Discovery Primary School EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES POLICY At Discovery Primary School we will ensure equality of opportunity for all children in our care. To have quality education you must have equality in education. Discrimination on the grounds of colour, culture, gender, social circumstances sexual orientation, origin, ability or physical disability is unacceptable. At Discovery we celebrate individual differences which are deemed positive. Nobody is born racist, sexist, homophobic and classist or is born with prejudice against people with physical or learning disabilities. These are acquired. We aim to help all children become aware of the increasingly diverse society in which we live. We aim to present the world both as it is and as we would like it to be – a fair, safe and caring world. On such foundations we hope that the children in our school will develop their own positive attitudes towards all those around them now and in their future lives. This policy should be read in conjunction with our Policy on Inclusive Education, Special Education Needs Policy and Race Equality Policy. CHARTER OF RIGHTS Every child has the right: not to have to fight to expect people to be kind not to be made fun of not to be made sad not to be scared of adults to have friends to be safe not to be scared to come to school QUOTE “Not everything that is faced can be changed but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” James Baldwin The Law Unlawful discrimination occurs when one person receives less favourable treatment because of their gender, marital status, race or disability. The law is extensive and complex in these areas. Accordingly the schools‟ equal opportunities co-ordinator will provide general guidance on matters which require clarification whilst ensuring professional guidance is sought when specific reference is needed to the: Sex Discrimination Act 1975 Race Relations Act 1976 Equal Pay Act 1970 Equal Pay Amendment 1984 Disability Discrimination Act 1995 Relevant EU legislation The Human Rights Act 1998 The Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 The Special Educational Needs and Disability Act 2001 It must also be borne in mind that „ignorance of the law is no defence‟ and other forms of discrimination (on the grounds of age, sexuality, religion or social circumstances) should be avoided. Requirements and Expectations in Official Educational Documents The following are extracts from official documents which help to show that this policy reflects requirements and expectations in the national legislation on education which has come into force since 1988: “It is intended that the curriculum should reflect the culturally diverse society to which pupils belong and of which they will become adult members” DES Circular 5/89 Schools are encouraged „to foster a climate in which equality of opportunity is supported by a policy to which the whole school subscribes and in which positive attitudes are actively promoted‟. Pupils should be given the „opportunity to view the world from different standpoints, helping them to question prejudice and develop open –mindedness‟. N.C.C. Guidance Document on the Whole Curriculum 1990. „a commitment to providing equal opportunities for all pupils…. Should permeate every aspect of the curriculum‟. N.C.C. Curriculum Guidance On Education for Citizenship 1990. „Pupils should learn to question the stereotypes produced by social groupings, particularly in the case of gender and race. They need to understand the ways in which cultural diversity can be celebrated and inequality and prejudice combated.‟ Curriculum Council for Wales CCW Advisory Paper 11 Community Understanding 1991. „Most institutions have policies for promoting equality of opportunity but too often the gap between policy and practice is Aims unacceptably wide.‟ HMI Annual Report 1992 To create a supportive and challenging ethos, environment and curriculum in which all pupils can make progress and fulfil their potential. To create a school in which discrimination and abuse on the grounds of any difference is not tolerated. To help children understand the world in which we live and the interdependence of individuals, groups and nations. To foster mutual respect between adults and adults; adults and children; children and children regardless of differences. To promote a positive self-image in all children and to respect their individuality, providing for all pupils according to their needs. To ensure equality of opportunity permeates the whole curriculum and ethos of the school. To ensure children and adults feel safe and supported in reporting incidents of discrimination or abusive behaviour. Objectives To challenge and thereby minimise incidents of racial, sexual, cultural, religious stereotyping, use of abusive terminology and actions. To ensure equal access to the curriculum and resources for everyone. To treat everyone differently and thereby treat everyone fairly. To recognise what equality of opportunity is and is not (see Appendix 1 ) To be responsive to changing needs. To reflect the diverse society in which we live through the curriculum, resources and displays ensuring this contains non-stereotypical images in order to overcome pre- conceived ideas of gender, ethnic origin, culture, religion or social circumstances. To teach children about different religions, cultures and beliefs so they can develop a better understanding and tolerance of others and their way of life. For children and adults to challenge stereotypes, behaviours, practices which they feel are derogatory, discriminatory or abusive. To educate and inform staff, children and parents about the issues in this policy. To ensure all School Policies take account of equal opportunities To monitor academic achievement by analysing SATs results and other forms of summative assessments. For assemblies to include opportunities to challenge prejudice, question stereotyping and enhance understanding of our multicultural and pluralistic society; also to ensure that they are free from messages or language which undermine principles of tolerance or understanding. To encourage adults from a broad spectrum of society to visit this school; To devise schemes of playground use which avoid domination of space by any particular group. To provide access throughout the school site for wheelchair users and people with other disabilities, as resources allow. To encourage and develop positive links with the local community. Teaching and Learning Strategies Children should be grouped carefully so that neither expectations nor performance are lowered. All staff will ensure that each child has a genuine welcome to the school and is made to feel a valued part of our community. Value and status will be given to other languages by encouraging awareness of them and their usage and by highlighting links between languages. Children in school who speak another language will be encouraged to use it and be shown that their ability is valued. Teachers will ensure fair access to resources and materials especially equipment such as I.T. and construction, the imaginative play area, the listening corner or footballs at playtime. Teachers will ensure equal expectations for both genders in all subjects. Teachers and adults will have an awareness of gender issues around the school such as mixing boys and girls together when lining up or grouping for activities, giving equal weighting to boys and girls helping around the school in non-stereotypical ways. Occasionally „positive discrimination‟ may be necessary, especially in the early years, to actively encourage girls into areas they already think of as „male‟ – such as construction toys – or to encourage boys into home corners or writing corners. Aptitudes and interests will be recognised and children encouraged to be active participants in their own learning. Good use of differentiation in planning and delivering the curriculum will enable the least able to receive the support and help that they need and the most able to be stretched to their full potential through activities which will extend their skills and knowledge. Children often require extra encouragement to build up their self – esteem and to feel valued for their contributions in school. For example sharing work in class, at assemblies and through displays, will help boost confidence. All clubs and activities will be open to every child in the school and encourage positive self-images Role playing is seen as an essential means to address the issues raised in the area of equality of opportunity. Team work will be encouraged in all aspects of school life to show the advantages of pooling experience, knowledge and various points of view. (Staff and children) PSHE, Circle Time, Assemblies and Drama sessions will be used to explore issues pertinent to equality of opportunity, such as stereotyping and diversity of pupils/peoples backgrounds, cultures, beliefs, prejudices. Positive action, especially by pupils, will continue to be rewarded and made known to the wider school community. Displays will reflect our wider community. Class resources will be chosen to be non-sexist and non- racist as well as of a high quality. All children should have work displayed at some time during the school year. Teaching will promote tolerance. All children will have the opportunity to take books home to read. Songs and music should reflect this policy as well as help to promote positive images of other places, languages, cultures etc. Teachers will ensure equal opportunities for talking and listening in whole class discussion, group work and paired work. Teachers will create an environment in which co-operation is central and in which children will work in a range of grouping contexts (single or mixed sex, mixed ability, random or compatible) comfortably and with purpose. Children will be taught the skills to resolve conflicts and to become assertive. Teachers will ensure that the children in their class feel safe and supported so that they can report incidents of discrimination or abusive behaviour. Curriculum Planning and Context In carrying out our curriculum planning we must: review the taught curriculum and actively seek opportunities to address the issues of equal opportunities; ensure that multicultural issues are not presented in a tokenistic way; be aware of, and challenge bias and stereotypical viewpoints within our teaching and language; eg only presenting images of Africa or India as poor and rural; draw on examples from many cultural traditions and recognise Britain as having a diverse cultural background; help children explore the idea of „stereotyping‟ in order that they can make more informed choices in relation to their identity (ie gender, ethnic or cultural background, disability). be aware of the balance of male/female roles, disabled/able bodied and roles from a variety of cultural backgrounds, when choosing historical figures or artists, composers, authors work etc. as a focus for a curriculum area. STAFF Teaching staff and school helpers will be sensitive to unacceptable behaviour and take appropriate action. Repeated incidents or abuse will be recorded for discussion with the Head teacher and for possible further discussion with parents and the Governing Body. The school will maintain clear, factual and up-to-date records to identify patterns of behaviour which are contrary to our aims. Staff will also be encouraged to challenge unacceptable behaviour with colleagues and parents. Job vacancies will be widely advertised to promote a diversity of candidates. The school values diversity amongst the staff. In all staff appointments the most suitable candidate will be appointed on professional criteria and recruitment carried out in a manner consistent with equal opportunity. Involving Parents As with all school policies, there is a critical role to be played by parents. Several aspects of this document have referred to the consultation process and the need to reinforce good behaviour in our community. Parents will continue to be informed of their child‟s behaviour, good and bad, together with any aspects of their attitude towards others which gives rise to concern. Initial liaison regarding discrimination problems is expected to be of an informal nature. However, all forms of discrimination by any person within the school are to be treated very seriously and a careful note kept of any such incidents. Records will also be maintained of repeated incidents of abuse and ongoing concerns will be discussed in depth by the Head Teacher and parents. Parents who are unavailable/unwilling to discuss individual cases will receive a letter inviting their response, a copy of which will be held on file. In the event that formal disciplinary proceedings are contemplated, or if co-operation is not evident, the governing body will be consulted and a plan of action agreed. Continued unacceptable behaviour could result in exclusion procedures for the pupil. Racial Incidents With regard to incidents of a racist nature, all such incidents will be recorded and monitored in line with our Race Equailty Policy and the „Greenwich Racial Incident Policy Procedures.‟ This policy/procedure relates to recommendation 68 of the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry. All schools will need to report information about racial incidents to pupils parents/guardians, school governors and the L.E.A. The Racial Incidents Policy Procedure gives guidance on: a) definition of a racial incident b) procedure for dealing with a racial incident c) monitoring of racial incidents d) reporting information to parents, governors and the L.E.A. In order to help staff to understand and work positively with some of the multi –cultural dimensions of education in Greenwich Schools, Greenwich Council has produced „The Religious and Cultural Needs of Minority Ethnic Pupils‟ (see Appendix 3). This guide assists teachers/other staff in their understanding of different ethnic groups – eg Asylum Seekers, Gypsies and Travellers, Indian, Afro-Caribbean, Chinese – and issues sensitive to one or more of these groups – eg dress and uniform, jewellery, sex education, fasting. For further details see Discovery Primary School‟s Race Equality Policy. APPENDICES Appendix 1 Equal Opportunities is……………… Equal Opportunities is not………….. Appendix 2 Understanding of discrimination Appendix 1 Equal Opportunities is NOT:- 1. “Positive Discrimination” illegal 2. Treating everybody the same. 3. A trendy lefty idea 4. Just about being politically correct 5. Eliminating the prejudices of everyone in a school 6. Having an equal opportunities statement 7. “Special Needs” of disabled pupils 8. Related only to pupils achievement 9. A cheap option 10. Impossible to achieve (in a time of budget cuts) 11. Easy to achieve Equal Opportunities IS:- Eliminating discrimination Maximising potential of all pupils Enabling pupils to have full access to the curriculum Enabling pupils to make informed life choices Encouraging respect and integration between staff and pupils Encouraging the celebration of difference and diversity Creating a safe environment for everyone (staff and pupils and parents) Taking positive action Making sure the best person gets the job Equal Career development opportunities for all Making schools representative of the communities they serve. Appendix 2 Understanding of Discrimination Overt and Covert Discrimination The School recognises that discrimination can be either overt or covert and that there is a need to identify and to take action to counter all kinds of discrimination. Overt discrimination can take place in school organisation and discipline and in extra curricular activities – such discrimination is illegal. However, this form of discrimination is easier to detect and, sometimes, clearer to deal with. Covert discrimination relates to the assumptions, beliefs and values acquired over a long period of time which affects pupil‟s instinctive responses. It may be shown in the attitudes of teachers, parents and other adults towards pupils and in the attitudes of pupils towards themselves and each other. The Perpetuation of Discrimination Systematic Discrimination and mistreatment which generates which becomes misinformation and Any ISM the justification ignorance for further discrimination which creates socially sanctioned attitudes, beliefs, feelings assumptions Fighting any „ism‟: 4 levels 1. Personal Level 2. Institutional Level – perpetuating what has gone on before without checking why? 3. Society/National 4. International Discrimination is the justifying of inferior opportunities and treatment on the grounds of difference or „otherness‟.
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