EqualitiesWhy we have developed our Equality Policy
This Equality Policy for Mowlem Primary School brings together all previous policies, schemes and action plans around equality including those that we had previously for Race, Gender and Disability.
It includes all the protected characteristics covered under the Equality Act 2010 as well as other aspects which have the potential to discriminate against or to devalue any individuals within our community (see Appendix A).
We are committed to the development of cohesive communities both within our school’s physical boundaries and within our local, national and global environments.
Our school embraces the aim of working together with others to improve children’s educational and wellbeing outcomes, and notes the rights set out in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Our Equality Policy is inclusive of our whole school community – pupils/students, staff, parents/carers, visitors and partner agencies - who we have engaged with and who have been actively involved in and contributed to its development.
The purpose of this Policy is to set out how our practice and policies have due regard to the need to:
- eliminate discrimination, harassment and victimisation;
- advance equality of opportunity and
- foster good relations between groups.
It explains how we aim to listen to and involve pupils, staff, parents and the community in achieving better outcomes for our children and young people.
Overall aims of our Equality Policy
- To eliminate discrimination, harassment and victimisation.
- To promote equality of access and opportunity within our school and within our wider community.
- To promote positive attitudes to difference and good relationships between people with different backgrounds, genders, cultures, faiths, abilities and ethnic origins.
To ensure that equality and inclusive practice are embedded across all aspects of school life, the Equality Policy refers to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which includes recognition of a range of educational, wellbeing, and material outcomes.
Issues relating to adults within the school community can be embraced under these themes and reflected in the action plan.
We seek to embed equality of access, opportunity and outcome for all members of our school community, within all aspects of school life.
We actively seek out opportunities to embrace the following key concepts:
- The dignity of the human person
- Valuing difference and diversity. We appreciate the richness within our differences and look for ways of celebrating and understanding them better
- Interdependence, interaction and influence. We recognise that, as they evolve, distinct cultures, beliefs and lifestyles will impact on and inform each other
- Social cohesion within our school and within our local community
- Excellence. We aim to inspire and recognise high personal and collective achievement throughout our community, the UK and the wider world. Excellence is to be found everywhere
- Personal and cultural identity. We will provide opportunities to explore and value the complexity of our personal and cultural identities
- Fairness and social justice. We will develop our understanding of the inequality that exists in society and explore ways of individually and collectively promoting a more equitable society
Our vision statement about Equality
Mowlem Primary School seeks to foster a warm, welcoming and respectful environment, which allow us to question and challenge discrimination and inequality, resolve conflicts peacefully and work and learn free from harassment and violence.
We recognise that there are similarities and differences between individuals and groups but we will strive to ensure that our differences do not become barriers to participation, access and learning and to create inclusive processes and practices, where the varying needs of individuals and groups are identified and met. We therefore cannot achieve equality for all by treating everyone the same.
We will build on our similarities and seek enrichment from our differences and so promote understanding and learning between and towards others to create cohesive communities.
We recognise and accept our equality duties as set out in the Equality Act 2010 and have sought to involve the whole school community in the process in order to ensure better outcomes for all.
They are also guided by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
We will ensure we identify opportunities for promoting our vision, the key concepts and our duties on equality legislation across all aspects of school life, including the provision of extended services.
These opportunities are likely to include all or some of the following, dependent on our current priorities.
- the engagement, participation and involvement of a broad and diverse range of children, young people, their parents and partner agencies
- preparation for entry to the school
- school policies
- breaks and lunchtimes
- the provision of school meals
- interaction with peers
- opportunities for assessment and accreditation
- exam arrangements
- behaviour management approach and sanctions
- exclusion procedures
- school clubs, activities and school trips
- the school's arrangements for working with other agencies
- preparation of pupils for the next phase of education
- learning and teaching and the planned curriculum
- classroom organisation
- grouping of pupils
- access to school facilities
- activities to enrich the curriculum, for example, a visitor to the school school sports
- employees’ and staff welfare
The roles and responsibilities within our school community
Our Headteacher will:
- ensure that staff, parents/carers, pupils/students, governors, supply teachers, volunteers
- and visitors and contractors are engaged in the development of and informed about the Equality Policy
- oversee the effective implementation of the policy
- ensure staff have access to training which helps to implement the policy
- develop partnerships with external agencies regarding the policy so that the school’s actions are in line with the best advice available
- monitor the policy and report to the Governing Body at least annually on the effectiveness of the policy and publish this information
- ensure that the Senior Leadership team is kept up to date with any development affecting the policy or actions arising from it
- appoint a senior member of staff to lead Equalities and Access on a day-to-day basis (Declan Crozier, Deputy Head)
Our governing body will:
- designate a governor with specific responsibility for the Equality Policy
- ensure that the objectives arising from the policy are part of the School Improvement Plan
- support the Headteacher in implementing any actions necessary
- engage with parents and partner agencies about the policy
- evaluate and review the policy annually and the objectives every 4 years
Our Senior Leadership Team will:
- have responsibility for supporting other staff in implementing this Policy
- provide a lead in the dissemination of information relating to the Policy (Declan Crozier, Deputy Head)
- with the Headteacher, provide advice/support in dealing with any incidents/issues
- assist in implementing reviews of this policy as detailed in the SIP
Our pupils/students will:
- be involved in the development of the Policy and will understand how it relates to them, appropriate to age and ability (see Appendix D)
- be expected to act in accordance with the Policy
- be encouraged to actively support the Policy
Our parents/carers will:
- be given accessible opportunities to become involved in the development of the Policy
- have access to the Policy through a range of different media appropriate to their requirements
- be encouraged to actively support the Policy
- be encouraged to attend any relevant meetings and activities related to the Policy
- be informed of any incident related to this Policy which could directly affect their child
Our school staff will:
- be involved in the development of the Policy
- be fully aware of the Equality Policy and how it relates to them
- understand that this is a whole school issue and support the Equality Policy
- make known any queries or training requirements
Relevant voluntary or community groups and partner agencies will:
- Be encouraged to support the Policy
- Be encouraged to attend any relevant meetings and activities related to the Policy
How we developed our Policy - Participation and Involvement
The development of this policy has involved the whole of our school community. We’ve involved and listened to what they have to say, including people from broad and diverse backgrounds and of different abilities, taking account of all the protected characteristics listed under the Equality Act 2010
Our pupils were involved in the drawing up of this policy through consultation with the School Council and Class Councils.
Staff were consulted on the development of this policy and were invited to make comments and make suggestions.
Governors were consulted on the development of this policy and were invited to make comments and make suggestions.
Parents and carers were consulted on the development of this policy and were invited to make comments and suggestions.
How we developed our Policy - Using information
We use data and other information about our school as a common sense measure to determine the effects of a policy, practice or project on different groups. Equality Impact assessments (EQIAs) help us to analyse whether what we are planning potentially has a differential impact on one or more particular group, either positively or negatively (see Appendix C). They help us to ensure that there is no unlawful discrimination against certain individuals or groups and that the positive duties are promoted. They help to ensure we meet the diverse needs of our pupils/students and staff and that diversity, equality and inclusion run through all areas of school life.
We know our school well because we regularly collect information about ourselves in a variety of ways and other people help us to do this.
We use the EYFS profile, RAISE online data at the end of Key Stage one and Key Stage 2, in-year school data and Incident Reporting Forms to identify groups within the school and this helps us to ensure equality of provision and take actions to ensure equal opportunities are embedded.
OfSTED inspectors visit us regularly and report on equality issues during our inspection. We collect a range of information relating to incidents of harassment and bullying including those relating to racism, homophobia, faith, disability and gender.
We also value more qualitative information which may be given to us through pupil/learner voice mechanisms, less formally or even anonymously.
We welcome parents into our school. From them, we learn about equality issues outside school and can establish mechanisms for addressing them within school. By listening to those within our community and to our partners, we are able to identify new areas of work, improve existing approaches and focus our energy where it is required.
Commissioned services (buying in services)
Increasingly we are directly responsible for the purchase of goods and services. We work closely with the local authority on procurement – buying in services - to ensure that equality issues are given full regard. When buying goods and services from external suppliers, we ask the following questions to help ensure that equality issues and duties are taken into account:
- Could the proposed procurement affect the duty to eliminate discrimination and harassment and to promote equality of opportunity amongst the school community?
- If so, is there a need to include some equality requirement within the contract and what would this be?
We ensure that contract conditions require contractors to comply with the relevant legislation and with our equality policy and we require similar compliance by any sub-contractors.
We comply fully with legislation which protects our staff (including teachers, teaching assistants, supervisors and student teachers) from discrimination based on the protected characteristics. With regard to disability, we make such reasonable adjustments as are necessary to prevent a disabled person being at a substantial disadvantage in comparison with people who are not disabled.
This includes discrimination in relation to recruitment, terms and conditions, promotions, dismissals, training and employment practices (such as dress codes) and disciplinary procedures. We make efforts to ensure that the diversity of our workforce reflects that of our local community and wider society. In accordance with the Equality Act we do not enquire about the health of an applicant until a job offer has been made or require job applicants to complete a generic ‘all encompassing’ health questionnaire as part of the application procedure.
We will ensure the safety and well-being of our staff and take seriously and act on incidents of harassment and discrimination recognising that our staff may be either victims or perpetrators.
We interpret our duties positively; take the necessary actions to remove barriers to inclusion and work hard to ensure a safe, positive and inclusive environment.
Responding to hate or prejudice-based incidents and bullying
We recognise that hate incidents or prejudice –based bullying behaviour is driven by negative assumptions, stereotypes or misinformation. These are then directed against an individual or group, based on difference (real or perceived), and linked to, for example, racism, homophobia, negative views of disabled people or sexism. We will take action to prevent, challenge and eliminate any such behaviour.
We recognise that we as individuals and society often struggle with difference of any kind (perceived or actual), which can result in seizing upon the most visible sign of difference e.g. skin colour or disability.
Through our school ethos and curriculum, we want our pupils/students to understand better the diversity that exists in society. We want to provide opportunities for them to explore the subtleties and complexities in order to prevent and respond to incidents and situations. We will address the experience, understanding and needs of the victim, the perpetrator, bystanders and the wider school community through our actions and responses.
We will record all hate incidents and prejudice based bullying. We will use this information to identify trends and patterns, so that we have approaches in place to provide appropriate responses in terms of support for victims and their families, sanctions and support for perpetrators and their families and education for our children, young people and communities.
All hate incidents and prejudiced based bullying are reported to the responsible teacher (Declan Crozier, Deputy Head) who investigates these incidents and completes an Incident Logging Record Form. The responsible teacher offers support to victims and speaks to perpetrators. Parents of all children involved are called to a meeting with the designated teacher and/or the Headteacher as soon as possible. All incidents are formally reported to Tower Hamlets.
Implementation, monitoring and reviewing
This policy was published on October 23rd 2014. It will be actively promoted and disseminated.
This policy will be published on the school website www.mowlem.towerhamlets.sch.uk and notification of its publication will go to parents and the wider community in a letter and in the school newsletter. Staff will receive a copy of the policy in a meeting after publication.
Implementation, monitoring and review are the responsibility of our Senior Leadership Team and our governors who have agreed and published this policy which sets out our priorities and supports these with specific and measurable objectives.
We will report annually on the policy and analyse whether our policy and related objectives have furthered the aims of the general equality duty and in particular educational outcomes for all within our school community with reference to the protected groups.
This policy will be discussed at governors’ meetings and in staff meetings. We will have an ongoing dialogue with parents and other stakeholders through discussions and newsletters.
Using the views of pupils, parents, staff and community and analysis of the information as outlined above we have set ourselves specific and measurable objectives that will help us achieve the aims of the general equality duty. These will be reviewed every year (see Appendix B)