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Sample Equality, Diversity and Cohesion Policy

Having many different policies, such as a separate policies for each protected characteristic, can be unwieldly and make the information inaccessible. Combining them into one policy that places equality at the heart can ensure a more workable, user-friendly document. This should then be accompanied by training, procedures and action plans to ensure that it is a live document, understood by staff and pupils and at the heart of the school's equality, diversity and inclusion practice. 

Sample Equality, Diversity and Cohesion Policy

Legal duties

  1. We welcome our duties under the Equality Act 2010 to eliminate discrimination, advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations in relation to age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race and ethnicity, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation, .
  2. We welcome our duty under the Education and Inspections Act 2006 to promote community cohesion.
  3. We recognise that these duties reflect international human rights standards as expressed in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, and the Human Rights Act 1998.

Guiding principles

  1. In fulfilling the legal obligations referred to above we are guided by nine principles.

Principle 1: All learners are of equal worth

We see all learners, potential learners and their parents and carers as of equal worth:

  • whether or not they are disabled
  • whatever their ethnicity, culture, national origin or national status
  • whatever their sex and gender identity
  • whatever their religious or non-religious affiliation or faith background
  • whatever their sexual orientation

Principle 2: We recognise and respect difference

Treating people equally does not involve treating them all the same. Our policies, procedures and activities must not discriminate, but are differentiated, as appropriate, to take account of differences of life experience, outlook and background, and in the kinds of barriers and disadvantage which people may face, in relation to:

  • disability, so that reasonable adjustments are made
  • ethnicity, so that different cultural backgrounds and experiences of prejudice are recognised
  • sex, so that the needs and experiences of girls and boys, women and men are recognised
  • gender identity, so that it is accepted that not everyone identifies with the gender ascribed to them at birth
  • religion, belief or faith background
  • sexual orientation

Principle 3: We foster positive attitudes and relationships, and a shared sense of cohesion and belonging

We intend that our policies, procedures and activities should promote:

  • positive attitudes towards disabled people, good relations between disabled and non-disabled people, and an absence of discrimination, harassment and victimisation of disabled people
  • positive interaction, good relations and dialogue between groups and communities different from each other in terms of ethnicity, culture, national origin or national status, religion, belief or faith background, and an absence of racist and religiously motivated bullying and incidents
  • mutual respect and good relations between sexes, and an absence of sexual harassment and harassment, discrimination and victimisation because of sex
  • mutual respect and good relations between pupils, parents and carers regardless of sexual orientation, and an absence of discrimination and victimisation because of sexual orientation
  • positive attitudes towards transgender people and an absence of discrimination, harassment and victimisation because of gender identity

Principle 4: We observe good equalities practice in staff recruitment, retention and development

We ensure that policies and procedures benefit all employees and potential employees, for example in recruitment and promotion, and in continuing professional development:

  • whatever their age
  • whether or not they are disabled
  • whatever their ethnicity, culture, national origin or national status, religion, belief or faith background
  • whatever their sex and with full respect for legal rights relating to pregnancy and maternity
  • whatever their gender identity
  • whatever their sexual orientation
  • whatever their status with regards to marriage and civil partnership

Principle 5: We aim to reduce and remove inequalities and barriers that already exist

In addition to avoiding or minimising possible negative impacts, we take opportunities to maximise positive impacts by reducing and removing inequalities and barriers that may already exist between:

  • disabled and non-disabled people
  • people of different ethnic, cultural and religious backgrounds
  • sexes.
  • cisgender and transgender people
  • heterosexual, lesbian, gay, and bisexual people
  • older and younger people

Principle 6: We consult widely

We engage with a range of groups and individuals to ensure that those who are  affected by a policy or activity are consulted and involved in the design of new policies, and in the review of existing ones. We consult and involve:

  • disabled people as well as non-disabled
  • people from a range of ethnic, cultural and religious and non-religious backgrounds
  • people of different sexes
  • lesbian, gay and bisexual people as well as heterosexual people
  • transgender people as well as cisgender people
  • older and younger people

Principle 7: Society as a whole should benefit

We intend that our policies and activities should benefit society as a whole, both locally and nationally, by fostering greater social cohesion, and greater participation in public life of:

  • disabled people as well as non-disabled
  • people of a wide range of ethnic, cultural and religious and non-religious backgrounds
  • people of different sexes
  • lesbian, gay and bisexual people as well as heterosexual people
  • transgender people as well as cisgender people
  • older and younger people

Principle 8: We base our policies and practice on sound evidence

We collect and publish quantitative and qualitative information, which shows our compliance with the public sector equality duty (PSED) set out in clause 149 of the Equality Act 2010 and use this information to inform our practice. Evidence related to equality is integrated into our self-evaluation documentation.

Principle 9: We work towards measurable equality objectives

We create and publish specific and measurable equality objectives, based on the consultations we have conducted and the evidence that we have collected and published.

The objectives that we identify take into account national and local priorities and issues as appropriate.

Our equality objectives are devised in consultation with school governors and integrated into the school improvement plan.

We keep our equality objectives under review and report annually on progress towards achieving them.

The curriculum

  1. We keep each curriculum subject or area under review in order to ensure that teaching and learning reflect the principles in paragraph 4 above.

Ethos and organisation

  1. We ensure that the principles listed in paragraph 4 above apply also to the full range of our policies and practices, including those that are concerned with:
  • learners' progress, attainment and assessment
  • learners' personal development, welfare and well-being
  • teaching styles and strategies
  • admissions and attendance
  • staff recruitment, retention and professional development
  • care, guidance and support
  • behaviour, discipline and exclusions
  • safeguarding
  • working in partnership with parents, carers and guardians
  • working with the wider community.

Addressing prejudice and prejudice-related bullying

  1. The school is opposed to all forms of prejudice which stand in the way of fulfilling the legal duties referred to in paragraphs 1-3:
  • prejudices around disability and special educational needs
  • prejudices around racism and xenophobia, including those that are directed against Travellers, refugees and people seeking asylum
  • prejudices against religious groups and communities, for example anti-Semitism and Islamophobia
  • prejudices reflecting sexism, homophobia, biphobia and transphobia.
  1. There is guidance in the staff handbook on how prejudice-related incidents should be identified, assessed, recorded and dealt with.
  2. We keep a record of prejudice-related incidents, including the type of incident, seriousness and how the incident was dealt with.

Roles and responsibilities

  1. The governing body is responsible for ensuring that the school complies with legislation, and that this policy and its related procedures and action plans are implemented.
  2. A member of the governing body has a watching brief regarding the implementation of this policy.
  3. The headteacher is responsible for implementing the policy; for ensuring that all staff are aware of their responsibilities and are given appropriate training and support; and for taking appropriate action in any cases of unlawful discrimination.
  4. A senior member of staff has day-to-day responsibility for co-ordinating implementation of the policy.
  5. All staff are expected to:
  • promote an inclusive and collaborative ethos in their classroom
  • deal with any prejudice-related incidents that may occur
  • plan and deliver curricula and lessons that reflect the principles in paragraph 4, above
  • support pupils in their class for whom English is an additional language
  • keep up-to-date with equalities legislation relevant to their work.

Information and resources

  1. We ensure that the content of this policy is known to all staff and governors and, as appropriate, to all pupils and their parents and carers.
  2. All staff and governors have access to a selection of resources which discuss and explain concepts of equality, diversity and community cohesion in appropriate detail.

Religious observance

  1. We respect the religious beliefs and practice of all staff, pupils and parents, and comply with reasonable requests relating to religious observance and practice.

Staff development and training

  1. We ensure that all staff, including support and administrative staff, receive appropriate training and opportunities for professional development, both as individuals and as groups or teams.

Breaches of the policy

  1. Breaches of this policy will be dealt with in the same ways that breaches of other school policies are dealt with, as determined by the headteacher and governing body.

Monitoring and evaluation

  1. We collect, study and use quantitative and qualitative data relating to the implementation of this policy, and make adjustments as appropriate.
  2. In particular we collect, analyse and use data relation to achievement, broken down as appropriate according to disabilities and special educational needs; ethnicity, culture, language, national origin and national status; religion, belief and faith background; and sex.

Ratified by the Governing Body:

This policy is adapted from a policy produced by Robin Richardson, available at www.insted.co.uk