The Equality Act 2010 replaced all previous equality legislation such as the Race Relations Act, Disability Discrimination Act and Sex Discrimination Act with the Public Sector Equality Duty 2011 (PSED or Equality Duty). In doing so it provides a single, consolidated source of discrimination law, covering all the types of discrimination that are unlawful. It simplifies the law by removing anomalies and inconsistencies that had developed over time in the existing legislation, and it extends the protection from discrimination in a number of specific areas.
The Equality Duty describes ‘Protected Characteristics’ which relate to all aspects of a person’s identity which are protected under the Equality Act 2010. This means it is unlawful for discrimination, or less favourable treatment to be applied to any individual because of their:
- age (adults only)
- gender reassignment
- marriage and civil partnership (adults only)
- pregnancy and maternity
- religion or belief
- sexual orientation
In a school this also means it is unlawful to discriminate against pupils because of the following:
- The protected characteristic of a person the pupil is associated with eg parents are gay men or lesbians
- The perception that a pupil has a protected characteristic eg suspicions a pupil may be gay
- A pupil who is transgender
- A pupil who is pregnant or has recently given birth
In addition, the Equality Duty outlines what the act means for the public sector including Academies and other educational establishments and has two main parts; the ‘general’ equality duty and ‘specific duties.’
The general equality duty outlines 3 main aims which the Maltby Learning Trust must have ‘due regard’ for when making decisions and developing policies:
- Eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation and other conduct prohibited by the Equality Act 2010.
- Advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not.
- Foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not.
Due regard therefore makes is incumbent on educational establishments to remove and minimise disadvantage, take steps to meet different needs and encourage participation among those with a certain protected characteristic when it is disproportionately low
Maltby Learning Trust Equality Principles
1.All young people deserve the same opportunity to achieve excellence through learning. MLT recognises and respects difference, and strives to:
- Provide outstanding teaching and learning through a curriculum which is differentiated to meet every young person’s individual learning and developmental needs.
- Challenge underperformance through support and personal development.
- Equip everyone with the knowledge and skills to maintain both physical and mental wellbeing for themselves and their families.
- Support children’s emotional needs through a range of therapeutic interventions and engagement with a wide range of stakeholders, including Early Help to address children’s needs, and including those which relate to a protected characteristic
- Provide mental health support to enable pupils to both discuss their concerns and address their emerging sense of identity
- Ensure reasonable adjustments are identified and implemented as early as possible in consultation with children, parents/carers and relevant external agencies, including access to extra-curricular activities and school visits.
2. All stakeholders in Maltby Learning Trust have a shared sense of cohesion and belonging, and strive to foster positive attitudes and relationships by:
- Publishing an anti-bullying and behaviour policy, and following safeguarding procedures, in respect of targeted bullying and/or child on child abuse which discriminates and threatens the safety of individuals with protected characteristics
- Providing a curriculum which promotes positive understanding of protected characteristics, recognises the contribution that individuals and groups with protected characteristics make to society, and challenges stereotyping and discrimination.
- Developing a sense of moral compass so that children appreciate a range of viewpoints, values and cultures, are able to respect diversity and responsibility to others but also understand their own rights as individuals which enable them to challenge prejudiced and extremist views in all their forms
- Building good working relationships with parents/carers and involving them in the life of MLT academies through consultation events, parent’s/carers evenings and extra-curricular activities
- Linking with external agencies including Social Care and Early Help, the Health service and Police in order to promote equality and respect.
- Fostering multi- agency working with voluntary agencies and private sector and building networks and partnerships between services to encourage joint thinking and sharing of skills.
- Ensuring all stakeholders understand their responsibilities in terms of addressing, recording and reporting targeted bullying and prejudice based behaviours.
3. Maltby Learning Trust is an equal opportunity employer and ensures its employees and prospective employees receive equitable practices in terms of recruitment, retention and professional development by ensuring:
- Staff recruitment does not discriminate against individuals with a protected characteristic
- Reasonable adjustments, including access to CPD opportunities and advancement are implemented as necessary for any individual with a protected characteristic
- Staff are provided with access to a counselling service to support any mental health needs
- Information is published annually on the website in respect of Gender Pay Gap
Roles and Responsibilities
The MLT Trust Board
It is the Maltby Learning Trust Board’s responsibility to ensure that Trust Academies carry out the range and scope of duties under the act outlined below.
The Local Governance Committee
It is the Local Governance Committee’s responsibility to:
- Ensure that the Academy complies fully with equality legislation;
- Meet requirements to publish equality schemes;
- Ensure that the Academy’s policy and its procedures and strategies are carried out and monitored with appropriate impact assessments informing future plans;
- Scrutinise the recording and reporting procedures at least annually;
- Follow a fair and equitable admissions policy which does not discriminate by any of the nine protected areas;
- Monitor attendance and take appropriate action where necessary;
- Have equal opportunities in staff recruitment and professional development and membership of the Local Governance Committee/Trust Board;
- Provide information in appropriate, accessible formats;
- Be involved in dealing with serious breaches of the policy;
- Be pro-active in recruiting high-quality applicants from under-represented groups.
It is the Principal’s responsibility to:
- Implement the policy and its strategies and procedures;
- Ensure that all staff receive appropriate and relevant continuous professional development;
- Actively challenge and take appropriate action in any cases of discriminatory practice;
- Deal with any reported incidents of harassment or bullying in line with LA guidance;
- Ensure that all visitors and contractors are aware of, and comply with, the school’s equality and diversity policy;
- Produce a report on progress for governors annually.
It is the responsibility of all staff to:
- Be vigilant in all areas of the Academy for any type of harassment and bullying;
- Deal effectively with all incidents from overt name-calling to the more subtle forms of victimisation caused by perceived differences;
- Identify and challenge bias and stereotyping within the curriculum and in the school’s culture;
- Promote equality and good relations and not discriminate on grounds of any protective characteristic
- Promote an inclusive curriculum and whole school ethos which reflects our diverse society;
- Keep up to date with equality legislation, development and issues by attending relevant training and accessing information from appropriate sources.
Monitoring and Review
In developing and reviewing equality measures, MLT consults with a range of stakeholders. MLT collects, studies and reviews data relating to the implementation of its equality objectives which are published separately and ensures this is robustly analysed to identify any variation in performance across a range of factors, including those relating to individuals with a protected characteristic.