Equality Act 2010 in Schools
The Equality Act 2010 is the law which bans unfair treatment and helps achieve equal opportunities in the workplace and in wider society. The Act brings together and replaces the previous anti-discrimination laws, such as the Disability Discrimination, Race Relations and Equal Pay Acts with a single Act. The majority of the Act came into place on 1st October 2010.
What the act requires of schools in particular –
Part 6 of the act states that the responsible school must not discriminate against a pupil – a)In a way it provides education to the pupil
b)In the way it affords the pupil access to a benefit, facility or service c)By not providing education for the pupil
d)By not affording the pupil access to a benefit, facility or service e)By excluding the pupil from school
f)By subjecting the pupil to any other detriment
In addition to the provisions against discrimination, the Act also protects pupils from harassment or victimisation by a school.
A schools duty to its pupils goes beyond just the formal education; it provides and covers all school activities such as extra-curricular and leisure activities, after school and homework clubs, sports activities and school trips, as well as school facilities such as libraries and IT facilities.
As stated above a school has a duty to make reasonable adjustments for disabled people. Extending the reasonable adjustment duty to require schools to provide auxiliary aids and services to disabled pupils following the recent consultation on implementation and approach, this duty was introduced in September 2012.
Who the Act protects-
Anyone who has one or more of the following ‘protected characteristics’ – Age, Disability, Gender Reassignment, Marriage and Civil Partnership, Pregnancy and Maternity, Race (including ethnic or national origin, colour or nationality) religion or belief (including lack of belief, sex and sexual orientation).
Protected Characteristics in Schools –
The Act extends protection against discrimination related to gender reassignment and pregnancy and maternity to pupils in school. However, the Act makes an exception that discrimination on the grounds of age and marriage and civil partnership are not protected in schools. This is because children must be put into age ranging year groups in school and every child and young person is seen and treated as an individual therefor are not entitled to be treated as a married ‘couple’.
Every Child Matters – How does this framework support equality, diversity and inclusion?
Inclusion – Schools are structured so that all students can learn together. Inclusion is about ensuring that children and young people, whatever their background or situation, are able to participate fully in all aspects of the school. Inclusive practises will ensure that everyone feels valued and has a sense of belonging.
Equality – The state of being equal, in rights and opportunities. Equal opportunity does not mean treating pupils the same, but ensuring the curriculum meets the individual needs of all pupils. This involves understanding the barrier which exists. Intervention strategies, such as additional support, can then be put into place at an early stage before children fall too far behind. High expectations of all children are fundamental to raising achievement
Diversity – The state of being diverse variety.
Diversity means understanding that each individual is unique and recognising our individual differences.
Be Healthy –
By schools offering free and/or low cost healthy snacks for children e.g. fruit and vegetables, their ‘tuc shop’ only offering healthy foods and drinks, by serving healthy and well balanced school meals at lunch time and by offering alternatives for children who have allergies or specialist diets, they are supporting inclusion within the school and also giving children from lower income families the opportunity to still have a healthy well balanced diet.
Enjoy and Achieve –
Allowing certain lessons to be mixed ability gives all children a chance to work together no matter what their ability or level , therefore supporting both inclusion and diversity. For lessons/subjects where children work in set ability groups the class as a whole will still be learning the same things (however worksheets/aims may be discreetly altered for certain children). This means that no child is isolated or excluded and by the ability groups having individual names (e.g. colours) rather than being referred to as ‘lower level group’ and ‘higher level group’, it means children will not feel they are being ‘labelled’.
Making a Positive Contribution –
By giving every child the opportunity to have their work displayed, take part in school plays, choirs, and assemblies, it is supporting equality and inclusion. Another way of supporting this is by giving all children the chance to answer questions. For example by pulling names out of a hat or using lolly sticks with names on to choose who answers questions so that the children who may not feel confident enough to put their hand’s up or those who may be shy, will get as much of a chance as those who volunteer to answer every question.
Describe the importance of supporting the rights of all children and young people
UN Rights of Children
There are 52 articles in the UN Rights of Children. Below are examples of 5 of these rights and how they can be supported by schools –
Article 2 – Non discrimination
One of the ways schools can support this article is by ensuring all school trips and activities are priced as low or where possible are available for free so that all children, including those from low income families can take part.
Article 12 – Respect the views of a child
Schools can support this by taking into account children’s opinions on decisions that affect them. An example of this is by allowing young people (with guidance from teachers and parents) to choose which subjects they will study at GCSE level.
Article 16 – Right to privacy
Schools support this by ensuring all children’s personal information is kept confidential and only shared on a need to know basis.
Article 28 – Right to education
(Discipline in schools should respect children’s dignity) Schools can support this by having a structured disciplinary procedure running throughout the school. For example, a 3 strikes or yellow and red card system, resulting in time out, detention and/or parents being contacted. This way all children are treated the same and given a second chance to improve their behaviour.
Article 39 – Rehabilitation of child victims
Schools support this by offering a school councillor, by teachers and support staff being approachable and by having a designated member of staff in school to help deal with any personal situations, for example a Parent Support Worker.
D.A.P – Disability Access Plan
Disability Access Plan is an important document for schools and by law every school must have one. In order to reduce and eliminate barriers to access for pupils (and prospective pupils) with a disability, schools must implement a disability access plan. The plan contributes to the review and revision of related school policies such as schools strategic plan (improvement and development plans), SEN policy, equal opportunities policy and curriculum policies.
Why is it important that schools promote children’s rights?
•To stop exploitation of children
•To protect children from harm and danger
•To help children feel secure and comfortable to talk and have an opinion
•To prepare them for adult life
•To make children more assertive
•Safeguarding – helps to identify people who are taking advantage
•To help children feel more happy and content therefore are more likely to achieve
•To help children understand that other people have rights too
•To give children security
•To help ensure all children are treated equally
The importance of supporting the rights of all children and young people to participation and equality of access
It is important to support the rights of all children and young people to participation and equality of access, as there is no reason in law or practise to leave anyone out. Inclusion is not optional as all children have defined entitlements to education and schools have legal responsibilities to support this. It is important that pupils of all abilities have access to all activities in school. By doing this you are helping to prevent any children from feeling isolated and will also be assisting in creating a happy and positive environment and atmosphere.
The importance and benefits of valuing and promoting cultural diversity in work with children and young people
It is important to value and promote cultural diversity when working with children and young people for many reasons; it helps prevent discrimination, prejudice and ignorance, teaching them that some cultures and people are different and that it is okay to celebrate these differences. As most schools are multicultural, by valuing and promoting cultural diversity, it will mean that no child will feel excluded or unwelcome. Ways of doing this would be by celebrating and acknowledging other cultures and events such as Christmas, Chinese New Year, Lent, Black History Month, Diwali, Thanksgiving, etc. This could be done by holding an assembly about the event, including it in the curriculum or by teaching a topic around it. It is also important children learn about prominent people in history from a variety of cultures and backgrounds and how they have helped to make a difference and shape the world.
Outcome 2.1 & 2.2
The ways in which children and young people can experience prejudice and discrimination and the impact it can have
Prejudice: Forming an opinion of an individual or a group which is not based on knowledge or fact.
Discrimination: Treating an individual or group less favourably because of personal characteristics such as race, religion or special educational needs.
Children and young people can experience prejudice and discrimination in many ways. Below are examples of some ways children and young people can experience prejudice and discrimination and the impact it may have on them –
•A child is unable to access the computer within the classroom, as his wheelchair won’t fit Impact this may have on them – The child may leave school with ICT skills that are less developed than those of his peers.
•An unidentified dyslexic child being unable to read on white paper with black print Impact this may have on them – The child could academically struggle, it may lead to behavioural problems and self-esteem issues.
•A child in care
Impact this may have on them – They may become a victim of bullying because of their home life being ‘different’. May struggle academically and could fall behind on work due to inconsistency.
•A child or young person living in financial hardship
Impact this may have on them – The child/young person may struggle to have a social life due to their responsibilities at home. They may struggle to concentrate at school if they are worried about their home life.
•A child carer (parents with addictions or disabilities)
Impact this may have on them – The child may feel isolated and different to others. They may miss out on school trips or activities and their social life may also dramatically suffer.
•A young person with poor hygiene or poor hygiene practises Impact this may have on them – This may be a sign that the young person is suffering from depression. They may become a victim of bullying.
Assess how own attitudes, values and behaviour could impact on work with children and young people
Children and young people learn through copying adult behaviour, so it is important that you are a good role model within the education setting.
Below are examples of four scenarios of when the Teaching Assistant’s attitudes, values and behaviour can have an impact on children and young people and what a young person may do or feel if they see a TA behaving in this way-
Teaching Assistant giving praise to children for tidying up –
By the Teaching Assistant acknowledging and praising this positive behaviour the children will be encourage to behave in this way again.
Teaching Assistant standing with hands in pockets, looking uninterested while a child excitedly explains to them how they have just scored a goal from a free kick –
By using closed body language and by not showing any interest or enthusiasm in the child, they may feel as though what they are saying is not important. They are telling the Teaching Assistant about their achievement as they are proud and looking for praise, but by not getting this they may not try as hard to achieve next time or may feel as though they cannot approach the Teaching Assistant in the future.
A young person thanking a Teaching Assistant for their advice –
This shows that the young person is clearly comfortable talking to the Teaching Assistant therefore must have trust and a good relationship with them. This is very important as it creates a happy atmosphere and means that the young person has someone they are able to go to with their problems.
During a lesson 2 Teaching Assistants are sitting at the back of the classroom chatting whilst the teacher has positioned himself at one side of the classroom leaving one child working on their own–
By the Teaching Assistants sitting at the back of the classroom chatting this is not only promoting bad behaviour but also showing a lack of interest to the children therefore making them very unapproachable. With the Teacher positioned on one side of the class leaving one child sitting on their own it will make that child feel isolated and not included with the rest of class. If they are not able to interact with the rest of the class, the child may easily lose interest in the lesson and may feel as though they are unable to ask questions even if they are struggling to understand the work or tasks being set.
Outcome 2.4 & 2.5
The importance of promoting anti-discriminatory practice in work with children and young people and how to challenge discrimination
Within the education setting, you must take positive action to challenge discrimination.
Why is it important to promote anti-discriminatory practise?
•To ensure that we are encouraging children to become good citizens
•To encourage children to make a positive contribution in school and their community
•To enable children and adults to become positive role models
•It enables us to provide children with equal opportunities to access the curriculum
•To create a safe learning environment and community
•It ensures that barriers to participate are removed
•To promote equality and diversity
•To ensure children and young people have confidence and have a high level of self esteem
•It stops children from feeling isolated
•Teaches children to accept differences and respect others
While providing playground supervision one lunchtime, you hear James make a racist comment towards Myra. Myra seems upset by James’s comments and walks off to the other side of the playground.
What can you do to help in this situation?
Bring the two children together, let James know immediately that this type of behaviour is completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated and that relevant punishment will be issued. Reassure Myra that she has done nothing wrong and give her the chance to tell James how the comment made her feel, then ask James to apologise.
How can you challenge the discrimination?
Ask James how he would feel if he was picked on, he also needs to be made aware that there are consequences to his actions. Refer him to a senior member of staff and explain to them exactly what has happened and the actions you have already taken. Ensure the incident is logged and monitored.
How does your workplace promote anti-discriminatory practise?
•Posters around the school and staffroom
•Regular staff training on how to deal with discrimination
•Bring it into the curriculum
•Newsletters sent to parents about school policies and procedures on discrimination and other zero tolerance issues (this information is also available on the school website)
•Assemblies highlighting issues
•All incidents logged and monitored
Outcome 3.1, 3.2 & 3.3
What is meant by inclusion and inclusive practices and what are the features of an inclusive setting for children and young people
Inclusion in education is ensuring all children have equal access to the curriculum by removing barriers to participation. Inclusion is not optional: children have defined entitlements in this area and settings have legal responsibilities.
There is a legal framework to which all schools must comply. This framework consists of the following 2 duties – No school must discriminate anyone who requires access to the building (staff, parents, carers, children, etc.), all schools must make reasonable adjustments and provide a Disability Access Plan.
Barriers to Participation
A barrier to participation is something that can stop the child from being included in a lesson or activity, this could be physical, social or emotional or language related.
How can you support inclusion and inclusive practice while working with children and young people? You can support inclusion and inclusive practice in many ways; first of all it is important to have a ‘can do’ attitude. If a school has a positive and encouraging attitude then this will also reflect on how the children will behave and feel towards inclusion.
If you are working with a child with special needs or a disability do some research so that you are aware of what the barriers may be as you may need to adapt lesson plans, talk to their senco worker, parents, etc. It is also important to talk to the child/young person so that you know what their abilities are and what they feel comfortable with. Observe other schools, find out how they deal with barriers and inclusion.
Below are some examples of barriers that may affect children and young people’s participation, and the ways in which you can overcome these barriers –
Barrier – Child can’t access table as their wheelchair will not fit under Way to overcome barrier – Installing rise and fall desks.
Barrier – Child with hearing difficulties
Way to overcome barrier – by sitting child near front of the class so that they have more chance of being able to hear and so that they can see the teacher’s mouth clearly so they can lip read.
Barrier – Child/young person in a wheel chair cannot open doors Way to overcome barrier – by installing doors with motion sensors.
Barrier – Child with autism does not have a structured behaviour management plan Way to overcome barrier – by putting together a structured behavioural plan after discussions with both child and parents.
Barrier – Playing field used for PE is wet due to rain meaning a child in a wheelchair will be unable to access it Way to overcome barrier – by moving lesson to another suitable location e.g. playground.