Introduction to equalities legislation for schools and early years settings
Current thinking and supporting legislation regarding
equalities in schools often prioritises closing
any gaps in achievement which may exist for certain groups of
children and young people.
It is also about having procedures and strategies in place to
ensure 'excellence for all' and schools are required to monitor the
progress of all individuals from their own starting points towards
fulfilling their academic potential in a discrimination-free
environment as citizens of a diverse society.
The following pages of tools and links are intended to support
the promotion of equalities and tackling of discrimination in your
school and to contribute to your preparations for Ofsted
The language of Equalities and acceptable usage fluctuates with
time and current terms can sometimes be misleading. You might find
the following link to a
glossary on the Equalities and Human Rights Commission website
Act 2010 has changed the way the public sector must
address equalities, and there were some significant changes for
schools. A summary slide of the three main purposes of the new law
can be dowloaded here.
The Equalities Team helps any school in Northumberland that would
like help or support with this aspect of their work. The most
comprehensive advice and documentation about the act is found on
the Equality and
Human Rights Commission web site. The Equality and Human Rights
Commission have also produced specific
guidance to schools about the PSED
To comply with the law, schools should
equality information by 6 April 2012. To see
an example of one Northumberland's school's published information,
the link. There is no prescribed format for this. It
is also an opportunity to mention strategies you have already
implemented to promote equality.
- We have created a template
of questions to consider which is a useful starting
point to use to capture this information for publication.
- This information helps schools to recognise SMART
equality objectives. There is no set number of
objectives that schools are expected to have. There should be at
least one, which should be stretching (and achievable) and should
focus on the most significant equality challenges the
- Gaps in achievement are an obvious target, and the protected
characteristics to address are most often gender, race, religion
and belief and disability.
- It may also be necessary from time to time to complete an
analysis of the effects of new and amended policies and
practices, or key decisions on
protected groups. This process was formerly known as equality
impact assessment (EIA).
A suggested pro forma for an Equalities Analysis can be
downloaded to print here.
You may find it helpful to see an example analysis using this
guide. An example of a school's updated dress code analysis can be
viewed by following this link.
There is now no legal requirement to publish
an equality scheme. You may still find it useful to publish a
policy. There is a very good example of a school policy which can
easily be adapted on the Insted web site.
It is still a requirement that a school should maintain an
Here is the government guidance to
From September 2012 a revised Ofsted Inspection Framework has
been implemented. The separate equalities judgement is no longer
part of the framework, although closing gaps in achievement for
vulnerable groups of pupils and the impact of a school’s
anti-discriminatory work now have a high profile. A recent
inspectors about inspecting equalites makes this very
Everyone who is committed to the education of Northumberland's
children and young people needs to be conscious of the challenges
that face vulnerable groups of people. We develop strategies to
target our resources to meet those needs and close gaps in
achievement. We hope to give children the best chances in life by
providing an education that will offer choices and
Data tells us that vulnerable groups include: Looked After
Children (LAC), those with Learning Difficulties and Disabilities
(LDD), Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) pupils, children with
Special Educational Needs (SEN), those at risk of becoming Not in
Education, Employment or Training (NEET), Gypsy Roma Traveller and
other mobile children, Children eligible for Free School Meals
(FSM) and Early Years children, for example children eligible for
the free funded two year old places.
The Pupil Premium Grant
Some of these children attract the Pupil Premium Grant, which is
paid to schools to support children who might be challenged by
financial disadvantage, being in the care of the Local Authority or
having parents serving in the Armed Forces. The Department
for Education web site has a section about the PPG and how
schools can make best use of it.
In July 2013 the DfE published an
evaluation of the Pupil Premium, using extensive research to
establish how schools have made spending decisions and accounted
for the grant in improving and maintaining the support they give to
In February 2013, Ofsted published a guide
The Pupil Premium: how schools are spending the funding
successfully to maximise achievement. The accompanying
analysis and challenge tools may also be helpful to
You might like to follow the checklist
we have produced to help you account for your Pupil Premium
expenditure on your school's web site.
The Joseph Rowntree Foundation wants
lasting change for people and places in poverty, communities where
everyone can thrive and a more equal society. Their work and
publications about poverty and social exclusion are very relevant
to this agenda. Published in January 2013, their report
Educational Aspirations: How English Schools Can Work With Parents
to Keep Them on Trackillustrates that for many low income
pupils the problem is not low aspiration, but a need for parental
support to help achieve their goals.
improvement has section of their web site which offers guidance
and good practice guides to primary schools. For secondary
settings, there is a report from Estyn that reviews effective
tackling poverty and disadvantage in Welsh schools.
Links and resources
Some futher links and resources to help schools to consider how
to recognise and set objectives relating to closing gaps and and
ensuring equality in education and provision are listed below:
Since 2002 schools have been required to comply with Local
Authority procedures for recording, reporting and responding to
This area of the web site sets out Northumberland Local
Authority's current procedure with accompanying guidance. Schools
have had to ensure that they follow the procedure, set out in
section 2 since September 2008, and have in place
effective measures to respond to racist incidents when they
The three documents that follow give the guidance and resources
that schools need when reporting and responding to racist incidents
in Northumberland schools.
a summary leaflet with detailed guidance for schools.
Form 1:Reporting an
individual incident to the Local Authority
2: Annual report to Governors of racist incidents in school
Schools are required by law to eliminate discrimination, promote
equality of opportunity and foster good relations (Equality Act
2010). All schools have experience of developing policies and
implementing practices which directly tackle these requirements.
Where those policies and practices are aligned with the curriculum
schools are able to influence attitudes and create the potential
for real social change.
The revised Ofsted inspection framework from September 2012
refers to a school being outstanding in terms of overall
effectiveness if it demonstrates ‘...a very positive impact on all
pupils' behaviour and safety; and contributes very well... to their
spiritual, moral, social and cultural development'. In terms of an
outstanding behaviour and safety judgement; 'Pupils are acutely
aware of different forms of bullying and actively try to prevent it
Every three years the Equalities and Human Rights Commission
(EHRC) is required to report to Parliament on the progress that
society is making in relation to equality, human rights and good
relations. The vision of the EHRC is of a society ‘at ease with its
diversity, where every individual has the opportunity to achieve
their potential, and where people treat each other with dignity and
The first of those reports,
How fair is Britain? is available to view now on the EHRC
website. With regard to education, some of the key findings are
Education is a key determinant of life chances
- Educational attainment continues to be strongly associated with
- Pupils with SEN account for 7 out of 10 permanent exclusions
from school in England
- There is evidence that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender
young people are being penalised by unfair treatment and bullying
in the education system
- Differences in participation in education persist throughout
The following pages and links are ideas for how Northumberland
schools might get started in developing anti-discriminatory
practices through teaching, ethos and the curriculum.
Our partners for delivering race equality education in
Northumberland are Show Racism the Red Card. Click on the image to
follow the link.
an example of a form developed for use in Northumberland
Northumberland schools are predominantly white British, and many
of our children do have limited opportunities to experience the
multiple identities and diverse heritage that constitute much of
the UK. Teachers respond to and observe examples of this relative
seclusion. Some decide to tackle issues of diversity and
contrasting cultures through their teaching and
learning. This area of the web site is a starting point for
those who would like to develop this further.
Show Racism the Red Card
work with KS3 pupils around the theme of racism in football and
society, and have a number of anti racist teaching resources for
purchase. Northumberland schools can request free workshops in
school, as the Council works in partnership with the charity.
Early years and KS1 children can have their perceptions
challenged through stories and activities that focus on
and differences in the UK.
Two of the trusted organisations that lead in promoting
understanding of racist persecution are:
- The Holocaust Educational
Trust, which provides online resources, guest speakers, CPD and
post 16 visits to Auschwitz-Birkenau.
- The Holocaust Memorial Day
Trust supports organisations to commemorate Holocaust Memorial
day on 27th January each year, and to raise awareness of genocide
throughout the world
Newsround site has numerous teaching resources and video clips
to explore race, religion and identity in the UK.