duties under the Act by assessing the impact any decision or action will have on people with protected characteristics.
- consider any equality implications when developing and reviewing policies and will review them regularly with equality in mind.
- carry out these analyses seriously, rigorously and with an open mind.
- take responsibility to fulfil our Public Sector Equality Duty; we will not delegate the responsibility to anyone else.
In order to meet our Public Sector Equality Duty there are two “specific duties” that we are required to carry out:
- Publish information to show compliance with the Equality Duty at least annually.
- Publish Equality Objectives at least every 4 years which are specific and measurable
The Public Sector Equality Duty aims to ensure that all public bodies, including schools, play their part in making society fairer by tackling discrimination and providing equality of opportunity for all.
The Equality Duty ensures that schools and other public bodies consider the needs of all individuals in their day to day work – in shaping policy, in delivering services, and in relation to their own employees.
The Public Sector Equality Duty replaces the three previous public sector equality duties – for race, disability and gender.
It covers the following protected characteristics:
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 they have 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.
A decision to undertake gender reassignment is made when an individual feels that his or her gender at birth does not match their gender identity.
Gender reassignment refers to individuals who either:
- Have undergone, intend to undergo or are currently undergoing gender reassignment (medical and surgical treatment to alter the body).
- Do not intend to undergo medical treatment but wish to live permanently in a different gender from their gender at birth.
Marriage and Civil partnership
Marriage is a recognised union between two people. Marriage is available to both same-sex couples and opposite-sex couples.
A civil partnership is a legal relationship which can be registered by two people who aren't related to each other.
Civil partnerships are available to both same-sex couples and opposite-sex couples.
- Marriage is formed by vows, whereas a civil partnership is formed by signing the civil partnership document; and
- Marriages are ended by divorce, whereas civil partnerships are ended by dissolution, although the process is fundamentally the same.
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 person unfavourably because they are 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.
Whether a person is a man or a woman.
Whether a person's sexual attraction is towards their own gender or any other genders.
The Public Sector Equality Duty supports good decision making – it encourages us to understand how different people will be affected by our activities so that policies and services are appropriate and accessible to all and meet different people’s needs.
By understanding the effect of our activities on different people, and how an inclusive school environment can support and open up people’s opportunities, we are better placed to deliver policies and services that are efficient and effective.
Having due regard means consciously thinking about the three aims of the Equality Duty as part of the process of decision-making. This means that consideration of equality issues must influence the decisions reached by the school – such as in how we act as employers; how we develop, evaluate and review policy; how we design, deliver and evaluate services, and how we commission and procure from others.
Having due regard to the need to advance equality of opportunity involves considering the need to:
• remove or minimise disadvantages suffered by people due to their protected characteristics;
• meet the needs of people with protected characteristics; and
• encourage people with protected characteristics to participate in school and public life or in other activities where their participation is low.
Fostering good relations involves tackling prejudice and promoting understanding between people who share a protected characteristic and others.
Taking account of disabled people’s disabilities
The Equality Duty explicitly recognises that disabled people’s needs may be different from those of non-disabled people.
All students at Woodlands Secondary School have learning disabilities or impairments and some have additional physical or sensory disabilities. The school should therefore take account of people’s impairments when making decisions about policies or services.
Woodlands School needs to consciously think about the three aims of the Equality Duty as part of the process of decision-making. The Equality Duty will be one of a number of factors that need to be considered. The weight given to the Equality Duty, compared to the other factors, will depend on how much that function affects discrimination, equality of opportunity and good relations and the extent of any disadvantage that needs to be addressed.
The school should ensure:
Knowledge – Governors, the leadership team and staff need to be aware of the requirements of the Equality Duty. Compliance with the Equality Duty involves a conscious approach and state of mind.
Timeliness – the Equality Duty must be complied with before and at the time that a particular policy is under consideration or decision is taken – that is, in the development of policy options, and in making a final decision. The school cannot satisfy the Equality Duty by justifying a decision after it has been taken.
Real consideration – consideration of the three aims of the Equality Duty must form an integral part of the decision-making process. The Equality Duty is not a matter of box-ticking; it must be exercised in substance, with rigour and with an open mind in such a way that it influences the final decision.
Sufficient information – the decision maker must consider what information he or she has and what further information may be needed in order to give proper consideration to the Equality Duty.
No delegation – the school is responsible for ensuring that any third parties which exercise functions on their behalf are capable of complying with the Equality Duty, are required to comply with it, and that they do so in practice. It is a duty that cannot be delegated.
Review – the school must have regard to the aims of the Equality Duty not only when a policy is developed and decided upon, but also when it is implemented and reviewed. The Equality Duty is a continuing duty.