The Thomas Adams School Equality Scheme 2011/14 Updated January 2012 Contents 1. Preamble 2. Policy Statement 3. Statutory requirements 4. Community cohesion 5. Responsibilities 6. Staff awareness 7. Publication and review 8. Reporting on progress and impact 9. Equality Impact Assessments 10. Choosing our Equality Objectives Annex A Background to the Equality Act: ‘The Importance of Teaching’ White Paper – Equalities’ Impact Assessment Annex B Equality Act 2010: Briefing Paper Annex C Equality Act 2010: Definition of a Disability Annex D The Quality Act – What’s new for employers? (ACAS) Annex E Policy Statement: Race Equality Annex F Policy Statement: Gender Equality Annex G Policy Statement: Access to the School for Students with Disabilities 1. Preamble The School has produced this single scheme to cover and promote the equality characteristics of disability, gender, race, age, religion or belief and sexual orientation and, where appropriate, poverty. The scheme builds on the foundations laid in our previous, separate schemes, in particular those for disability, race and gender. We look to the scheme as an important step towards achieving our strategic goals. 2. Policy Statement 1. In accordance with the School’s aims we pledge: to respect the equal human rights of all our students; to educate them about equality; and to respect the equal rights of our staff and other members of the school community. 2. We will look to monitor and assess our current school practices (“Equality Impact Assessment”) and implement all necessary resulting actions in relation to: ethnicity; religion or belief; socio-economic background; gender and gender identity; disability; sexual orientation; and age. 3. We will promote community cohesion at school, locally, and beyond, comparing our school community to its local and national contexts and implementing all necessary actions in relation to: ethnicity; religion or belief; and socio-economic background. 3. Statutory requirements The equality objectives in Section 10 below address our duties under current equality legislation, up to and including the Equality Act 2010. 4. Community Cohesion The following data sets the school within a national context: Ethnicity/culture context of the school o % of pupils from minority ethnic groups 2009 2010 2011 Thomas Adams 7.6 9.0 8.6 National 20.6 21.7 22.4 In 2011: 91.1 White British 0.1 Irish 0.7 Gypsy 3.9 Other white background 4.0 Mixed, non-white o % of pupils first language not/believed not to be English 2009 2010 2011 Thomas Adams 2.9 2.7 2.7 National 11.4 11.7 12.3 Socio-economic context of the school o % of pupils known to be eligible for free school meals 2009 2010 2011 Thomas Adams 8.6 10.0 11.3 National 14.5 15.4 15.9 o % stability 2009 2010 2011 Thomas Adams 93.1 91.4 90.8 National 91.8 92.2 92.3 o School deprivation factor 2009 2010 2011 Thomas Adams 0.12 0.12 0.12 National 0.22 0.22 0.22 5. Responsibilities The Chair of Governors takes the lead, but the governors as a whole are responsible for: drawing up, publishing and implementing the school’s equality objectives; making sure the school complies with the relevant equality legislation; making sure the school Equality Scheme and its procedures are followed; monitoring progress towards the equality objectives and reporting annually. The headteacher is responsible for: making sure steps are taken to address the school’s stated equality objectives; making sure the equality, access and community cohesion plans are readily available and that the governors, staff, pupils and their parents and guardians know about them; producing regular information for staff and governors about the plans and how they are working; making sure all staff know their responsibilities and receive training and support in carrying these out; and taking appropriate action in cases of harassment and discrimination, including prejudice- related incidents; enabling reasonable adjustments to be made, in relation to disability, in regard to students, staff, parents/carers and visitors to the school. All staff are responsible for: promoting equality and community cohesion in their work; avoiding unlawful discrimination against anyone; fostering good relations between groups; and dealing with prejudice-related incidents; being able to recognise and tackle bias and stereotyping; taking up training and learning opportunities. The headteacher is responsible overall for dealing with reports of prejudice-related incidents. Visitors and contractors are responsible for following relevant school policy. 6. Staff Awareness Staff awareness in relation to equality and cohesion, both in terms of professional responsibilities as well as statutory requirements, is achieved by: the process of drawing together and reviewing the Scheme; ongoing reference to the Scheme via our staff meeting structure and staff briefings; specific training provided to the whole staff and individual members of staff by outside agencies. 7. Publication and Review This Equality Scheme fulfils statutory requirements under the terms of legislation referred to above. As it is a public document, the school governors publish it by making it available on request. The scheme will be kept under regular review for three years and then replaced in September 2014. 8. Reporting on progress and impact A report on progress with the actions listed below will be published each autumn term. Evidence will also be kept of the impact of our action to promote community cohesion, in respect of ethnicity, religion or belief and socio-economic background. 9. ‘Equality Impact Assessments’ We monitor to establish the potential impact of school practice in terms of: ethnicity; religion or belief; socio-economic background; gender and gender identity; disability; sexual orientation; and age. Our monitoring includes: analysis of outcomes – Raiseonline/FFT/Shropshire data against local and national data; student mentoring; student questionnaires; parent feedback; staff feedback; lesson observation. 10. Choosing our Equality Objectives We have used the evidence base provided by our monitoring to help choose objectives that will: promote equality of opportunity for members of identified groups; eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation and; foster good relations between different groups in terms of: o ethnicity; o religion or belief; o socio-economic background; o gender and gender identity; o disability; o sexual orientation; and o age. Equality Objectives ISSUE ACTION REPONSIBILITY WHEN 1. Awareness raising: Via staff briefings, assemblies, staff NH Ongoing Ensuring that the Equality meetings, SMT meetings, etc Duty is at the heart of the School’s ethos 2. Monitoring and review: Analysis of outcomes, student NH and line Ongoing Ensuring that the Equality mentoring, student questionnaires, managers as Duty is at the heart of the parent feedback, staff feedback, lesson appropriate School’s ethos observation 3. Intervention: Follow on programme of positive action NH and members Ongoing Ensuring that we respond to to ensure that the Equality Duty of SMT as areas for development remains at the heart of the School’s appropriate ethos 4. Awareness raising and Use of PD days to give training on: ED/LE Ongoing specific training among - Aspergers via PD staff of different - Dyslexia days/ categories of SEND - Speech and language twilights difficulties - MLD Focus on deployment of TA support 5. Awareness raising of Delivery for PSHE programme and input JM/EF Timescale issues surrounding from outside agencies including theatre according gender/gender identity company to PSHE and sexual orientation SoWs 6. Analysis of whole- Data analysis within SEN with ED/LE Ongoing school performance implementation of intervention support data and individual as appropriate progress data from SEND to ensure appropriate intervention 7. Facilitating access to Analysis of pupil needs and provision in ED/LE Ongoing the curriculum based on order to draw up personalised SEND timetables 8. Further embedding the Deployment of a well-trained Pastoral NH/JM Ongoing work of the Pastoral team to foster tolerance surrounding: team in fostering good - ethnicity relations within the - religion School, encouraging a - gender supportive and tolerant - sexual orientation ethos, while challenging - socio-economic background discriminatory attitudes - age 9. Continuous monitoring SoWs are monitored and discussed with Individual line Line of SoWs and lessons to departmental leaders managers manager ensure that the Equality review Duty is fulfilled cycle 10. Ensure that the To follow the criteria established by NH in dialogue with Ongoing admissions policy for Shropshire Council as the School’s Local Admissions team at the School fulfils the Admissions Authority LA Equality Duty 11. Maintain a Hardship Hardship Fund is used to help with NH/PN Ongoing Fund in order to allow regard to purchase of: students full access to - uniform including PE kit curricular and extra- - school equipment, including curricular activities calculators, technology materials including for catering inter al - plus the participation in school visits/events such as the Prom and school discos Maintain links with the Drapers to facilitate access to some funding Maintain programme of events (discos/ FTA etc) for fundraising Targeted use of Pupil Premium funding with intervention 12. Staff employment To follow rigorously the LA’s NH/PN Ongoing policy employment policy and guidelines to mitigate against discrimination 13. Consideration of needs Nomination of staff/student champions NH with SMT From surrounding the to highlight the needs of the diverse champions March Equality Duty groups and to ensure their needs are 2012 represented. Ethnicity – staff and students (lower school and 6th form) Religion or belief – staff and students (lower school and 6th form) Socio-economic background – staff Gender/gender identity – staff Disability – staff and students (lower school and 6th form) Sexual orientation – staff and students (6th form) Age – staff ANNEX A Background to the Equality Act: ‘The Importance of Teaching’ White Paper – Equalities’ Impact Assessment Annex A Section 1: Background to the Equality Act: ‘The Importance of Teaching’ White Paper – Equalities Impact Assessment What is the Government saying? 1. It is unacceptable for educational attainment to be affected by gender, disability, race, social class or any other factor unrelated to ability. Every child deserves a good education and every child should achieve high standards. 2. It is a unique sadness of our times that we have one of the most stratified and segregated school systems in the world, with a gap between our private schools and the state system wider than in almost any other developed country. 3. On an ethical level this gap between the rich and poor is indefensible. But reducing inequality is not only the guiding ethical imperative of our education policy; it is an absolute necessity if we are to complete economically on the global stage. 4. They will ensure that schools are sharply accountable for the progress and success of all their pupils. 5. The wide and unacceptable gaps in achievement in our school system – between rich and poor children, between those from different ethnic backgrounds and between those who have Special Educational Needs and those who do not – were highlighted in the European Court of Human Rights report, How Fair is Britain? 6. They are determined to raise the achievement and wellbeing of children with Special Educational Needs and disabled children. 7. Put simply, the system is not working for some of our poorest and most disadvantaged children. Attainment remains pitifully low for too many children with Special Educational Needs and for some of those from particular ethnic backgrounds. There is no good reason for boys to continue to underachieve relative to girls. Tackling such inequality of opportunity is the fundamental driver of our reforms and the source of our urgency in doing so. 8. In our education system, it is still far too often the case that deprivation is destiny. For after prior attainment and Special Educational Needs are taken into account, poverty is the best predictor of a child’s success, both up to the end of compulsory schooling and on into adult life. 9. Using eligibility for free school meals (FSM) as a proxy for disadvantage, we see that at the national level, attainment gaps between FSM and non-FSM pupils have narrowed somewhat over the past ten years. Nevertheless, progress has been painfully slow and those gaps that remain are unacceptably large. 10. Note: a child eligible for FSM was half as likely to achieve five or more GCSEs at grade A* to C, including English and Mathematics, than a child from a wealthier background; persistent absentees were nearly three times more likely to be eligible for FSM than pupils who attend school regularly; FSM pupils were around three times more likely to receive either a permanent or fixed period exclusion than children who were not eligible. 11. Just as FSM children are, on average, failing to achieve their full potential, the same can be said of those children who have been identified as having a Special Educational Need, the best measure available to identify pupils with a disability. 12. Note: in 2008/09, for example, just 16.5% of all pupils with SEN achieved five or more GCSEs at grades A* to C, including English and Mathematics. This compares to 61.3% of pupils without any SEN who achieved this measure. 13. Note: where a child has a Special Educational Need and is also eligible for free school meals, the equivalent figure was just 8.9%, making these pupils almost seven times less likely to achieve five good GCSEs than pupils who fall into neither category. In addition to poorer academic attainment, pupils with SEN who are also eligible for FSM are almost twice as likely to be permanently excluded as pupils with SEN from wealthier backgrounds. 14. It means that the measures they are determined to implement to provide additional and tailored support to disadvantaged pupils – at the forefront of which is the Pupil Premium – it is hoped, will have a positive impact on a significant minority of poorer pupils with SEN. 15. Currently, just over a fifth in secondary schools are from minority ethnic groups. And like SEN and FSM children, children from certain ethnic backgrounds face an uphill struggle in terms of their educational attainment and longer term life chances. Attainment gaps between all pupils and pupils from certain minority ethnic backgrounds are narrowing, but those gaps that remain are significant and a matter for ongoing concern. 16. Note: of particular concern is that, even after controlling for FSM and SEN, African Caribbean pupils are 2.6 times more likely to be excluded than White pupils. The attainment of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller children remains stubbornly at the wrong end of attainment tables grouped by ethnicity. 17. Note: after Gypsy, Roma and Traveller children, the lowest GCSE performance of any group defined by gender, free school meals status and ethnicity is that of White British boys eligible for FSM. 18. The gender attainment gap is a near-universal feature of all developed educational systems and has been roughly constant over several decades, with girls consistently achieving better results than boys. Gender differences are apparent throughout compulsory education and are reflected in attainment and exclusions data. 19. Important gender differences also appear in subject choices. Girls are more likely to take arts, languages and humanities subjects and boys to take geography, physical education and information technology. Girls are subsequently more likely to stay on in full-time education, (82% of girls compared to 72% of boys). The greatest gender divide concerns exclusions, for which boys account for 80% of permanent exclusions, and 75% of temporary exclusions. 20. Where FSM eligibility is a factor, they see that both boys and girls achieve less success than their peers, though the problem is more start for FSM boys. Boys are also more likely than girls to be identified as having SEN: 70% of children with identified SEN are boys; boys are four times more likely than girls to be identified as having a behavioural, emotional and social difficulty. 21. They recognise and applaud the important and valued role schools have always played in supporting the wider health and wellbeing of every child in their care. They have every expectation that this vital role will continue as teachers recognise the need to deal with individual circumstances which can block a child’s readiness to learn and their ability to succeed. 22. At the heart of our Coalition’s Programme for Government is a commitment to spend more money on the education of our poorest children. The Pupil Premium, as part of a fairer, more equitable and more transparent funding system, will give every school and teacher the resources they need to deliver excellence for the poorest pupils, without prescribing how. 23. Because headteachers and teachers, rather than central government, are best placed to make the right decisions for their pupils, they will not tell schools how to use the Premium. Schools will decide how best to spend it based on their assessment of the specific needs of the disadvantaged pupils in their school. But they will expect schools to ensure that children struggling with the basics get the extra support they need, as soon as they need it, so that these pupils do not fall irretrievably behind their peers. 24. Nothing makes more difference to the progress and attainment of any child or young person than good teachers and good teaching. That said, there is particularly strong evidence about which interventions and approaches are effective in supporting disadvantaged children to realise their potential. These include tracking the progress of individual pupils, one-to-one tuition, catch-up programmes in English and Mathematics and good parental engagement. So to aid schools in effectively targeting their Pupil Premium on the inequalities of opportunity that they experience, the Department for Education will make evidence available on its website about what works to raise the attainment of specific pupil groups, including different ethnic backgrounds, boys and girls, and those with Special Educational Needs. 25. Schools should feel accountable to parents, pupils and communities for how well they serve their pupils – what we call democratic accountability. 26. Schools will be held to account for every child’s attainment and progress as performance tables will include headline indicators that reflect the key priorities of raising the attainment threshold, improving progress for all pupils, and raising the attainment of disadvantaged children. 27. The current accountability regime incentivises schools to focus on pupils at the borderline of particular performance indicators, at the expense of lower attainers. One study has shown, for instance, that as the number of borderline pupils in a school increased, the low and very low achieving pupils in that school – disproportionately represented by pupils eligible for FSM, with SEN or from particular ethnic groups – did worse on both value-added measures and the national assessments on which school league tables were based. 28. They should expect schools to make as much effort with a lower achieving or higher achieving pupil as with one whose achievement means that they are close to a threshold. So, performance tables will show more clearly how well all pupils progress. 29. At the same time, they will seek to focus more firmly on how well the least advantaged do, and make sure that schools are fully held to account for using the Pupil Premium to raise the achievement of eligible children. So, they will report specifically in the performance tables on how well those eligible for the Pupil Premium do in the basics. 30. We are particularly concerned about the progress that the lowest attaining 20% of pupils make at school. 31. We know that pupils’ choices at age 14 lead to inequalities in later life. Too often girls opt out of science-based subjects and boys move away from humanities and languages. 32. Currently, a pitiful 3.8% of pupils eligible for FSM achieve this broad core (EBac), compared to 16.6% of wealthier pupils, so introducing it as a new performance measure is a significant raising of the bar for secondary schools. But it is right that we set out these aims for every pupil, because the evidence shows that a broad education and well-respected qualifications stand young people in good stead. 33. Schools should not – and will not – be prevented from offering pupils suitable technical or vocational qualifications, as long as this is complemented by a base of core academic knowledge. 34. They know that pupils from certain backgrounds are more likely to be excluded than others. The data show that children who are eligible for free school meals are around three times more likely to receive either a permanent or fixed period exclusion than children form wealthier backgrounds. Boys are also three and a half times more likely to be permanently excluded than girls. Pupils with SEN account for 72% of all exclusions. Certain ethnic groups appear to be disproportionately represented among excluded children. 35. Over time, they think there is a strong case for organising exclusion and alternative provision differently. We want to make it clear that headteachers have the authority to exclude pupils where there is no other option. But they want to balance this authority with clear responsibility for both the quality of the education their excluded pupils receive and what they achieve. Schools will be free to exclude any pupil they wish. But they will then be responsible for finding and funding alternative provision themselves. 36. In order to ensure the decision to exclude is never abused, schools will be held accountable for the pupils they exclude. The academic performance of excluded children would count in the school performance tables. This would create a strong incentive for schools to avoid exclusion where possible, and ensure that where it does happen it is appropriate and pupils receive good quality alternative provision. 37. All pupils should be able to learn in safety, but we know that bullying is a significant problem for many children and young people: this is unacceptable. In a recent study, pupils who reported being bullied during a three year period did substantially worse in their GCSEs than those who reported no bullying. 38. They are clear that a school’s anti-bullying approach must not be blind to race, gender, sexuality, faith or disability. A headteacher who is effective in handling bullying ought to know whether there is a particular prevalence of any types of prejudice-based bullying in the school, and be shaping his or her approach in response to make sure any such incidents are taken especially seriously. ANNEX B Equality Act 2010 : Briefing Paper Annex B Equality Act 2010: Briefing Paper Contents Chapter 1 Overview of the Act Who and what the Act applies to Protected characteristics Unlawful behaviour Special provisions for disability Definition of parents Chapter 2 General Exceptions Exceptions for: Single sex schools; Schools with a religious character; Curriculum; Acts of Worship How the Act affects policy on: Uniforms; Bullying Chapter 3 Strand Specific Factors Including: Single sex classes; Single sex sport; the relationship between Sexual Orientation and Religion Chapter 4 Disability New provisions in relation to disability Definition of disability Unlawful behaviour with regard to disabled pupils Reasonable adjustments and when they have to be made Schools’ duties around accessibility Chapter 5 Public Sector Equality Duty and Specific Duties The new general duty The new specific duties Chapter 6 Local Authorities and Education Functions How the Act applies to: The establishment and closure of schools; The School Curriculum; School Admissions; School Transport; Acts of Worship Reasonable Adjustments for Disabled Pupils Chapter 7 Enforcement How the Act is enforced: Court proceedings; Tribunal proceedings for disability cases The burden of proof The ‘Questions Procedure’ Chapter 8 Education-Specific Employment Provisions What the Act covers Reasonable Adjustments Enquiries about health and disability Exceptions for schools with a religious character Chapter 1 - Overview of the Act On 1 October 2010 the Equality Act 2010 replaced all existing equality legislation such as the Race Relations Act, Disability Discrimination Act and Sex Discrimination Act. The Equality Act 2010 provides a single, consolidated source of discrimination law. It simplifies the law and it extends protection from discrimination in some areas. For the most part the effect of the new law is the same as the previous legislation it replaces – meaning that schools cannot unlawfully discriminate against pupils because of their sex, race, disability, religion or belief or sexual orientation. However, there are some changes that will have an impact on schools as follows: New Protection in Schools Protection against discrimination is now extended to pupils who are pregnant or have recently given birth, or who are undergoing gender reassignment. As gender reassignment is rare and a sensitive issue, schools may wish to view advice provided by a number of transgender organisations; links to them can be found here: http://gires.org.uk/GIRES011211.pdf Health Related Questions for Job Applicants It is now unlawful for employers to ask health-related questions of applicants before job offer, unless the questions are specifically related to an intrinsic function of the work. This means that schools should no longer, as a matter of course, require job applicants to complete a generic health questionnaire as part of the application procedure. There are potential implications in relation to establishing teachers’ fitness and ability to teach (as required by the Health Standards (England) Regulations 2003). Schools may decide to ask necessary health questions after job offer. In any case, they should ensure that any health- related questions are targeted, necessary and relevant to the job applied for. Positive Action New Positive Action provisions will allow schools to target measures that are designed to alleviate disadvantages experienced by, or to meet the particular needs of, pupils with particular protected characteristics. Such measures will need to be a proportionate way of achieving the relevant aim. Previously a school providing – for example - special catch-up classes for Roma children or a project to engage specifically with alienated Asian boys might have been discriminating unlawfully by excluding children who didn’t belong to these groups. Victimisation It is now unlawful to victimise a child for anything done in relation to the Act by their parent or sibling. Auxiliary Aids The Act will extend the reasonable adjustment duty to require schools to provide auxiliary aids and services to disabled pupils. However this duty is not due to come into effect until a later date, following consultation on implementation and approach. Equality Duties The three existing general and specific equality duties on schools (race, disability and gender) to eliminate discrimination and advance equality of opportunity have been combined into a single, less bureaucratic and more outcome-focused duty extending to all of the protected characteristics. Schools: who and what the Act applies to The Act makes it unlawful for the responsible body of a school to discriminate against, harass or victimise a pupil or potential pupil in relation to admissions, in the way it provides education for pupils, in the way it provides pupils access to any benefit, facility or service, or by excluding a pupil or subjecting them to any other detriment. The “responsible body” is the governing body or the local authority for maintained schools in England and Wales. In practice, any persons acting on behalf of the responsible body – including employees of the school – are liable for their own discriminatory actions, and the responsible body is also liable unless it can show that it has taken all reasonable steps to stop the individual from doing the discriminatory action or from doing anything of that kind. The Act deals with the way in which schools treat their pupils and prospective pupils: the relationship between one pupil and another is not within its scope. It does not therefore bear directly on such issues as racist or homophobic bullying by pupils. However, if a school treats bullying which relates to a protected ground less seriously than other forms of bullying – for example dismissing complaints of homophobic bullying or failing to protect a transgender pupil against bullying by classmates – then it may be guilty of unlawful discrimination. The school’s liability not to discriminate, harass or victimise does not end when a pupil has left the school, but will apply to subsequent actions connected to the previous relationship between school and pupil, such as the provision of references on former pupils or access to “old pupils” communications and activities. Protected Characteristics It is unlawful for a school to discriminate against a pupil or prospective pupil by treating them less favourably because of their sex, race, disability, religion or belief sexual orientation gender reassignment, pregnancy or maternity Association It is also unlawful to discriminate because of the sex, race, disability, religion or belief, sexual orientation or gender reassignment of another person with whom the pupil is associated. So, for example, a school must not discriminate by refusing to admit a pupil because his parents are gay men or lesbians. It would be race discrimination to treat a white pupil less favourably because she has a black boyfriend. Perception It is also unlawful to discriminate because of a characteristic which you think a person has, even if you are mistaken. So a teacher who consistently picks on a pupil for being gay will be discriminating because of sexual orientation whether or not the pupil is in fact gay. The new Act extends protection against discrimination on grounds of pregnancy or maternity to pupils, so it will be unlawful – as well as against education policy – for a school to treat a pupil unfavourably because she is pregnant or a new mother. Protection for transgender pupils against gender reassignment discrimination is also new in this Act. A person’s age is also a protected characteristic in relation to employment and the Act will extend this (except for children) to the provision of goods and services, but this 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. Unlawful behaviour The Act defines four kinds of unlawful behaviour – direct discrimination; indirect discrimination; harassment and victimisation. Direct discrimination occurs when one person treats another less favourably, because of a protected characteristic, than they treat – or would treat – other people. This describes the most clear-cut and obvious examples of discrimination – for example if a school were to refuse to let a pupil be a prefect because she is a lesbian. Indirect discrimination occurs when a “provision, criterion or practice” is applied generally but has the effect of putting people with a particular characteristic at a disadvantage when compared to people without that characteristic. An example might be holding a parents’ meeting on a Friday evening, which could make it difficult for observant Jewish parents to attend. It is a defence against a claim of indirect discrimination if it can be shown to be “a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim”. This means both that the reason for the rule or practice is legitimate, and that it could not reasonably be achieved in a different way which did not discriminate. Harassment has a specific legal definition in the Act - it is “unwanted conduct, related to a relevant protected characteristic, which has the purpose or effect of violating a person’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that person”. This covers unpleasant and bullying behaviour, but potentially extends also to actions which, whether intentionally or unintentionally, cause offence to a person because of a protected characteristic. Thus, if a teacher belittles a pupil and holds her up to ridicule in class because of a disability she has, this could lead to a court case alleging unlawful harassment. The same unacceptable treatment directed at a lesbian pupil, or based on a pupil’s religion, could lead to a case claiming direct discrimination. The practical consequences for the school, and the penalties, would be no different. Victimisation occurs when a person is treated less favourably than they otherwise would have been because of something they have done (“a protected act”) in connection with the Act. A protected act might involve, for example, making an allegation of discrimination or bringing a case under the Act, or supporting another person’s complaint by giving evidence or information, but it includes anything that is done under or in connection with the Act. Even if what a person did or said was incorrect or misconceived, for example based on a misunderstanding of the situation or of what the law provides, they are protected against retaliation unless they were acting in bad faith. The reason for this is to ensure that people are not afraid to raise genuine concerns about discrimination because of fear of retaliation. As well as it being unlawful to victimise a person who does a protected act, a child must not be victimised because of something done by their parent or a sibling in relation to the Act. This means that a child must not be made to suffer in any way because, for example, her mother has made a complaint of sex discrimination against the school, or her brother has claimed that a teacher is bullying him because he is gay, whether or not the mother or brother was acting in good faith. If a pupil has himself or herself done a protected act – such as making a complaint of discrimination against a teacher – then the child’s own good faith will be relevant. For example, if the parent’s complaint is based on information from her son and the son was deliberately lying, it is not victimisation for the school to punish him in the same way as it might do any other dishonest pupil. Unless it can be clear that the mother was also acting in bad faith (for example that she knew her son was lying) it would still be unlawful to victimise her for pursuing the complaint. Special provisions for Disability The law on disability discrimination is different from the rest of the 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. Chapter 2 General Exceptions Curriculum The content of the school curriculum has never been caught by discrimination law, and this Act now states explicitly that it is excluded. However the way in which a school provides education – the delivery of the curriculum – is explicitly included. Excluding the content of the curriculum ensures that schools are free to include a full range of issues, ideas and materials in their syllabus, and to expose pupils to thoughts and ideas of all kinds, however challenging or controversial, without fear of legal challenge based on a protected characteristic. But schools will need to ensure that the way in which issues are taught does not subject individual pupils to discrimination. Some examples can best explain the distinction between content and delivery of the curriculum as the Act applies: A boy complains that it is sex discrimination for him to be required to do a module on feminist thought. A girl complains that putting The Taming of the Shrew on the syllabus is discriminatory; or a Jewish pupil objects to having to study The Merchant of Venice. A fundamentalist Christian objects to the teaching of evolution in science lessons unbalanced by the teaching of “intelligent design”. A school does a project to mark Gay Pride Week. A heterosexual pupil claims that he finds this embarrassing and that it discriminates against him on grounds of his sexual orientation; a Christian or a Muslim pupil objects to it on religious grounds. A Muslim pupil objects to the works of Salman Rushdie being included on a reading list. All of the above are examples of complaints against the content of the curriculum, and none of them would give rise to a valid complaint under the Act. However, valid complaints that the curriculum is being delivered in a discriminatory way might well arise in situations such as the following: A teacher uses the fact that The Taming of the Shrew is a set book to make derogatory generalisations about the inferiority of women, in a way which makes the girls in the class feel belittled. Or, in teaching The Merchant of Venice, he encourages the class to laugh at a Jewish pupil. In class discussions, black pupils are never called on and the teacher makes it clear that she is not interested in their views. Girls are not allowed to do design technology or boys are discouraged from doing food technology. This is not intrinsic to the curriculum itself but to the way in which education is made available to pupils. The girls’ cricket team are not allowed equal access to the cricket nets, or the boys’ hockey team is given far better resources than the girls’ team. This would be less favourable delivery of education rather than to do with the sports curriculum per se. Acts of worship There is a general exception, which applies to all schools, to the religion or belief provisions which allows all schools to have acts of worship or other forms of collective religious observance. This means the daily act of collective worship, which for maintained schools is mandatory and should be of a broadly Christian nature, is not covered by the religion or belief provisions. The exception means that schools will not be acting unlawfully if they do not provide an equivalent act of worship for other faiths. Schools are also free to celebrate religious festivals and could not be claimed to be discriminating against children of other faiths if, for example, they put on a nativity play at Christmas or hold a celebration to mark other religious festivals such as Diwali or Eid. Uniforms The Equality Act does not deal specifically with school uniform or other aspects of appearance such as hair colour and style, and the wearing of jewellery and make-up, but the general requirement not to discriminate in the treatment of pupils applies here as in relation to other aspects of school policy. It is for the governing body of a school to decide whether there should be a school uniform and other rules relating to appearance, and if so what they should be. This flows from the duties placed upon the governing body by statute to manage the school. Long-standing guidance makes it clear that schools must have regard to their obligations under the Human Rights Act 1998 (it is here rather than in relation to equality law that most case law has been determined to date) as well as under equality law, and that they need to be careful that blanket uniform policies do not discriminate because of race, religion or belief, gender, disability, gender reassignment or sexual orientation. Consequently it will be up to the individual school to consider the implications their uniform requirements have on their pupils. For example, differences in dress requirements for girls and boys are standard, and where they don’t have significantly more detrimental effects on one sex or the other they are unlikely to be regarded as discriminatory. But it might be unlawful if, for example, the uniform was considerably more expensive for girls than for boys. Schools need also to consider whether flexibility is needed in relation to uniform to meet the needs of a pupil who is undergoing gender reassignment. It may also be discrimination because of disability if, for example, a child who has a skin condition which means he cannot wear nylon is not allowed to wear cotton trousers as part of the uniform. There are potential issues around school uniform policies and religion and belief. Schools should be sensitive to the needs of different cultures, races and religions and act reasonably in accommodating these needs, without compromising important school policies, such as school safety or discipline. It is well established that it would be race discrimination to refuse to let a Sikh child wear a turban because of a school policy requiring that caps be worn, but legal judgments have not supported the absolute right of people of faith to wear garments or jewellery to indicate that faith. Bullying The issue of bullying motivated by prejudice is a particularly sensitive issue. Although the relationship between one pupil and another is not within the scope of the Act (see paragraph 1.7), schools need to ensure that all forms of prejudice-motivated bullying are taken seriously and dealt with equally and firmly. The Department for Education has published specific advice for schools on bullying. There is also advice available from a number of organisations on homophobic and transphobic bullying. Stonewall have a wealth of material on homophobic bullying on their website: http://www.stonewall.org.uk/at_school/education_for_all/default.asp and the Gender Identity Research and Education Society (GIRES) have published “Guidance on Combating Transphobic Bullying in Schools” http://www.gires.org.uk/transbullying.php Chapter 3 –Special issues for some protected characteristics This chapter covers all protected characteristics apart from disability, which is covered separately in Chapter 4. It outlines general concepts applicable to all or most characteristics and specific exceptions where they apply. It also provides some definitions of protected characteristics and the interaction between some of those characteristics. Apart from those areas discussed in chapter 1 and highlighted again in this chapter, the Act does not contain significant changes in the law with regard to the majority of discrimination legislation applicable to schools. Schools that already employ non-discriminatory practices and adhere to government guide lines should already be acting within the spirit and letter of the Act and should need to make only minor adjustments, if any. However, it may be useful to review the school’s compliance in the light of this guidance. Gender reassignment Protection from discrimination because of gender reassignment in schools is new for pupils in the Equality Act, although school staff are already protected. This means that for the first time it will be unlawful for schools to treat pupils less favourably because of their gender reassignment and that schools will have to factor in gender reassignment when considering their obligations under the new Equality Duty. Gender reassignment is defined in the Equality Act as applying to anyone who is undergoing, has undergone or is proposing to undergo a process (or part of a process) of reassigning their sex by changing physiological or other attributes. This definition means that in order to be protected under the Act, a pupil will not necessarily have to be undertaking a medical procedure to change their sex but must be taking steps to live in the opposite gender, or proposing to do so. A glossary of terminology related to the transgender field can be found on the Gender Identity Research and Education Society website, here: http://www.gires.org.uk/mglossary.php The protection against discrimination because of gender reassignment now matches the protection because of sexual orientation in schools. That is protection from direct and indirect discrimination and victimisation, which includes discrimination based on perception and on association. Schools need to make sure that all gender variant pupils, or the children of transgender parents, are not singled out for different and less favourable treatment from that given to other pupils. They should check that there are no practices which could result in unfair, less favourable treatment of such pupils. For example, it would be unlawful discrimination for a teacher to single out a pupil undergoing gender reassignment and embarrass him in front of the class because of this characteristic. It is relatively rare for pupils – particularly very young pupils – to want to undergo gender reassignment, but when a pupil does so a number of issues will arise which will need to be sensitively handled. There is evidence that the number of such cases is increasing and schools should aim to address any issues early on and in a proactive way. Further guidance is available from the GIRES website: http://www.gires.org.uk Race The definition of race includes colour, nationality and ethnic or national origins. Schools need to make sure that pupils of all races are not singled out for different and less favourable treatment from that given to other pupils. Schools should check that there are no practices which could result in unfair, less favourable treatment of such pupils. For example, it would be unlawful for a selective school to impose a higher standard for admission to applicants from an ethnic minority background, or for a school to impose stricter disciplinary penalties on African Caribbean boys than they do in similar circumstances to children from other backgrounds. Segregating pupils by race or ethnicity Segregation of pupils by race is always direct discrimination. It would thus be unlawful for a school to put children into sets, or into different sports in PE classes, according to their ethnicity. This stipulation in the Act is to make it clear that claims that segregated treatment is “separate but equal” cannot be sustained where race is concerned. It does not mean that schools cannot take positive action to deal with particular disadvantages affecting children of one racial or ethnic group, where this can be shown to be a proportionate way of dealing with such issues. Race Equality Duty – schools previously had a statutory duty which required them to take proactive steps to tackle racial discrimination, and promote equality of opportunity and good race relations. Under the Equality Act, this has been replaced by the general equality duty and the new specific duties – covered in chapter 5 of this guidance. Religion or Belief Please also see the section on schools with a religious character in Chapter 2. The Equality Act defines “religion” as being any religion, and “belief” as any religious or philosophical belief. A lack of religion or a lack of belief are also protected characteristics. These definitions are fairly broad and the concepts of religion and belief therefore must be construed in accordance with Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights and with existing case law. This means that to benefit from protection under the Act, a religion or belief must have a clear structure and belief system, and should have a certain level of cogency, seriousness and cohesion, and not be incompatible with human dignity. “Religion” will include for example all the major faith groups and “belief” will include non- religious worldviews such as humanism. Religion will also include denominations or sects within a religion, such as Catholicism or Protestantism within Christianity. It is not however intended to include political beliefs such as Communism or support for any particular political party. Lack of religion or belief is also included in the definition of “religion or belief”. This means it will be unlawful to discriminate against someone on the grounds that they do not adhere, or sufficiently adhere, to a particular religion or belief (even one shared by the discriminator), or indeed any religion or belief at all – such as, for example, an atheist. Discrimination because of religion or belief means treating a person less favourably than another person is or would be treated, because of their religion or belief, or the religion or belief they are perceived to have, their lack of religion or belief, or the religion or belief, or lack of it, of someone else with whom they are associated. The Equality Act makes it clear that unlawful religious discrimination can include discrimination against another person of the same religion or belief as the discriminator. This is to ensure that any potential discrimination between, e.g. Orthodox and Reform Jews, or Shia and Sunni Muslims, would also be unlawful. So if a Muslim pupil is not chosen for a part in a school play because it is thought to be inappropriate for a girl of that faith, that will be discrimination even if the decision was taken by a Muslim teacher. Nor could a Muslim teacher choose one Muslim pupil over another for a part in the play because he thinks the chosen pupil is a more observant member of his faith and should be rewarded. The definition of discrimination on grounds of religion or belief does not address discrimination on any other ground (such as race, sex or sexual orientation). The Act does not allow a teacher to discriminate against a pupil because of his own personal religious views about homosexuality or the role of women for example. This is explained more thoroughly later in this chapter, in the section entitled Sexual Orientation and Religion or Belief. Sex/Gender Please also see the section on single sex schools in Chapter 2. Schools need to make sure that pupils of one sex are not singled out for different and less favourable treatment from that given to other pupils. They should check that there are no practices which could result in unfair, less favourable treatment of boys or girls. For example, it would be unlawful for a school to require girls to learn needlework while giving boys the choice between needlework and woodwork classes. Gender Equality Duty - Schools previously had a statutory duty to promote gender equality and have a gender equality scheme in place. Under the Equality Act, this has been replaced by the general equality duty and the new specific duties – this is covered in chapter 5 of this guidance. Single sex classes Whilst there is no express exemption in the same way that there is for same-sex schools, it is not necessarily unlawful to have some single-sex classes in a mixed school, provided that this does not give children in such classes an unfair advantage or disadvantage when compared to children of the other sex in other classes. For example, it would be lawful to teach sex education to single-sex classes, as long as the classes were provided to both boys and girls, but unlawful to provide remedial classes just for boys who needed help with reading without doing the same for girls in a similar position. A positive action initiative specifically to help boys in such a position would not necessarily be unlawful but the school would need to be able to show that this was a proportionate way of dealing with a specific disadvantage experienced by boys and connected to their gender. It would not be proportionate simply to refuse help to girls with reading difficulties in order to help boys as a group catch up with the higher average attainment of girls. Pupils undergoing gender reassignment should be allowed to attend the single sex class that accords with the gender role in which they identify. Single sex sport Although the Equality Act forbids discrimination in access to benefits, facilities and services, the Act does contain an exception which permits single-sex sports. It applies to participation in any sport or game, or other activity of a competitive nature, where the physical strength, stamina or physique of the average woman (or girl) would put her at a disadvantage in competition with the average man (or boy). But while this exception might permit a mixed school to have a boys-only football team, the school would still have to allow girls equal opportunities to participate in comparable sporting activities. The judgment on whether girls would be at a physical disadvantage needs to take into account the particular group in question, so it is much less likely to justify segregated sports for younger children. Where separate teams exist, it would be unlawful discrimination for a school to treat one group less favourably – for example by providing the boys’ hockey or cricket team with much better resources than the girls’. Pregnancy and maternity Protection for pupils from discrimination because of pregnancy and maternity in schools is new in the Equality Act. This means that for the first time it will be unlawful for schools to treat a pupil less favourably because she becomes pregnant or has recently had a baby. Schools will also have to factor in pregnancy and maternity when considering their obligations under the new Equality Duty (see chapter 5). Although the specific provision in the Act is new, schools should already be aware of their specific responsibilities to any pupils in their care who become pregnant or parents. Previous government guidance issued in 2001 (DfES/0629/2001 on the ‘Education of School Age Parents’) and in the Absence and Attendance Codes Guidance for Schools and Local Authorities (January 2009, page 8), which is available on teachernet make it clear that schools must not exclude a pupil simply on the grounds of her becoming pregnant but should allow her no more than 18 calendar weeks authorised absence to cover the time immediately before and after the birth of her child. This is in order to ensure that she is reintegrated into education as quickly as possible. Local Authorities have a duty under the Education Act 1996 to provide suitable education for all pupils for whom they are responsible including pupils of compulsory school age who become parents. ‘Suitable education’ must meet the needs of the pupil and should take account of their age, ability, aptitude and individual needs including any special educational needs they may have. The 2001 guidance emphasises the importance of support from re- integration and education welfare officers to enable pregnant pupils and school age mothers to complete their education. Schools already have a duty of care to their pupils and we do not expect them to have to alter their policies because of this new legal provision, providing they are not excluding pregnant pupils or requiring them to study at home or in alternative provision when they wish to remain in school, and are letting them return to education when they have had their babies. Further guidance on dealing with issues arising from schoolgirls becoming pregnant can be found here: http://www.education.gov.uk/childrenandyoungpeople/healthandwellbeing/teenagepregnanc y/a0066808/teenage-pregnancy-guidance Sexual orientation Schools need to make sure that all gay, lesbian or bi-sexual pupils, or the children of gay, lesbian or bi-sexual parents, are not singled out for different and less favourable treatment from that given to other pupils. They should check that there are no practices which could result in unfair, less favourable treatment of such pupils. For example, it would be unlawful for a school to refuse to let a gay pupil become a prefect because of his sexual orientation. Sexual Orientation and Religion or Belief There is a relationship between protection because of sexual orientation and protection of religious freedom. Protection in the area of discrimination on grounds of religion or belief and the right to manifest one’s religion or belief is set out earlier in this chapter. Many people’s views on sexual orientation/sexual activity are themselves grounded in religious belief. Some schools with a religious character have concerns that they may be prevented from teaching in line with their religious ethos. Teachers have expressed concerns that they may be subject to legal action if they do not voice positive views on same sex relationships, whether or not this view accords with their faith. There are also concerns that schools with a religious character may teach and act in ways unacceptable to lesbian, gay and bisexual pupils and parents when same sex relationships are discussed because there are no express provisions to prevent this occurring. Schools with a religious character, like all schools, have a responsibility for the welfare of the children in their care and to adhere to curriculum guidance. It is not the intention of the Equality Act to undermine their position as long as they continue to uphold their responsibilities in these areas. If their beliefs are explained in an appropriate way in an educational context that takes into account existing guidance on the delivery of Sex and Relationships Education (SRE) and Religious Education (RE), then schools should not be acting unlawfully. However, if a school conveyed its belief in a way that involved haranguing, harassing or berating a particular pupil or group of pupils then this would be unacceptable in any circumstances and is likely to constitute unlawful discrimination. Where individual teachers are concerned, having a view about something does not amount to discrimination. So it should not be unlawful for a teacher in any school to express personal views on sexual orientation provided that it is done in an appropriate manner and context (for example when responding to questions from pupils, or in an RE or Personal, Social, Health and Economic education (PSHE) lesson). However, it should be remembered that school teachers are in a very influential position and their actions and responsibilities are bound by much wider duties than this legislation. A teacher’s ability to express his or her views should not extend to allowing them to discriminate against others. Chapter 4 - Disability As mentioned in Chapter 1, and as in previous equality legislation, the disability provisions in this Act are different from those for other protected characteristics in a number of ways. The overriding principle of equality legislation is generally one of equal treatment - i.e. that you must treat a black person no less well than a white person, or a man as favourably as a woman. However, the provisions relating to disability discrimination are different in that you may, and often must, treat a disabled person more favourably than a person who is not disabled and may have to make changes to your practices to ensure, as far as is reasonably possible, that a disabled person can benefit from what you offer to the same extent that a person without that disability can. So in a school setting the general principle is that you have to treat male and female, black and white, gay and straight pupils equally - but you may be required to treat disabled pupils differently. Discrimination is also defined rather differently in relation to disability New provisions relating to disability The disability provisions in the Equality Act mainly replicate those in the former Disability Discrimination Act (DDA). There are some minor differences as follows: Unlike the DDA the Equality Act does not list the types of day to day activities which a disabled person must demonstrate that they cannot carry out, thus making the definition of disability less restrictive for disabled people to meet. Failure to make a reasonable adjustment can no longer be defended as justified. The fact that it must be reasonable provides the necessary test. Direct discrimination against a disabled person can no longer be defended as justified – bringing it into line with the definition of direct discrimination generally. Schools and local authorities will (when provisions are implemented) be under a duty to supply auxiliary aids and services as reasonable adjustments where these are not being supplied through Special Educational Needs (SEN) statements. Definition of disability The Act defines disability as when a person has 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.’ Some specified medical conditions, HIV, multiple sclerosis and cancer are all considered as disabilities, regardless of their effect. The Act sets out details of matters that may be relevant when determining whether a person meets the definition of disability. Long term is defined as lasting, or likely to last, for at least 12 months. Unlawful behaviour with regard to disabled pupils Chapter 1 explains the general definitions in the Act of direct discrimination, indirect discrimination, victimisation and harassment. The rather different and more complex provisions that apply in the case of disability are set out here. Direct Discrimination: A school must not treat a disabled pupil less favourably simply because that pupil is disabled – for example by having an admission bar on disabled applicants. A change for schools in this Act is that there can no longer be justification for direct discrimination in any circumstances. Under the DDA schools could justify some direct discrimination – if was a proportionate means of meeting a legitimate aim. What the change means is that if a school discriminates against a person purely because of his or her disability (even if they are trying to achieve a legitimate aim) then it would be unlawful discrimination as there can be no justification for their actions. Indirect Discrimination: A school must not do something which applies to all pupils but which is more likely to have an adverse effect on disabled pupils only – for example having a rule that all pupils must demonstrate physical fitness levels before being admitted to the school – unless they can show that it is done for a legitimate reason, and is a proportionate way of achieving that legitimate aim. Discrimination arising from disability: A school must not discriminate against a disabled pupil because of something that is a consequence of their disability – for example by not allowing a disabled pupil on crutches outside at break time because it would take too long for her to get out and back. Like indirect discrimination, discrimination arising from disability can potentially be justified. Harassment: A school must not harass a pupil because of his disability – for example, a teacher shouting at the pupil because the disability means that he is constantly struggling with class-work or unable to concentrate. Disability Equality Duty – schools previously had a statutory duty which required them to take proactive steps to tackle disability discrimination, and promote equality of opportunity for disabled pupils. Under the Equality Act, this has been replaced by the general equality duty and the new specific duties – covered in chapter 5 of this guidance. Reasonable adjustments and when they have to be made The duty to make reasonable adjustments applies only to disabled people. For schools the duty is summarised as follows: Where something a school does places a disabled pupil at a disadvantage compared to other pupils then the school must take reasonable steps to try and avoid that disadvantage. Schools will be expected to provide an auxiliary aid or service for a disabled pupil when it would be reasonable to do so and if such an aid would alleviate any substantial disadvantage that the pupil faces in comparison to non-disabled pupils. Schools are not subject to the other reasonable adjustment duty to make alterations to physical features because this is already considered as part of their planning duties. (Please note : the duty to provide auxiliary aids is new to schools and will not be introduced until a later date to allow time for planning and informed implementation) A minor change for schools is that a failure to make a reasonable adjustment cannot now be justified, whereas under the DDA it could be. However this change should not have any practical effect due to the application of the reasonableness test – i.e. if an adjustment is reasonable then it should be made and there can be no justification for why it is not made. Schools will not be expected to make adjustments that are not reasonable. In addition to having a duty to consider reasonable adjustments for particular individual disabled pupils, schools will also have to consider potential adjustments which may be needed for disabled pupils generally as it is likely that any school will have a disabled pupil at some point. However, schools are not obliged to anticipate and make adjustments for every imaginable disability and need only consider general reasonable adjustments - e.g. being prepared to produce large font papers for pupils with a visual impairment even though there are no such pupils currently admitted to the school. Such a strategic and wider view of the school’s approach to planning for disabled pupils will also link closely with its planning duties. The Act does not set out what would be a reasonable adjustment or a list of factors to consider in determining what is reasonable although a code of practice produced by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) will include factors that should be taken into account. It will be for schools to consider the reasonableness of adjustments based on the circumstances of each case. However, factors a school may consider when assessing the reasonableness of an adjustment may include the financial or other resources required for the adjustment, its effectiveness, its effect on other pupils, health and safety requirements and whether aids have been made available through the Special Educational Needs route. Cost will inevitably play a major part in determining what is reasonable and it is more likely to be reasonable for a school with substantial financial resources to have to make an adjustment with a significant cost, than for a school with fewer resources. For example, a small rural primary school may not be able to provide specialised IT equipment for any disabled pupils who may need it and it may not be reasonable for the school to provide that equipment. On the other hand, a much larger school might reasonably be expected to provide it. Often, though, effective and practicable adjustments for disabled pupils will involve little or no cost or disruption and are therefore very likely to be reasonable for a school to have to make. Schools generally will try to ensure that disabled pupils can play as full a part as possible in school life and the reasonable adjustments duty will help support that. However, there will be times when adjustments cannot be made because to do so would have a detrimental effect on other pupils and would therefore not be reasonable – for example, if a school put on a geology field trip which necessarily involved climbing and walking over rough ground and after fully considering alternatives to accommodate a disabled pupil in a wheelchair who could not take part it determined that there was no viable alternative or way of enabling the disabled pupil to participate or be involved, it would not have to cancel the trip as originally planned. This is unlikely to constitute direct discrimination or failure to make a reasonable adjustment The reasonable adjustments duties on schools are intended to complement the accessibility planning duties and the existing SEN statement provisions which are part of education legislation, under which Local Authorities have to provide auxiliary aids to pupils with a statement of special educational need. The duty applies in respect of all disabled pupils but many will have an SEN statement and auxiliary aids provided by the LA and so may not require anything further. However, if the disabled pupil does not have a statement (or the statement doesn’t provide the necessary aid) then the duty to consider reasonable adjustments and provide such auxiliary aids will fall to the school (after the relevant provisions come into force). Schools’ duties around accessibility for disabled pupils Schools and LAs need to carry out accessibility planning for disabled pupils. These are the same duties as previously existed under the DDA and have been replicated in the Equality Act 2010. Schools must implement accessibility plans which are aimed at: increasing the extent to which disabled pupils can participate in the curriculum; improving the physical environment of schools to enable disabled pupils to take better advantage of education, benefits, facilities and services provided; and improving the availability of accessible information to disabled pupils. Schools will also need to have regard to the need to provide adequate resources for implementing plans and must regularly review them. An accessibility plan may be a freestanding document but may also be published as part of another document such as the school development plan. OFSTED inspections may include a school’s accessibility plan as part of their review. Local Authorities’ duties around accessibility for disabled pupils LAs must, for the schools for which they are responsible, prepare accessibility strategies based on the same principle as the access plans for schools. Guidance on the planning duties, which offers advice to schools and LAs on how to develop plans and strategies and gives examples on approach, was published in 2002 and can be accessed at: https://www.education.gov.uk/publications/standard/publicationDetail/Page1/LEA%200168 %202002 Further guidance on this and all other areas of disability in schools is available in the “Implementing Disability Discrimination Act in Schools and Early Years Settings” pack, which although it refers to the repealed DDA, contains helpful advice for schools in the area of disability and is still currently available at: http://publications.education.gov.uk/default.aspx?PageFunction=productdetails&PageMode= publications&ProductId=DFES%200160%202006& Chapter 5 - The Public Sector Equality Duty The Equality Act 2010 introduced a single Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) (sometimes also referred to as the ‘general duty’) that applies to public bodies, including maintained schools and Academies, and which extends to all protected characteristics - race, disability, sex, age, religion or belief, sexual orientation, pregnancy and maternity and gender reassignment. This combined equality duty came into effect in April 2011. It has three main elements. In carrying out their functions, public bodies are required to have due regard to the need to: Eliminate discrimination and other conduct that is prohibited by the Act, Advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and people who do not share it, Foster good relations across all characteristics - between people who share a protected characteristic and people who do not share it. Where schools are concerned, age will be a relevant characteristic in considering their duties in their role as an employer but not in relation to pupils. All public bodies were previously bound by three separate sets of duties to promote disability, race and gender equality. The new simpler, less bureaucratic, PSED has replaced those three duties. With the new PSED, as with the previous general duties, schools are subject to the need to have due regard to the three elements outlined above. What having “due regard” means in practice has been defined in case law and means giving relevant and proportionate consideration to the duty. For schools this means: Decision makers in schools must be aware of the duty to have “due regard” when making a decision or taking an action and must assess whether it may have implications for people with particular protected characteristics. Schools should consider equality implications before and at the time that they develop policy and take decisions, not as an afterthought, and they need to keep them under review on a continuing basis. The PSED has to be integrated into the carrying out of the school’s functions, and the analysis necessary to comply with the duty has to be carried out seriously, rigorously and with an open mind – it is not just a question of ticking boxes or following a particular process. Schools can’t delegate responsibility for carrying out the duty to anyone else. Having “due regard” The duty to have “due regard” to equality considerations means that whenever significant decisions are being made or policies developed, thought must be given to the equality implications. The significance of those implications – and the amount of thought that needs to be devoted to them - will vary depending on the nature of the decision. For example, a decision to change the time of school assembly is unlikely to have a significant impact on any particular group. On the other hand, deciding when and where to have a school trip may raise a range of considerations: are the facilities for boys and girls equivalent; are they accessible to disabled pupils; does the date cut across any religious holidays and so exclude some pupils, and so on. An initiative to raise pupil attainment in a single sex school might not have any gender implications, but there could be race issues that need to be considered. It is good practice for schools to keep a written record to show that they have actively considered their equality duties and asked themselves relevant questions. Publishing it will help to demonstrate that the due regard duty is being fulfilled. There is no legal requirement to produce a formal equality analysis document, although for key decisions this might be a helpful tool. If a school does not record its consideration of the general equality duty when making a decision or carrying out a particular function, this does not automatically mean that the duty to have ‘due regard’ has not been met. However, if challenged, it will be easier for a school to demonstrate that the duty has been met if a record has been made at the time. The duty only needs to be implemented in a light-touch way, proportionate to the issue being considered. The Government has also introduced new specific duties, which are intended to help public authorities to meet their obligations under the PSED. The PSED is set out on the face of the Act, while the specific duties are set out in secondary legislation (the Equality Act 2010 (Specific Duties) Regulations 2011). What compliance with the specific duties will mean for schools This section is intended to provide schools with practical advice on what is expected of them under the specific duties regulations. Nothing in this advice is intended to be prescriptive – schools have freedom to meet the duties in ways appropriate to their own set of circumstances. Rather, this section should be used as a helpful guide to what schools might wish to do to demonstrate that they are complying with the Equality Duties. The specific duties are meant to help public bodies fulfil their obligations under the general duty. They are designed to be flexible, light-touch and proportionate rather than being bureaucratic or a “tick-box” exercise. The emphasis is on transparency - making information available so that the school’s local community can see how the school is advancing equality in line with the PSED, and what objectives it is using to make this happen. The specific duties regulations require schools: (a) to publish information to demonstrate how they are complying with the Public Sector Equality Duty, and (b) to prepare and publish equality objectives. Schools have until 6 April 2012 to publish their initial information and first set of objectives. They will then need to update the published information at least annually and to publish objectives at least once every four years. The Equality Duty is proportionate, and complying with it will look different for organisations of different sizes and with different levels of resources. Therefore, in terms of publishing information and setting equality objectives, the requirements of the duty will not be the same for a small primary school as they are for a large secondary school. Data about employees will not need to be published where a public authority has fewer than 150 employees. This means that for the great majority of schools, only pupil-related data will need to be published. However, if a school decides that making public some employee- related statistics would help them to demonstrate that they are complying with the general duty they may choose to do so, so long as this does not conflict with principles of data protection. Broadly speaking, schools must ensure that individuals are not able to be identified through the publication of data. The Department for Education does not generally publish information which relates to fewer than 3 people (school staff or pupils) but it will be for schools to determine whether the data they wish to publish will be suitable or not. The full rules to which DfE adheres on the publication of data can be viewed here: http://www.education.gov.uk/rsgateway/ns-sp-confidentialityv3.pdf. The government is clear that the new duties should not be overly burdensome on schools. Schools will not be required to collect any statistical data which they do not already collect routinely. A large amount of data is already collected by schools - RAISE online, which presents performance data for individual schools broken down by a number of relevant characteristics (sex, race, and also SEN which can be seen as a rough proxy for disability) and which includes comparative analysis with national statistics and with comparable schools, will be a particularly useful source. It is also important to note that the published information does not necessarily have to be statistical data. Many other kinds of information can be used to show how the school is promoting equality, such as publishing its policies online, or publishing minutes of Governors’ meetings (see “Publishing Information” below). 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 new 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. Publishing Information It is probably helpful to consider what kind of information will be relevant to showing how each of the three limbs of the duty is being addressed. Eliminating discrimination and other conduct that is prohibited by the Act Evidence that the school is aware of the requirements of the Act and determined to comply with the non-discrimination provisions will be relevant here. This might include copies of any of a range of policies (for example, the behaviour policy or anti-bullying policy, or the recruitment or pay policies) where the importance of avoiding discrimination and other prohibited conduct is expressly noted. If there has been a meeting of staff or of Governors where they are reminded of their responsibilities under the Act, a note of that meeting could also be useful evidence that due regard is being had to this part of the duty. Evidence of staff training on the Equality Act would also be appropriate, as would a note of how the school monitors equality issues. Advancing equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and people who do not share it Advancing equality of opportunity involves, in particular:- (a) removing or minimising disadvantages suffered by people which are connected to a particular characteristic they have (for example disabled pupils, or gay pupils who are being subjected to homophobic bullying); (b) taking steps to meet the particular needs of people who have a particular characteristic (for example enabling Muslim pupils to pray at prescribed times) and (c) encouraging people who have a particular characteristic to participate fully in any activities (for example encouraging both boys and girls, and pupils from different ethnic backgrounds, to be involved in the full range of school societies). Attainment data which shows how pupils with different characteristics (eg boys or girls) are performing will obviously be relevant here, in particular in helping to identify whether there are areas of inequality which may need to be addressed. RAISE online contains much detailed analysis by relevant characteristics. To show that due regard is being had to the importance of advancing equality of opportunity, schools will also need to include information about the steps they have taken in response to their analysis of the available data – for example, work being done to support disabled children, or special steps taken to help boys improve their performance in writing or girls to catch up in science, or to boost the English language skills of bi-lingual children from certain minority ethnic groups. None of this needs to be complicated; most of the information will already be contained in easily available documents such as reports to the governing body. Evidence which shows e.g. a decline in bullying of disabled children, or a decrease in homophobic or transphobic bullying, would also be relevant here. For some protected characteristics – religion, and particularly sexual orientation, for example - statistical data about pupils is less likely to be available, and it may well not be considered appropriate to try to obtain it. More general data about the issues associated with these particular protected characteristics, from which schools should be able to identify possible issues which may affect their own pupils, will be easily available however. For example, information from groups such as Stonewall or GIRES about the experience of gay or transgender pupils in schools generally may help schools to understand how best to support their own LGBT pupils. Such information (or links to/extracts from it) may be included among a school’s published material, alongside information about any initiatives taken, or policies developed, to promote equality for particular groups (such as measures to address racist or homophobic bullying). Fostering good relations across all characteristics - between people who share a protected characteristic and people who do not share it It should be particularly easy for schools to demonstrate that they are fostering good relations since promoting good relations between people and groups of all kinds is inherent in many things which they do as a matter of course. It may be shown through – for example - aspects of the curriculum which promote tolerance and friendship, or which share understanding of a range of religions or cultures; the behaviour and anti-bullying policies; assemblies dealing with relevant issues; involvement with the local communities; twinning arrangements with other schools which enable pupils to meet and exchange experiences with children from different backgrounds, or initiatives to deal with tensions between different groups of pupils within the school itself. Engagement When deciding what to do to tackle equality issues, schools may want to consult and engage both with people affected by their decisions - parents, pupils, staff, members of the local community – and with people who have special knowledge which can inform the school’s approach, such as disability equality groups and other relevant special interest organisations. Evidence of this engagement can also usefully be included in the published material showing how the duty has been addressed. How to Publish Information It will be up to schools themselves to decide in what format they publish equality information. For most schools, the simplest approach may be to set up an equalities page on their website where all this information is present or links to it are available. The regulations are not prescriptive and it will be entirely up to schools to decide how they publish the information, so long as it is accessible to those members of the school community and the public who want to see it. Equality Objectives Schools are free to choose the equality objectives that best suit their individual circumstances and contribute to the welfare of their pupils and the school community. Objectives are not intended to be burdensome or a ‘tick box’ exercise, but they do need to be specific and measurable. They should be used as a tool to help improve the school experience of a range of different pupils. A school should set as many objectives as it believes are appropriate to its size and circumstances; the objectives should fit the school’s needs and should be achievable. Although it is no longer a requirement for schools to have an equality action plan, those schools which do already have one (or more) of these in place, may find it helpful to continue with this approach and adapt it to take into account the new extent of the duty. Equality objectives may arise from analysis schools have carried out on their published data or other information, where they have identified an area where there is potential for improvement on equalities, or they may – for example - be set in anticipation of a change in local circumstances. Some examples might be: - to increase participation by black pupils in after school activities; - to narrow the gap in performance of disabled pupils; - to increase understanding between religious groups; - to reduce the number of homophobic incidents; - to raise attainment in English for boys; - to encourage girls to consider non-stereotyped career options; - to anticipate the needs of incoming pupils from a new group, such as traveller children. Publication of information in future years should include evidence of the steps being taken and progress made towards meeting the equality objectives that the school has already set itself. Chapter 6 - Local Authorities and Education Functions The provisions in the Act extend to Local Authorities (LAs) generally in relation to their functions as a public body but this guidance does not explain those general provisions and LAs should refer to the EHRC guidance on service provision here for more details of how they will be affected. However, there are some specific provisions and implications in respect of their education functions and these are covered in this chapter. Establishment and closure of schools As with schools generally, the provisions on age discrimination do not apply to LAs in relation to their functions in the provision of schools under section 14 of the Education Act 1996 and in the establishment, alteration and closure of schools. This means that, for example, an LA would not be acting unlawfully by closing a secondary school when it leaves the nearby primary school open. Similarly, the sex and religion or belief discrimination provisions do not extend to LAs in relation to establishing schools – so for example, it would not be unlawful if an LA establishes a school for girls, following local demand, without at the same time also establishing a school for boys for which there is no demand - or similarly, if it establishes a school of one religion but not another. However, this exemption does not override an LA’s duties under section 14 of the Education Act – that it must ensure that there are sufficient schools providing appropriate education to meet demand. School Curriculum The discrimination provisions on age and religion or belief do not extend to anything an LA does in relation to the school curriculum – so, for example, an LA would not be unlawfully discriminating on religion or belief grounds if it provided curriculum support/advice to schools in its area in subjects which some parents, due to their religion, may object to such as history or science – or on age grounds if (for instance) the LA support for primary schools is more varied and comprehensive than that for secondary schools. School Admissions LAs play a key role in the school admissions process in maintained schools. The discrimination provisions on age do not extend to anything an LA does in relation to school admissions, so existing approaches in which admissions and transition between schools are determined by a child’s age will not be open to challenge. The discrimination provisions on religion or belief also do not extend to anything an LA does in relation to admissions to a school with a religious character. For example, a discrimination claim against an LA in respect of its role in the admissions process of a school with a religious character would fail, provided the school was over-subscribed and therefore lawfully prioritising places to children of its religion. School Transport LAs are responsible for the provision of transport to schools for pupils living in their authorities and the discrimination provisions on age and religion or belief do not extend to these transport arrangements. So, for example, an LA would not be unlawfully discriminating simply if it arranges a school bus to a faith school on the outskirts of town but not to another maintained school in the area – or if it lays on transport to a primary school but not to the nearby secondary school. Whilst the discrimination provisions in the above two equality areas do not extend to school transport, LAs still need to ensure that their transport polices do not unlawfully discriminate in relation to other protected characteristics or contravene the Human Rights Act and also that they comply with the statutory school transport guidance issued in 2007 following the Education and Inspections Act 2006. This makes clear, for example, that the same provision for transport should be made to enable the child of non-religious parents to attend a maintained school if the parent feels that this is important in view of his own belief system, as is made to enable the child of religious parents to attend a faith school which is not the nearest to their home. Acts of Worship The discrimination provisions on religion or belief do not extend to an LA’s involvement in or arrangement of acts of worship or other religious observance in or on behalf of schools for which it is responsible. Reasonable Adjustments for Disabled Pupils Chapter 4 covered the responsibility on schools in relation to providing reasonable adjustments for disabled pupils. LAs, in relation to their education functions, are under the same duty - to have accessibility strategies, provide reasonable adjustments for school pupils, with the aim of avoiding disadvantage, and providing auxiliary aids and services (when introduced). Chapter 7 – How the Act is enforced The enforcement mechanisms contained in this Act are similar to those under existing legislation. This chapter summarises very briefly how they work in relation to the education provisions of the Act. Discrimination claims – court proceedings Proceedings in relation to a contravention of the education provisions of this Act (other than disability – see below) will be brought in a county court by the pupil (or in the pupil’s name). Proceedings must be brought within 6 months of the date of the act to which the claim relates, although the county court has power to extend this period if it considers it just and equitable to do so. If the court rules that there has been a contravention then it has the power to award an appropriate remedy including an award of damages. Discrimination claims - tribunal proceedings for disability cases Specialist tribunals which have experience and knowledge of disability issues will hear cases of contravention of the education provisions on grounds of disability. In England this will be the First-tier Tribunal. Claims of discrimination or harassment against a pupil by a school will be made to the tribunal by the parent of the pupil. As with the county court for other types of discrimination, claims have to be brought within 6 months of the act to which the claim relates and the tribunal has the power to consider claims after that time has passed if it considers it just and equitable to do so. If the tribunal rules that there has been a contravention then it has the power to make an order of a remedy which it sees as appropriate. Such a remedy will be with a view to removing or reducing the adverse effect on the pupil concerned. However, the remedy in a disability case will not include payment of compensation. It is expected that an education remedy will be the most appropriate – for example, if the tribunal finds that a school has discriminated against a disabled pupil by failing to provide extra help needed to compensate for her disability, it may order the school to put in place the necessary measures to meet her needs and help her to catch up with other pupils. Burden of proof A new provision for schools is the reversal of the burden of proof in cases of contravention of the Act’s provisions in both court and tribunal cases. This brings education cases into line with the rest of the legislation. It means that if a complainant can establish facts which could lead to the conclusion that an act of discrimination has taken place, then it will be down to the respondent (in this case the school) to show that the reason for what happened was something other than discrimination. However, such defensive reasoning will only be necessary if a case is brought and schools are not expected to develop a body of evidence to justify their everyday actions. The ‘Questions Procedure’ The Act extends to schools procedures which already exist elsewhere for complainants to ask questions in respect of a contravention of the Act before a formal case is taken to the County Court. This means that if a pupil believes that he/she has been discriminated against or harassed by their school then, before deciding whether to bring a case, they can ask questions of the school about their treatment. Special forms have been developed for this purpose and these, together with advice on using them, are available here. It is hoped that this procedure will help to establish the facts in a way which may make it possible to address problems at local level and reduce the number of cases going to a court or an employment tribunal. Where cases do go further, it will be helpful to have a common understanding of the issues involved, and this can speed up the process. Questions asked by a pupil (either on the prescribed forms or otherwise) and the answer by the school can be used as part of evidence in any subsequent court or tribunal case. A court or tribunal can draw an adverse inference from a lack of a response after eight weeks or from a vague or evasive answer by the school – which means that giving such a response, or none, would not be in the school’s best interests. The only exception to this would be if the school can show that giving a different response would have an effect on any criminal matters or proceedings. Chapter 8 – Education Specific Employment Provisions The general provisions on employment apply to schools in their role as employers and this is briefly summarised below. However, schools should consult the EHRC’s guidance and Codes of Practice for Employers for more detailed information on the employment provisions of the Act and how they will be affected as an employer (see links at the end of this chapter). In addition, there are some specific employment issues just for schools and a new employment provision on health questioning which will affect schools and these are summarised below. What the Act covers All of the protected characteristics, including age, are covered by the employment provisions of the Act. As an employer, a school must not discriminate against a potential employee in respect of whether to offer a job or the terms on which it offers a job, and it must not discriminate against an existing employee in respect of the benefits, facilities and services it offers to its employees including training opportunities, promotion or dismissal. For example, a school must not demand higher/better qualifications from female applicants for teaching posts than it does for male applicants. It could not dismiss a black teacher who was discovered using school facilities for personal use if it also discovered a white teacher using the same facilities but did not dismiss him – unless the reason for the different treatment could be demonstrated to be something other than their race. Harassment against potential or existing employees in relation to any of the protected characteristics is also unlawful, as is victimisation of any person who has done a protected act. Reasonable Adjustments Schools as employers are under the same duties to make reasonable adjustments in relation to disability for their employees or potential employees as they are for their pupils, as set out in Chapter 4. They must make reasonable adjustments to arrangements or practices to alleviate disadvantage and must also take reasonable steps to provide any necessary auxiliary aids and services. They are also under the duty to consider alterations to physical features of the school where that is reasonable to avoid disadvantage caused by disability. Enquiries about health and disability A new provision introduced by the Act makes it unlawful for an employer to enquire about the health of an applicant for a job until a job offer has been made, unless the questions are specifically related to an intrinsic function of the work - for example ensuring that applicants for a PE teaching post have the physical capability to carry out the duties. There are potential implications in relation to establishing teachers’ fitness and ability to teach (as required by the Health Standards (England) Regulations 2003). Schools are advised to review their existing practices to ensure they are complying with both the Health Standards Regulations and Section 60 of the Equality Act. Schools should no longer, as a matter of course, require job applicants to complete a generic ‘all encompassing’ health questionnaire as part of the application procedure. Instead schools should ask any health questions which are necessary to ensure that the applicant can carry out an intrinsic function of the work for the post they have applied for. Schools may decide to ask necessary health questions after job offer. In either case, they should ensure that any health-related questions are targeted, necessary and relevant to the job applied for. In addition, these provisions will also affect recruitment practices under the Safeguarding Children and Safer Recruitment in Education Guidance, section 4.34 of which advises schools to seek out past sickness records of candidates before interview. In order to ensure compliance with these new provisions, schools are advised not to seek out past sickness records until they have made a conditional job offer. Employment exceptions for schools with a religious character There are some specific exceptions to the religion or belief provisions of the Equality Act for employment by schools designated as having a religious character. For the purposes of legislation, these schools fall into two broad categories – Voluntary Aided (VA) is one category and Voluntary Controlled (VC) and Foundation schools together form the other. VA schools have more autonomy than VC/ Foundation schools, especially in terms of employment. Academies, free schools and independent schools with a religious character generally operate under conditions which mirror those in VA schools. All of the situations described here are provided for by existing legislation which has not been changed by the Equality Act. Voluntary Controlled and Foundation Schools with a religious character Headteachers At VC and foundation schools, when appointing a head teacher the governing body may take into account any candidate’s suitability and ability to preserve and develop the religious character of the school. The head may also be a reserved teacher – see below. Reserved Teachers VC and foundation schools must include reserved teachers where the number of teaching staff is more than two. Reserved teachers are selected according to their competence to teach RE according to the tenets of the school’s faith and are specifically appointed to do so. This may include the headteacher. The number of reserved teachers must not exceed one-fifth of the teaching staff (including the headteacher). For these purposes, where the total number of teaching staff is not a multiple of five, it will be deemed to be the next higher multiple of five. For example, if there were eight teachers at a school, for this purpose the total number would be deemed to be ten and the maximum number of reserved teachers would be two. These teachers must not be appointed unless the foundation governors are satisfied that they are suitable and competent to give religious education. The foundation governors can insist on dismissing a reserved teacher who fails to give suitable and efficient religious education. Other Teachers and Non-teaching Staff Non-teaching staff and teachers other than those appointed as reserved teachers must not be treated unfavourably in any way because of their religion. This means they cannot be dismissed because of their religious opinions or attendance at religious worship, they cannot be required to deliver RE and cannot be subjected to a detriment for not giving RE or attending worship. VC/Foundation Schools with a religious character becoming Academies A VC school or a foundation school with a religious character which chooses to convert to Academy status will continue to be governed by the provisions described above which apply to VC and foundation schools. Voluntary Aided schools, Independent schools, Academies and Free Schools with a religious character Teaching Staff (including Headteachers) Voluntary Aided schools may apply religious criteria when recruiting or dismissing any member of their teaching staff. In recruitment, remuneration and promotion they may give preference to persons: whose religious opinions are in accordance with the tenets of the religion of the school; who attend religious worship in accordance with those tenets; or who give, or are willing to give, religious education in accordance with those tenets. In considering dismissals, the governing body may have regard to any conduct that is incompatible with the precepts, or with the upholding of the tenets, of the religion of the school. A teacher appointed to teach RE may be dismissed by the governing body without the consent of the local authority if he fails to give such education efficiently and suitably. Non-teaching staff Religious criteria may not be applied to any other posts in a VA school unless there is a genuine occupational requirement. This would need to be justified but might, for example, apply to a member of staff required to give pastoral care to pupils. Further information Detailed guidance on the employment provisions of the Act can be found here and the statutory Code of Practice on employment here. ANNEX C Equality Act 2010 : Definition of a Disability Annex C The Equality Act – What’s new for employers? Acas can help with your employment relations Every year Acas helps employers and employees from thousands of workplaces. That means we keep right up to date with today’s employment relations issues – such as discipline and grievance handling, preventing discrimination and communicating effectively in workplaces. Make the most of our practical experience for your organisation – find out what we can do for you. We inform We answer your questions, give you the facts you need and talk through your options. You can then make informed decisions. Contact us to keep on top of what employment rights legislation means in practice – before it gets on top of you. Call our helpline 08457474747or visit our website www.acas.org.uk. We advise and guide We give you practical know-how on setting up and keeping good relations in your organisation. Look at our publications on the website or ask our helpline to put you in touch with your local Acas adviser. Our Equality Direct helpline 08456003444advises on equality issues, such as discrimination. We train From a two-hour session on the key points of new legislation or employing people to courses specially designed for people in your organisation, we offer training to suit you. Look on the website for what is coming up in your area and to book a place or talk to your local Acas office about our tailored services. We work with you We offer hands-on practical help and support to tackle issues in your business with you. This might be through one of our well-known problem-solving services. Or a programme we have worked out together to put your business firmly on track for effective employment relations. You will meet your Acas adviser and discuss exactly what is needed before giving any go- ahead. Introduction– what’s new intheEqualityAct2010? This guide covers the provisions of the Equality Act which will become law in October 2010. As an employer, your obligations remain largely the same. The Act harmonises and replaces previous legislation (such as the Race Relations Act 1976 and the Disability Discrimination Act 1995) and ensures consistency in what you need to do to make your workplace a fair environment and to comply with the law. The Equality Act covers the same groups that were protected by existing equality legislation – age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, marriage and civil partnership and pregnancy and maternity. These are now called ‘protected characteristics’ and are described on pages 5-7 of this guide. The Act extends some protections to characteristics that were not previously covered, and also strengthens particular aspects of equality law. As a result, you may need to review and change some of your policies and practices. This guide will help you to identify where you need to take action. What’s new & what’s changed: at a glance Key Characteristic covered in existing legislation – no changes Characteristic covered in existing legislation Changes – but some changes Characteristic not covered in existing New legislation – now covered Characteristic not covered in existing legislation – still not covered Protected characteristics (PC) Marriage & Civil Reassignment Pregnancy & Partnership Orientation Religion or Maternity Disability Gender Sexual Belief Race Age Sex Types of discrimination DIRECT DISCRIMINATION Someone is treated less favourably than another person because of a protected characteristic (PC) DISCRIMINATION BY ASSOCIATION Direct discrimination against someone because they associate with New New New New another person who possesses a PC DISCRIMINATION BY PERCEPTION Direct discrimination against someone because the others think they New New New possess a particular PC INDIRECT DISCRIMINATION Can occur when you have a rule or policy that applies to everyone but New New disadvantages a particular PC HARASSMENT Employees can now complain of behaviour they find offensive even if it Changes Changes Changes Changes Changes Changes is not directed at them HARASSMENT BY A THIRD PARTY Employers are potentially liable for harassment of their staff by people New New New New New New they don’t employ VICTIMISATION Someone is treated badly because they have made/supported a Changes Changes Changes Changes Changes Changes Changes Changes Changes complaint or grievance under the Act Types of discrimination: definitions Direct discrimination Direct discrimination occurs when someone is treated less favourably than another person because of a protected characteristic they have or are thought to have (see perception discrimination below), or because they associate with someone who has a protected characteristic (see discrimination by association below). Annex 1 contains an example of direct discrimination. Discrimination by association Already applies to race, religion or belief and sexual orientation. Now extended to cover age, disability, gender reassignment and sex. This is direct discrimination against someone because they associate with another person who possesses a protected characteristic. See Annex 1 for an example of discrimination by association. Perception discrimination Already applies to age, race, religion or belief and sexual orientation. Now extended to cover disability, gender reassignment and sex. This is direct discrimination against an individual because others think they possess a particular protected characteristic. It applies even if the person does not actually possess that characteristic. See Annex 1 for an example of perception discrimination. Indirect discrimination Already applies to age, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation and marriage and civil partnership. Now extended to cover disability and gender reassignment. Indirect discrimination can occur when you have a condition, rule, policy or even a practice in your company that applies to everyone but particularly disadvantages people who share a protected characteristic. Indirect discrimination can be justified if you can show that you acted reasonably in managing your business, ie that it is ‘a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim’. A legitimate aim might be any lawful decision you make in running your business or organisation, but if there is a discriminatory effect, the sole aim of reducing costs is likely to be unlawful. Being proportionate really means being fair and reasonable, including showing that you’ve looked at ‘less discriminatory’ alternatives to any decision you make. Annex 1 contains an example of indirect discrimination. Harassment Harassment is “unwanted conduct related to a relevant protected characteristic, which has the purpose or effect of violating an individual’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that individual”. Harassment applies to all protected characteristics except for pregnancy and maternity and marriage and civil partnership. Employees will now be able to complain of behaviour that they find offensive even if it is not directed at them, and the complainant need not possess the relevant characteristic themselves. Employees are also protected from harassment because of perception and association (see page 3). Third party harassment Already applies to sex. Now extended to cover age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief and sexual orientation. The Equality Act makes you potentially liable for harassment of your employees by people (third parties) who are not employees of your company, such as customers or clients. You will only be liable when harassment has occurred on at least two previous occasions, you are aware that it has taken place, and have not taken reasonable steps to prevent it from happening again. See Annex 1 for an example of third party harassment. Victimisation Victimisation occurs when an employee is treated badly because they have made or supported a complaint or raised a grievance under the Equality Act; or because they are suspected of doing so. An employee is not protected from victimisation if they have maliciously made or supported an untrue complaint. There is no longer a need to compare treatment of a complainant with that of a person who has not made or supported a complaint under the Act. See Annex 1 for an example of victimisation. The Protected Characteristics: key points • Age • Disability • Gender Reassignment • Marriage and Civil Partnership • Pregnancy and Maternity • Race • Religion or Belief • Sex • Sexual Orientation The table in this guide shows the forms of discrimination which apply to each protected characteristic. Age (no change) The Act protects people of all ages. However, different treatment because of age is not unlawful direct or indirect discrimination if you can justify it, ie if you can demonstrate that it is a proportionate means of meeting a legitimate aim. Age is the only protected characteristic that allows employers to justify direct discrimination. The Act continues to allow employers to have a default retirement age of 65 until April 2011. Disability (new definition and changes) The Act has made it easier for a person to show that they are disabled and protected from disability discrimination. Under the Act, a person is disabled if they have a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities, which would include things like using a telephone, reading a book or using public transport. As before, the Act puts a duty on you as an employer to make reasonable adjustments for your staff to help them overcome disadvantage resulting from an impairment (eg by providing assistive technologies to help visually impaired staff use computers effectively). The Act includes a new protection from discrimination arising from disability. This states that it is discrimination to treat a disabled person unfavourably because of something connected with their disability (eg a tendency to make spelling mistakes arising from dyslexia). This type of discrimination is unlawful where the employer or other person acting for the employer knows, or could reasonably be expected to know, that the person has a disability. This type of discrimination is only justifiable if an employer can show that it is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim. Additionally, indirect discrimination now covers disabled people. This means that a job applicant or employee could claim that a particular rule or requirement you have in place disadvantages people with the same disability. Unless you could justify this, it would be unlawful. The Act also includes a new provision which makes it unlawful, except in certain circumstances, for employers to ask about a candidate’s health before offering them work. Gender reassignment (new definition) The Act provides protection for transsexual people. A transsexual person is someone who proposes to, starts or has completed a process to change his or her gender. The Act no longer requires a person to be under medical supervision to be protected – so a woman who decides to live as a man but does not undergo any medical procedures would be covered. It is discrimination to treat transsexual people less favourably for being absent from work because they propose to undergo, are undergoing or have undergone gender reassignment than they would be treated if they were absent because they were ill or injured. Marriage and civil partnership (no change) The Act protects employees who are married or in a civil partnership against discrimination. Single people are not protected. Pregnancy and maternity (no change) A woman is protected against discrimination on the grounds of pregnancy and maternity during the period of her pregnancy and any statutory maternity leave to which she is entitled. During this period, pregnancy and maternity discrimination cannot be treated as sex discrimination. See Annex 1 for an example. You must not take into account an employee’s period of absence due to pregnancy-related illness when making a decision about her employment. Race (no change) For the purposes of the Act ‘race’ includes colour, nationality and ethnic or national origins. Religion or belief (no change) In the Equality Act, religion includes any religion. It also includes a lack of religion, in other words employees or jobseekers are protected if they do not follow a certain religion or have no religion at all. Additionally, a religion must have a clear structure and belief system. Belief means any religious or philosophical belief or a lack of such belief. To be protected, a belief must satisfy various criteria, including that it is a weighty and substantial aspect of human life and behaviour. Denominations or sects within a religion can be considered a protected religion or religious belief. Discrimination because of religion or belief can occur even where both the discriminator and recipient are of the same religion or belief. Sex (no change) Both men and women are protected under the Act. Sexual orientation (no change) The Act protects bisexual, gay, heterosexual and lesbian people. Equality Act - Some key changes you need to know about Positive action As with previous equality legislation, the Equality Act allows you to take positive action if you think that employees or job applicants who share a particular protected characteristic suffer a disadvantage connected to that characteristic, or if their participation in an activity is disproportionately low. Annex 2 gives an example of positive action. The Equality Act 2010 from April 2011 allows you, if you want to, to take a protected characteristic into consideration when deciding who to recruit or promote. However, you can only do this when you have candidates who are “as qualified as” each other for a particular vacancy. This does not mean they have to have exactly the same qualifications as each other, it means that your selection assessment on a range of criteria rates them as equally capable of doing the job. You would also need some evidence to show that people with that characteristic face particular difficulties in the workplace or are disproportionately under-represented in your workforce or in the particular job for which there is a vacancy. In these circumstances, you can choose to use the fact that a candidate has a protected characteristic as a ‘tie-breaker’ when determining which one to appoint. You must not have a policy of automatically treating job applicants who share a protected characteristic more favourably in recruitment and promotion. This means you must always consider the abilities, merits, and qualifications of all of the candidates in each recruitment or promotion exercise. Otherwise, your actions would be unlawful and discriminatory – an example is given in Annex 2. Pre-employment health-related checks The Equality Act limits the circumstances when you can ask health-related questions before you have offered the individual a job. Up to this point, you can only ask health-related questions to help you to: • decide whether you need to make any reasonable adjustments for the person to the selection process The Holmwood Gazette is recruiting for a receptionist. The newspaper’s application form asks health questions. These are removed to prevent them being considered at this stage. The newspaper still asks applicants if they require any reasonable adjustments to the interview process to ensure everyone can give of their best during the meeting. However they do not take this information into account when deciding who to employ. • decide whether an applicant can carry out a function that is essential (‘intrinsic’) to the job If the newspaper has a job that requires a lot of heavy manual handling, they could ask a candidate with a mobility impairment whether they could manage handling heavy goods. However, the newspaper would not be able to ask the person how their impairment would affect them in getting to the workplace, because this is not something that is intrinsic to the job itself. • monitor diversity among people making applications for jobs The Gazette, which has a small proportion of disabled people working for it, may decide to ask applicants to state whether they have a disability, so that it can see whether its advertisements are reaching disabled people. • take positive action to assist disabled people The Gazette wishes to improve disabled people’s chances of being selected for its vacancies. Therefore it offers guaranteed interviews to disabled people. In order to identify disabled people, it asks on the application form whether the candidate has a disability, and makes clear why the question is being asked. • assure yourself that a candidate has the disability where the job genuinely requires the jobholder to have a disability A counselling service for people with mental health conditions requires a counsellor who has personal experience of mental health conditions. The Service advertises for candidates who have such a condition, it is allowed to ask at interview for the person to confirm that they have the condition. A jobseeker cannot take you to an Employment Tribunal if they think you are acting unlawfully by asking questions that are prohibited, though they can complain to the Equality and Human Rights Commission. However, if you do ask these prohibited questions, and not employ the applicant, they may bring a claim of discrimination against you and the burden of proof would be on you to demonstrate that you had not discriminated. Once a person has passed the interview and you have offered them a job (whether this is an unconditional or conditional job offer) you are permitted to ask appropriate health-related questions. Extension of employment tribunal powers Under previous legislation, an employment tribunal could make a recommendation that an employer must eliminate or reduce the effect on the claimant of any discrimination. The Act extends this power so that it will now be possible for a tribunal to make recommendations that an organisation takes steps to eliminate or reduce the effect of discrimination on other employees, not only on the claimant. For example, the tribunal might specify that an employer needs to train all staff about the organisation’s bullying and harassment policy. This power does not apply to equal pay cases. See Annex 2 for an example of how Tribunal recommendations may affect you. Equal pay – direct discrimination The Equality Act retains the framework that was previously in place. This means that in most circumstances a challenge to pay inequality and other contractual terms and conditions still has to be made by comparison with a real person of the opposite sex in the same employment. However, a change in the Equality Act allows a claim of direct pay discrimination to be made, even if no real person comparator can be found. This means that a claimant who can show evidence that they would have received better remuneration from their employer if they were of a different sex may have a claim, even if there is no-one of the opposite sex doing equal work in the organisation. This would be a claim under sex discrimination. Pay secrecy The Act makes it unlawful for you to prevent or restrict your employees from having a discussion to establish if differences in pay exist that are related to protected characteristics. It also makes terms of the contract of employment that require pay secrecy unenforceable because of these discussions. See Annex 2 for an example. An employer can require their employees to keep pay rates confidential from some people outside the workplace, for example a competitor organisation. Annex1 – Examples of types of discrimination Direct discrimination Paul, a senior manager, turns down Angela’s application for promotion to a supervisor position. Angela, who is a lesbian, learns that Paul did this because he believes the team that she applied to manage are homophobic. Paul thought that Angela’s sexual orientation would prevent her from gaining the team’s respect and managing them effectively. This is direct sexual orientation discrimination against Angela. Discrimination by association June works as a project manager and is looking forward to a promised promotion. However, after she tells her boss that her mother, who lives at home, has had a stroke, the promotion is withdrawn. This may be discrimination against June because of her association with a disabled person. Perception discrimination Jim is 45 but looks much younger. Many people assume that he is in his mid 20s. He is not allowed to represent his company at an international meeting because the Managing Director thinks that he is too young. Jim has been discriminated against on the perception of a protected characteristic. Indirect discrimination A small finance company needs its staff to work late on a Friday afternoon to analyse stock prices in the American finance market. The figures arrive late on Friday because of the global time differences. During the winter some staff would like to be released early on Friday aftenoon in order to be home before sunset – a requirement of their religion. They propose to make the time up later during the remainder of the week. The company is not able to agree to this request because the American figures are necessary to the business, they need to be worked on immediately and the company is too small to have anyone else able to do the work. The requirement to work on Friday afternoon is not unlawful indirect discrimination as it meets a legitimate business aim and there is no alternative means to available. Harassment Paul is disabled and is claiming harassment against his line manager after she frequently teased and humiliated him about his disability. Richard shares an office with Paul and he too is claiming harassment, even though he is not disabled, as the manager’s behaviour has also created an offensive environment for him. Steve is continually being called gay and other related names by a group of employees at his work. Homophobic comments have been posted on the staff noticeboard about him by people from this group. Steve was recently physically pushed to the floor by one member of the group but is too scared to take action. Steve is not gay but heterosexual; furthermore the group know he isn’t gay. This is harassment because of sexual orientation. Third party harassment Chris manages a Council Benefits Office. One of his staff, Frank, is gay. Frank mentions to Chris that he is feeling unhappy after a claimant made homophobic remarks in his hearing. Chris is concerned and monitors the situation. Within a few days the claimant makes further offensive remarks. Chris reacts by having a word with the claimant, pointing out that this behaviour is unacceptable. He considers following it up with a letter to him pointing out that he will ban him if this happens again. Chris keeps Frank in the picture with the actions he is taking and believes he is taking reasonable steps to protect Frank from third party harassment. Victimisation Anne makes a formal complaint against her manager because she feels that she has been discriminated against because of marriage. Although the complaint is resolved through the organisation’s grievance procedures, Anne is subsequently ostracised by her colleagues, including her manager. She could claim victimisation. Pregnancy and maternity Lydia is pregnant and works at a call centre. The manager knows Lydia is pregnant but still disciplines her for taking too many toilet breaks as the manager would for any other member of staff. This is discrimination because of pregnancy and maternity as this characteristic doesn’t require the normal comparison of treatment with other employees. ANNEX D The Quality Act – What’s new for employers? (ACAS) Annex 2 – Examples of some changes in the Equality Act Positive action Marina and Co are manufacturers of bathroom taps and showers. They notice that they have no female sales representatives compared to men and find out that female employees are put off because of the apparent ‘all male environment’ in the sales team, many of whom are former plumbers. Marina reckons from its market research that the sales team will be more profitable with female representatives because the purchasers of taps and showers are often women who would appreciate a more representative sales team. The company sets up a programme of training and development for female employees where they can develop their skills and knowledge to become proficient in this area. At the subsequent recruitment of sales representatives, nearly half of new recruits were female and early sales returns for the last quarter are up. Positive action in recruitment and selection Loughton on Sea, a London commuter town and seaside resort has a population of some 75,000 of which around 15% at the last Census were from minority ethnic groups. The local High School has 1500 pupils that reflect the Census demographics and 80 teachers. The school has clear equality policies in place and has trained staff in these issues including the Equality Act 2010. Furthermore it has robust anti bullying policies for all staff to identify and tackle inappropriate harassing behaviour. The school is recruiting for a new Head of Department. None of the existing 10 departmental heads are from minority communities. The school runs an interview selection process where all candidates are scored against a range of job based questions. The selection panel also objectively assess the experience and qualifications of each candidate. At the end of the selection process, two candidates have equal scores. Both are women. One of the women is black. The head thinks it important that the School’s senior leadership reflects the population of Loughton and the school, and so decides to use this provision in the Equality Act to appoint the black candidate. The Head gives feedback to the unsuccessful candidate and explains the position the School has taken and why. Employment Tribunal recommendations Simon is being harassed at work because he is undergoing gender reassignment. Simon complains and uses the company grievance procedures but nothing happens. Simon makes a claim to an Employment Tribunal who find in his favour. The Tribunal also make recommendations that the employer publishes an anti-harassment policy and trains all staff to understand it. Before the case came to Tribunal Simon leaves the company. Under the old legislation, the Tribunal could not make recommendations as Simon had left the employer. Now, even though Simon no longer works there, the Tribunal can make recommendations and the employer is still required to act on them for the benefit of other employees in the organisation. Pay secrecy in the workplace Rashid works in a small fabrication company assembling motorcycle seats. The owner of the company decides on pay for each employee and Rashid, who is disabled, reckons he is being paid less than George because of this. Rashid asks George how much he earns. The owner learns of this discussion and disciplines Rashid; this is unlawful and Rashid may have a claim for victimisation. Further information Acas website www.acas.org.uk The Equalities and Human Rights Commission www.equalityhumanrights.com The Government Equalities Office www.equalities.gov.uk Business Link www.businesslink.gov.uk Direct.Gov www.direct.gov.uk Information in this booklet has been revised up to the date of the last reprint – see date below. For more up-to-date information, please check the Acas website at www.acas.org.uk Legal information is provided for guidance only and should not be regarded as an authoritative statement of the law, which can only be made by reference to the particular circumstances which apply. It may, therefore, be wise to seek legal advice. Acas aims to improve organisations and working life through better employment relations. We provide up- to-date information, independent advice, high quality training and we work with employers and employees to solve problems and improve performance. We are an independent, publicly-funded organisation and many of our services are free. January 2011 Acas’ main offices: • National - London • East Midlands - Nottingham • East of England - Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk • London • North East - Newcastle upon Tyne • North West - Manchester • North West - Liverpool • South East - Paddock Wood, Kent • South East - Fleet, Hampshire • South West - Bristol • West Midlands - Birmingham • Yorkshire and Humber - Leeds • Scotland - Glasgow • Wales - Cardiff Helpline 08457 47 47 47 To view a full list of Acas publications go to www.acas.org.uk/publications 08457 38 37 36 - Acas Customer Services Team who can provide details of services and training in your area or visit www.acas.org.uk/training 08456 00 34 44 - for questions on managing equality in the workplace www.acas.org.uk ANNEX E Policy Statement: Race Equality The Thomas Adams School Policy Statement Race Equality 2011/12 Updated August 2011 RACE EQUALITY POLICY This policy has been produced in relation to the Equality Act (2010). The policy exists to help us systematically establish, implement, monitor and evaluate equality good practice across all areas of school life including racial equality. This policy reflects the “Every Child Matters” agenda which states that all pupils should: Be Healthy Stay Safe Enjoy and Achieve Achieve Economic Well-being Make a Positive Contribution and with the recognised Safeguarding Procedures within school, including Child Protection and Health and Safety. These highlight the need for this policy to take into account the Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning (SEAL): Self awareness Managing feelings Motivation Empathy Social Skills for all those working and learning within our school. Aims The school is committed to: Promoting racial equality, good race relations and challenging racial discrimination. This is reflected in all school policies, procedures, processes and practices. Ensuring that it is a place where everyone, irrespective of their race, colour, ethnic or national origin or their citizenship, feels welcome and valued and able to achieve their full potential. Protecting the rights of all pupils, staff, parents, governors and visitors to the school. Respecting and valuing differences between people. Meeting the diverse needs of pupils. Preparing pupils for life in a multiethnic society. Acknowledging the existence of racism and being proactive in tackling and eliminating racial discrimination. Implementation The school will implement the policy: By embedding the “Every Child Matters” qgenda in all areas of school life.. Through the inclusion of a race equality perspective in the School Development Plan and other appropriate strategic plans. By ensuring that a concern for race equality underpins every aspect of school life. By providing appropriate training for staff and governors. By ensuring that the whole school community is aware of, and understands, the need to promote race equality, develop good race relations and challenge discrimination. The school will monitor, review and evaluate the effectiveness of the Race Equality Policy against identified success criteria, in line with the school's overall monitoring, review and evaluation policy. Policy Planning and Review Policy Planning The school will ensure that: Questions to assess race equality impact and related targets will be built into school development planning. Ethnic monitoring data is used to monitor the attainment and progress of pupils, and to set targets for removing any identified disparities between different groups of pupils. Ethnic monitoring data on admissions, attendance, exclusions, sanctions and rewards, participation in educational visits, residential experiences and other extra-curricular activities, will be used to inform planning and decision making. Reviewing and Evaluating Policies The school will ensure that racial equality issues arising from reviews and evaluations will be used to inform planning and decision-making. Responsibilities The governing body is responsible: The governing body will: For ensuring that the school fulfils its legal Maintain an overview of implementation of responsibilities including those arising from the race equality policy and racial equality the Race Relations Amendment Act and that will be a regular agenda item at governor the school complies with Race Relations meetings. legislation, including the general and specific In participation with school management, duties arising from the Equality Act 2010. will be proactive in promoting racial equality With the assistance of the Headteacher, for and good race relations and tackling ensuring that the policy and its related unlawful racial discrimination. procedures and strategies, are implemented. In collaboration with school managers, will encourage, support and enable all pupils and staff to reach their full potential. The Headteacher, with the support of the The Headteacher is responsible: Senior Management Team, will: With the governing body, for ensuring that Co-ordinate racial equality work. the policy and its related procedures and Deal with reported incidents of racism and strategies are implemented. racial harassment. For ensuring that all staff are aware of their Ensure compliance with the Race Equality responsibilities under the policy and that Policy and Equal Opportunities Policy. they are given appropriate training and support to enable them to fulfil these responsibilities. For taking disciplinary action against staff or pupils who racially discriminate. Teaching staff are responsible for: All staff are aware of: Ensuring that pupils from all racial groups How to deal with racial incidents, and how to are included in all activities and have full identify and challenge racial bias and access to the curriculum. stereotyping. Promoting racial equality and diversity Their duty to promote race equality, promote through teaching and the relationships they good race relations and challenge develop with pupils, staff and the wider discrimination. community. The need to keep themselves up to date with Race Relations legislation. Visitors and contractors are responsible for complying with the school's race equality policy. Racism, Racial Harassment and School Ethos The school: Opposes all form of racism, racial prejudice, racial harassment and racial discrimination. Publicly values and supports diversity through a range of activities including the PSHE and Citizenship curriculum, assemblies and performances. Caters for the dietary and dress requirements of different religious groups and enables pupils to observe festivals and events relevant to their faith. Will actively promote good personal and community relations by fostering a positive atmosphere of mutual respect and trust among pupils from all racial groups. Has procedures for dealing with, recording and reporting incidents of racial harassment and bullying that are consistent with LEA policies and guidance. Will ensure that incidents of racial discrimination or racial harassment involving pupils will be dealt with promptly, firmly and consistently and in accordance with the school's disciplinary procedures for pupils, and that action will be taken to support victims. Will work with the LEA and other partners to tackle racism and racial harassment. Will ensure that all staff will be given appropriate training and support to enable them to deal effectively with racist incidents, racial harassment and bullying. Will ensure that all pupils, staff and parents are made aware of the procedures for dealing with racism and racial harassment and that such behaviour is always unacceptable. Will ensure that incidents of racial discrimination or racial harassment involving staff will be dealt with in accordance with the school's discipline and grievance procedures. Admission and Attendance This complements the Admissions and Attendance Policy. The school will ensure that: Admissions policy and criteria do not disadvantage pupils from particular racial groups and that action will be taken to remove any inequalities that are identified. Comprehensive information about the pupils' ethnicity, first language, and religion will be included in all admissions forms. The admissions process will be monitored by ethnicity to ensure that it is administered consistently and fairly to all pupils. Parents/guardians are aware of their responsibilities in relation to pupil attendance and absence as indicated in the Home School Agreement. Staff who follow up absence are aware of and sensitive to relevant community issues. Provision will be made for leave of absence for religious observance and this includes staff as well as pupils. Provision will be made for pupils on extended leave to cover missed work. Attainment, Progress and Assessment This complements the Teaching and Learning Policy. The school: Has high expectations of all pupils and is committed to encouraging and enabling all pupils to achieve the highest standards. Will ensure that pupil attainment and progress will be monitored by ethnicity and gender and evaluated to identify trends and patterns of underachievement. Will take action to remove any disparities in performance between different groups of pupils. Recognises and values all forms of achievement and gives recognition to children who achieve their full potential. Will monitor assessments to ensure that they are, as far as possible, free of cultural or linguistic bias. Will ensure that all pupils are appropriately supported in assessments and that particular attention will be paid to identifying and meeting any support needs for groups that are particularly disadvantaged (e.g. Travellers, refugees and asylum seekers, pupils for whom English is an Additional Language). Behaviour, Discipline and Exclusions This complements the Behaviour Policy. The school will: Monitor exclusions by ethnicity. Take appropriate action to remove any disparities in rates of exclusion between pupils from different racial groups. Recognise and take into account that cultural background may affect behaviour. Curriculum The school will ensure that: The curriculum is planned to incorporate the principles of racial equality, challenging racism and promote positive attitudes towards diversity. All pupils have access to the curriculum. Resources and displays portray positive images of different people and cultures. Extra-curricular activities and events will cater for the interests and capabilities of all pupils and take account of parental concerns related to religion and culture. Staff Recruitment and Professional Development All staff are encouraged to develop and achieve their full potential. The school has procedures to ensure that applicants for jobs, promotion or professional development opportunities are not discriminated against on racial grounds. All those involved in recruitment and selection will be trained and aware of what they should do to avoid racial discrimination. Applications for posts will be monitored by ethnicity and that the information will be supplied to the LEA on an annual basis. Professional development opportunities and promotions will be monitored by the ethnicity. Breaches of this policy by staff or governors will be dealt with in accordance with the school's discipline and grievance procedures. Partnerships with Parents and Communities All parents are encouraged to participate at all levels in the full life of the school and steps are taken to encourage the involvement of under-represented groups. Information and material for parents is accessible in user friendly language and will be available in languages and formats other than English as appropriate. Appendix 1 Handling, Monitoring and Reporting Racist Incidents Racial harassment results from racist behaviour. Racist behaviour can be defined as any hostile or offensive act or expression by a person or persons of one racial group and ethnic origin against a person or persons of another racial group or ethnic origin or any incitement to commit such an act where there is an indication that the motivation is racial dislike or hatred. The following are examples of racist behaviour which may occur in all schools: a) Physical assault against a person or group because of colour and/or ethnicity. b) Derogatory name-calling, insults and racial jokes. c) Verbal abuse and threats. d) Racist comments in the course of discussion in lessons. e) Ridicule and individual for 'cultural' differences, e.g. language, dress, food, music etc. f) Refusal to co-operate with other people because of their ethnic origins. g) Racist graffiti. h) Provocative behaviour such as wearing racist badges and insignia. i) Bringing racist materials such as leaflets, comics or magazines into the school. j) Attempts to recruit other students to racist organisations and groups. k) Incitement of others to behave in a racist way. Action to be taken when racist behaviour is suspected Racist behaviour will never go unchallenged and will be referred to the pastoral system for immediate action. If racism is suspected we talk to the suspected victim, the suspected racist and any witnesses. If any degree of racism is identified, the following action will be taken: Help, support and counselling will be given as is appropriate to both the victims and the racists. We support the victims in the following ways: By offering them an immediate opportunity to talk about the experience with their tutor, or another teacher if they choose. Informing the victim's parents/guardians. By offering continuing support when they feel they need it. By taking one or more of the five disciplinary steps described below to prevent more racism We also discipline, yet try to help the racists in the following ways: By talking about what happened, to discover why they became involved. Informing the racist's parents/guardians. By continuing to work with the racists in order to get rid of prejudiced attitudes as far as possible. By taking one or more of the five disciplinary steps described below to prevent more racism. Disciplinary Steps 1) They will be warned officially to stop offending. 2) Informing the racist's parents/guardians. 3) If they do not stop the racist behaviour they will be suspended for a minor fixed period. 4) If they then carry on they will be recommended for suspension for a major fixed period. 5) If they will not end such behaviour, they will be recommended for permanent exclusion (expulsion). Monitoring and Reporting Racist Incidents All racist incidents are recorded on a standard form. A report of all such incidents is made to the Local Authority on an annual basis. REPORT FORM - RACIST INCIDENTS Was there a victim (name)?: Form: Name(s) of perpetrator(s): Form: DETAILS OF THE INCIDENT: Where did the incident take place? _____________________________________________ What happened? ___________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________ Reported by: Date: Action taken and by whom: ___________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________ Please indicate if any of the following were contacted: School Parent/carer SMDS LEA Police Other Form to be passed to Belinda Howells. ANNEX F Policy Statement: Gender Equality The Thomas Adams School Policy Statement Gender Equality Scheme 2011/12 Updated August 2011 Gender Equality This policy reflects the “Every Child Matters” agenda which states that all pupils should: Be Healthy Stay Safe Enjoy and Achieve Achieve Economic Well-being Make a Positive Contribution and with the recognised Safeguarding Procedures within school, including Child Protection and Health and Safety. These highlight the need for this policy to take into account the Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning (SEAL): Self awareness Managing feelings Motivation Empathy Social Skills for all those working and learning within our school. The General Duty The Thomas Adams School will actively seek to: Eliminate unlawful discrimination and harassment. Promote equality of opportunity between men and women. School Ethos, Vision and Values The School stands against sexism. The Thomas Adams School is committed to ensuring equal treatment of all its employees, pupils and any others involved in the school community, regardless of gender. We will ensure that neither males nor females are treated less favourably in any procedures, practices or aspects of service delivery. We will not tolerate harassment of people based on their gender or transgender status. We are committed to ensuring equality of education and opportunity for staff, pupils and all those receiving services from the school, irrespective of gender. The achievement of all pupils and students will be monitored on the basis of gender and we will use this data to raise standards and ensure inclusive teaching. We will aim to provide our pupils with a firm foundation which will enable them to fulfil their potential, regardless of gender or stereotypes. We will seek to eliminate unlawful discrimination against pupils and staff by adhering to our duties as an employer under the legislation. At The Thomas Adams School we believe that diversity is a strength, which should be respected and celebrated by all those who learn, teach and visit here. What do we understand by ‘gender’? Sex and gender are terms often used interchangeably. Sex more properly refers to biological differences of male and female; gender refers to society’s construction of a system which identifies what is masculine and feminine. Individuals incorporate this system to develop their gender identities. Aims of the Policy At Thomas Adams we are committed to ensuring equality of education and opportunity for staff, pupils and all those receiving services from the school irrespective of gender. Under the gender equality duty all schools now need to take action to: Eliminate unlawful discrimination and harassment. Promote equality of opportunity between men and women. Although at Thomas Adams we take positive steps to address gender inequality, we understand that there are many barriers that prevent pupils and staff from achieving and making the most of the opportunities we make available. To promote gender equality it is vital that the differences between boys’ and girls’, male and female experiences, attitudes and achievements in schools are understood so that our policies and practices can begin to break down these barriers. However, we are aware of how factors such as ethnicity and social class also impact on the achievement of boys and girls. This scheme supports our work in trying to tackle all those factors which impact on pupil attainment. Key Aims To promote justice, equality of opportunity and fair treatment for all and thereby allow all students, irrespective of their gender, to achieve the level of success and self respect which they deserve. To instil in students an awareness of sexism and to establish an environment where school becomes effective in reducing prejudice and raising self esteem. To provide a safe and welcoming place for all of its members. To provide an environment where sexist assumptions, attitudes and behaviour are continually challenged. To provide a curriculum which gives children the confidence that sexism can and must be eradicated. To take appropriate action to deal with any form of sexism within the School. To recognise in our teaching the contributions to the development of Science, Technology and the Arts which have been made by both genders. The teachers will, by careful use of language and choice of resources, avoid reinforcing stereotypical views of society. To use self-evaluation by whole school discussion to assess the implementation of this policy. All subject co-ordinators will continually review their schemes of work in the light of this policy with respect to content, methodology, aims and resources. Key gender issues for all those working with young people at Thomas Adams We identify five areas of outcomes in which we can seek to improve the life chances for all children and young people. These outcomes have significantly different dimensions for girls and for boys. Be Healthy There are particular issues for girls and boys in their attitudes to sport, exercise and sexual health. Stay safe Differences in the ways boys and girls bully or are bullies need to be examined. The link between homophobic bullying and suicide for boys has been highlighted through national research. Enjoy and achieve Boys are behind girls in overall levels of attainment. Girls’ educational achievements, although higher than boys’, are not necessarily helping them to take up non- stereotypical employment opportunities. Make a positive contribution Sexist stereotyping, bullying and sexual forms of harassment can result in behaviours which have a negative effect on pupils’ developing positive relationships and on their skills and willingness to participate in school and community life. Achieve economic well being Stereotyping contributes to the gender pay gap. For us at Thomas Adams this means that we will build on our existing practice by: continuing to take a key role in shaping the values and attitudes of children and young people and take a lead in challenging gender based harassment, bullying and violence and stereotyping taking action to challenge gender stereotyping in subject choice and careers advice as a key part of our whole school curriculum including the gender equality duty in the way we plan for school improvement building on our positive work around the Healthy Schools initiative investigating and addressing complaints of sexual and sexist bullying and harassment. Gender in the Curriculum The School always seeks to develop positive attitudes in its students by challenging stereotypes and promoting positive role models. We challenge gender stereotyping within the curriculum i.e. the belief that at secondary level it is more appropriate for girls to study subjects such as English, food technology and languages whereas boys should study science and technology but not drama. Our objectives We will do this by: using our staff and curriculum to encourage boys’ reading gathering relevant information and using to inform gender equality actions analysing pupil achievement data by gender consulting with relevant people and using that information to identify gender equality objectives/actions raising awareness of this policy and its aims through training, parents’ meetings, our newsletter, staff meetings and curriculum nominating a senior member of staff to co-ordinate the monitoring of sexist bullying. Monitoring, review and evaluation Evaluation and review of this scheme will be carried out in line with our school improvement plan as part of the annual review cycle and will be reviewed by the Monitoring Committee of the governing body. Gender equality will be monitored in a range of areas including: pupil achievement/attainment rewards and sanctions including exclusions participation Appendix 1 Check list for school staff and governors Service Provision – Is information collected on gender with regards to both pupils and staff? Is this information used to improve the provision of services? Is pupil achievement monitored by gender? Are there trends or patterns in the data that may require additional action? Are pupils of both sexes encouraged to participate in school life? How is this shown through representation in school events such as class assemblies and the school council? Are pupils of both sexes given the same opportunities to participate in physical activity, both in and outside of school hours? Is bullying and harassment of pupils monitored and is this information used to make a difference? Are stereotypes in terms of gender actively challenged in both the class-room environment and in the playground? Are pupils encouraged to consider career paths/occupations that are traditionally gender stereotyped? Is the school environment as accessible and welcoming as possible to visitors of both sexes e.g. accessible to pushchairs? Are open evenings and other events which parents or carers attend held in an accessible part of the school? Are parents of both sexes encouraged to participate in their child’s education e.g. attending parents’ evening, taking up parent/family learning courses, and assemblies? Are governing bodies representative of the pupils, staff and local community that they serve? Employer duties: As an employer you will need to ensure that you eliminate discrimination and harassment in your employment practice and actively promote gender equality within your workforce. Are gender aspects considered when appointing staff and particularly when allocating Teaching and Learning Responsibilities (TLR) or re-evaluating staff structures, to ensure decisions are free of discrimination? Is bullying and harassment of staff monitored and is this information used to make a difference? NOTE: The EOC Code of Practice on the Duty lists key employment issues that are usually the most common ones to be considered, these include: Recruitment Managing flexible working Managing parental and carers leave Managing pregnancy and return from maternity leave Sexual and sexist harassment Transsexual staff Grievance and disciplinary procedures Equal pay Work based training opportunities It is a specific requirement of the duty that an equal pay policy is in place. Appendix 2 Guidelines for Policy Implementation a) Documentation and Communication All documentation and communication will stress equality and the similarities of experiences, abilities and problems rather than the differences between the sexes. Images of girls and boys will be equally represented. b) Student Lists All student lists shall be in alphabetical order without gender discrimination. Mixed activities shall be offered as the norm where appropriate. c) Seating Arrangements Seating arrangements in classrooms shall be such as to allow girls and boys equal access to equipment, teacher attention and written guidance or visual aids. d) Tasks around School Boys and girls shall participate equally in the various tasks around school, e.g. making refreshments at parents' evenings; escorting visitors around school, clearing up, moving furniture etc. e) Visitors Visitors to the school who work with students should include a balance of positive female and male role models. They should be informed of the school's policy and practices (particularly if they are to speak publicly to the school). f) Staff Assemblies Female and male staff should be equally represented in conducting assemblies and supervising the arrival and dismissal of students. g) Assembly and Act of Worship Assembly content should celebrate the similarities of experiences as well as the different interests and experiences of the sexes. h) Sanctions and Referrals Staff shall ensure that they apply sanctions and referral policy equally to students of both sexes. i) Counselling Staff shall ensure that equal time and opportunity for counselling is given to both sexes. j) Meetings Composition of staff at meetings shall reflect a balance of the sexes. Individual conduct at meetings shall reflect an awareness and sensitivity to the existence of the differences in power differentials particularly between male/female staff. All members of the meetings shall have equal access to time to express their opinions and receive equal value and recognition for their contributions. k) Language and behaviour a) Language shall be used, to promote a positive self image of staff/students. Stereotypical language and sexist humour/innuendo shall be avoided. b) Incidents of sexual harassment e.g. touching without consent and verbal abuse (e.g. bitch/cow) shall be challenged by staff. c) Sexist graffiti shall be removed as quickly as possible and the perpetrators sought so that they may be challenged. l) Staff It is fully accepted that this policy applies equally to staff as well as students. a) A supportive climate must be established where staff can voice their concerns regarding sexist behaviour and attitudes. b) Assertiveness training should be offered to staff and opportunities for discussing and analysing interpersonal behaviour should be provided as an INSET opportunity including ways of dealing with unacceptable sexist behaviour/language. c) We should aim for a staffing structure which more genuinely reflects the gender balance particularly at senior level where the shortage of women staff is particularly noticeable. d) Positive action should be taken to encourage and promote the career development of women through IN SERVICE Training to include teaching and non-teaching staff employed in the school. e) Governors involved in interviewing candidates for appointments will be made aware of possible bias in questions and assumptions made in relation to the sexes. m) Curriculum The whole school curriculum policy of equal access shall be supported through this policy in the following ways: a) Subject stereotyping should be discouraged through personal counselling, group construction and monitoring of option choices. b) Written materials produced by the school about the curriculum e.g. School Prospectus and Guided Choice shall include guidance to parents/students which will encourage non-stereotypical assumptions about subjects. c) Work schemes in appropriate curriculum areas should address equal opportunities legislation and the issues of women and men in society. d) Girls and boys should be given the same range of learning experiences and have equal access to topics taught within subjects. n) Choice of reading schemes, books and other literary resources Choose resources which: 1. Portray a world view as seen from male and female perspectives and thereby communicate how it may feel to be of another gender, 2. Are factually accurate and use up-to-date text, illustrations and maps. 3. Do not: a) stereotype individuals or groups b) equate men with being the dominant gender or women the subservient gender 4. Show the achievements and attributes of both genders, both past and present. 5. Show children of both sexes involved in the activities such as physics, design, music, mathematics. 6. In which both boys and girls can find characters which enhance their self esteem, where males and females have important roles and hold positions of authority. 7. Show characters not having to justify their gender by being exceptionally virtuous or brave etc. 8. Where illustrations avoid caricature. Monitoring and Review i) The Head The Head will be responsible to the Governing Body for promoting, monitoring and maintaining the implementation of this policy. ii) Staff with Curricular and Pastoral Responsibility Will be directly responsible to the Head for promoting, monitoring and maintaining the implementation of this policy. Evaluation There will be a regular school-based evaluation of the effective implementation of this policy. ANNEX G Policy Statement: Access to the School for Students with Disabilities The Thomas Adams School Policy Statement Access to the School for Students with Disabilities 2011/12 Updated May 2011 Access to the School for Students with Disabilities Statement This policy reflects “Every Child Matters” which states that all pupils should: Be Healthy Stay Safe Enjoy and Achieve Achieve Economic Well-being Make a Positive Contribution and with the recognised Safeguarding Procedures within school, including Child Protection and Health and Safety. These highlight the need for this policy to take into account the Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning (SEAL): Self awareness Managing feelings Motivation Empathy Social Skills for all those working and learning within our school. Thomas Adams School has high ambitions for all its pupils, including any students with particular physical, learning and emotional needs, thus identifying them as ‘disabled’ in relation to their peers. (Please see appendix). Thomas Adams School’s commitment to equal opportunities for all students is dictated by the school’s inclusive philosophy, and the agreement within our school that Every Child DOES Matter. This commitment is supported by the School’s Inclusion Statement, which is subject to thorough regular review. A fundamental principle is for all students to have equal opportunities to access a broad and balanced curriculum that takes account of individual needs. We hope and expect that all our disabled students will participate and achieve in every aspect of school life, given appropriate support and encouragement from all those involved with them. The Year 6/7 transition process is carefully monitored in order to make sure that: All students who will require support in Year 7 have been identified prior to transfer. All information regarding the individual student is transferred to establish needs and appropriate strategies. All students who require additional visits to familiarise themselves with the school systems of e.g. lesson changeover/moving around the large building/dinner queues, are able to take advantage of individual sessions. All students who require specialised intervention are able to meet TAs who will be their Key Workers on entry to Thomas Adams. The school endeavours to: Set suitable learning challenges. Respond appropriately to the diverse needs of all students. Overcome potential barriers to learning and assessment for individuals and groups of students through regular reviews of school data and personal contact with disabled students and their families. Eliminate harassment and promote positive attitudes to disability. With regard to the wider curriculum, we believe we need to: Make reasonable adjustments to ensure access to all physical areas of the school. Make reasonable adjustments to ensure access to recreation. Make reasonable adjustments to ensure access to educational visits, trips, extra- curricular activities and special events. Promote equality of participation. Thomas Adams aims to identify and remove barriers to disabled students in every area of school life, and to make all young people, and those who support them, valued and welcome. Admissions to Thomas Adams School for students with disabilities follows DFE Guidance, which states that Children with a Statement of Special Educational Needs which name a particular school, will be allocated places. Regular SEN monitoring acknowledges that students who are identified as having special educational needs/learning difficulties continue to achieve above nationally expected levels. The nature of the intake at Thomas Adams School and Adams College is contained in the School Evaluation Form (SEF). In addition: Thomas Adams regularly reviews Reward and Sanction information for all disabled students in order to: Review individual progress. Identify areas of success and celebrate achievement. Identify areas that require continued or improved support. Identify areas that might require input from external agencies. The School gathers information on participation in extra-curricular and out-of-school activities in order to: Identify areas of success and celebrate achievement. Review provision. We continue to review examination entries and results at Key Stages 2, 3, 4 and 5 in order to: Review individual progress and set suitable targets for individual academic progression. Identify areas of success and celebrate achievement. Identify departmental success and strategies which could be developed in different curriculum areas in which disabled students make less progress, using this as information to target support and Continuing Professional Development. We regularly review attendance statistics for disabled students in order to: Target EWO support where applicable. Review individual timetables and provision. Review curricular provision. Thomas Adams School regularly reviews its policy and practice on inclusion, and acts on its findings, to increase the range and diversity of the support for disabled students, and to assure they all achieve both their academic targets and their personal goals. Ongoing consultation includes: The views and aspirations of the disabled young people themselves. The views and aspirations of their parents/carers. The views and aspirations of other disabled people or voluntary organisations. The priorities of the Local Authority. Consultation takes place through: Questionnaires. Parents’ evenings. Phone calls. Regular student reviews. Regular mentoring with students. and has also included reviews with outside agencies including: Sensory Impaired Service (SIS). CAMHS. Education Psychologist. LA Inclusion Officer. LA Officer with responsibility for Looked After Children. LA Monitoring Officer. Family Support Worker. Safeguarding Team. Multi Agency Team. Thomas Adams continues to make reasonable adjustments for disabled students at different levels of school life: For the individual disabled student. In our practices and procedures. In our policies. Reasonable adjustments meet the statutory requirements when they: Act to prevent disabled students being placed at a substantial disadvantage. Are aimed at all disabled students. Are anticipatory. Enable students to participate in education and associated services. When deciding if a reasonable adjustment is necessary to avoid placing students at a substantial disadvantage, we will need to consider the potential impact on disabled students in terms of: Time and effort. Inconvenience. The school continually reviews how information is provided to disabled students/parents/carers, and how other methods could improve that delivery through: Continued consultation with students/parents/carers. Continued liaison with primary schools. Continued liaison with outside agencies. Identifying the appropriate format must take account of: Student’s impairments: access to information may be improved for particular groups of students by particular approaches, for example: students with learning difficulties may be able to access information more easily where it is provided in simplified language; students with language and communication difficulties may be able to access information more easily where it is provided in picture/symbol systems; students with a visual impairment may be able to access information where it has been pre-recorded onto a CD or pod-cast. Preferences expressed by students or parents: consideration of a variety of different formats should be built into the design of information produced for students. Management, co-ordination and implementation The governing body, as the responsible body, will continue to take responsibility for: Ongoing liaison with the school’s leadership team. Involvement of a designated governor in target setting and review on a regular basis. Appendix Disability and the Equality Act 2010 From 1 October 2010, the Equality Act replaced most of the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA). Equality Act 2010 The Equality Act 2010 aims to protect disabled people and prevent disability discrimination. It provides legal rights for disabled people in the areas of: employment education access to goods, services and facilities including larger private clubs and land based transport services buying and renting land or property functions of public bodies, for example the issuing of licences The Equality Act also provides rights for people not to be directly discriminated against or harassed because they have an association with a disabled person. This can apply to a carer or parent of a disabled person. In addition, people must not be directly discriminated against or harassed because they are wrongly perceived to be disabled. (More information about the Equality Act, and how you can obtain copies of the Act, can be found on the Government Equalities Office website.) The definition of ‘disability’ under the Equality Act 2010 In the Act, a person has a disability if: they have a physical or mental impairment the impairment has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to perform normal day-to-day activities For the purposes of the Act, these words have the following meanings: 'substantial' means more than minor or trivial 'long-term' means that the effect of the impairment has lasted or is likely to last for at least twelve months (there are special rules covering recurring or fluctuating conditions) 'normal day-to-day activities' include everyday things like eating, washing, walking and going shopping People who have had a disability in the past that meets this definition are also protected by the Act. Progressive conditions considered to be a disability There are additional provisions relating to people with progressive conditions. People with HIV, cancer or multiple sclerosis are protected by the Act from the point of diagnosis. People with some visual impairments are automatically deemed to be disabled. Conditions that are specifically excluded Some conditions are specifically excluded from being covered by the disability definition, such as a tendency to set fires or addictions to non–prescribed substances. Where to get more guidance on definition of disability The government has published statutory guidance, to assist adjudicating bodies like courts and tribunals in deciding whether a person is a disabled person. This guidance is called “Guidance on matters to be taken into account in determining questions relating to the definition of disability”. It was published for the purposes of the Disability Discrimination Act, but continues to apply under the Equality Act 2010, where appropriate. You can read the current guidance on the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s (EHRC) website. Disability rights in everyday life The 'Disabled people's rights in everyday life' page is about the parts of the Equality Act 2010 that provide protection from disability discrimination. There is separate information about how the Act affects your rights in different areas of life, including accessing and using the services of shops, cafes and banks.
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