Equal Opportunities Policy.
What is “Equal Opportunity?”
Equal Opportunities at school is about ensuring that all children and adults have equality of opportunity in terms of access and outcome throughout all aspects of school like and that their life chances for the present and future are not impeded or distorted by anything that happens during their participation in the process of education, but are in fact widened to allow them to achieve the whole scope of their potential. It is important to note that equal access does not necessarily lead to equality of outcome.
Equal opportunity recognises and celebrates our similarities and our diversity as individuals and groups. It recognises that all individuals have an intrinsic right to be nurtured in such a way as they are able to reach their full potential.
Equal opportunity accepts that while we all have something of value to contribute, we do not all start on a level playing field. Consequently some individuals will be disadvantaged in their attempts to reach their potential. We as an organisation will work hard to differentiate and maximise their personal achievement.
Issues of equality are applicable to us all, but there are a number of people about whom Equal Opportunity concerns are often more formally expressed. Such groups are often referred to in terms of race, gender, sex and disability or with reference to their age, class, religion or educational achievement. These terms in themselves may be problematic in that they are social constructs (“man-made”), but they may also have use as frames of reference.
Equal Opportunities covers the whole process of education but particularly embraces issues of multiculturalism, anti-racism, disability, ethnicity,gender and trans-gender, sexuality, and socio economic disadvantage. Strategies to combat inequality include those dealing with issues of self- esteem and sense of self worth, school organisation, curriculum content and delivery, discipline, provision for those considered to have special educational and or English as an additional language needs, underachievement, and building social relationships within the school community. Equal opportunity is about creating the structures and contexts for unlocking potential.
On 1 October 2010 new equality legislation came into force. The Equality Act 2010 has replaced all existing equality legislation, including the Race Relations Act, Disability Discrimination Act, and Sex Discrimination Act. This means that three equality duties schools are familiar with (Race Equality, Disability Equality and Gender Equality) have been replaced by a Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) which came into force on 6 April 2011.
Under the PSED, schools must show due regard to the general duty and its three “components” as well as complying with a set of specifications. The three components to the PSED are:
This means that schools are still required to take proactive steps to tackle discrimination, promote equality of opportunity and foster good relations.
Explicit incidents which contribute to inequality include racism, sexism, classicism or any kind of discrimination. Physical violence, verbal abuse, insults, name calling, jokes / ridicule, threats, bullying and graffiti are some of the manifestations of this. Any such undermining of a person’s sense of worth or self esteem is unacceptable.
The school has a legal duty to implement and monitor an equal opportunities policy, and this is our latest update. Norton Road is proud of its excellent record of harmony, showcased by our zero permanent exclusion and very low general exclusion, bullying and racist incident record.
The School Ethos and Hidden Curriculum
We recognise that the overall ethos and climate of the school contributes to what our children learn from us in school; that children pick up on the values and expectation we promote. It could be said that children learn as much from the subtle ‘little things’ that go on, all the hidden messages that are so powerful (the hidden curriculum) – as in their formal lessons. Consequently we use our school ethos as a means to promote equality and self- worth. One example of this is with our behaviour policy and how it is applied.
We will endeavour to create and maintain a school ethos which is welcoming, reflective of the diverse multicultural society around us, fosters a sense of well being, confidence and security; that affirms individual identity and demonstrates respect for each other; that ensures time and space for each individual; that challenges and expands horizons and encourages confidence, independence, co-operation and participation.
In order to achieve this, we will:-
What the child brings from home is important. In promoting equality of opportunity we may be asking children to explore some of these values, attitudes and behaviours. We need to be sensitive so as not to damage self – esteem.
Care will be taken with the purchase of new material to ensure resources promote positive images and avoid stereotyping. Please be aware that books which display sexism, negative images or stereotyping may have a planned place in our curriculum as a tool for discussion with the children in order to promote a positive understanding of the surrounding issues.
Resources, including books, need to be presented as sources of evidence, which need to be interpreted, questioned and evaluated, rather than authorities which are hardened statements of fact.
While, at times we will need to use commonly prescribed social categories to group children we will monitor our use of this to ensure we do not place definitions or labels on children needlessly.
A careful consideration of the ways in which we group children and give them access to the curriculum will be made as we plan, and on a day to day basis, in order to ensure that classroom organisation, teaching styles and learning opportunities offer all children an equal chance to succeed. Where appropriate, we will give children experiences and opportunities to operate outside the constraints of wider social stereotypes and modes of behaviour.
Careful attention will be given to teacher exposition, facilitating discussion and questioning techniques to ensure equal demands are made of both sexes, all ethnic groups and intellectual abilities. Similarly care will be taken in allocating teacher-spent time amongst all the children in class.
Assessment recording and monitoring
All staff share a responsibility for monitoring and effectiveness of our equal opportunities policy and reporting concerns to senior staff.
Subject managers will monitor their subjects to ensure the taught curriculum, resources, assessment procedures and learning outcomes ensure equality of opportunity for the whole school community.
The Headteacher holds specific responsibility for monitoring and reviewing the effectiveness of the policy in conjunction with senior staff.
Policy for Sex and Gender Equality
To ensure no discrimination takes place at Norton Road Primary School on the grounds of gender,transgender or sexual orientation.
To create a school community in which men and women, boys and girls from all faiths and cultures are valued equally, while their different backgrounds, experiences and needs are respected.
To establish an ethos of equality, and adopt strategies to achieve equality of opportunity for both sexes.
In our society a large number of differences which have been conventionally associated with sex are actually socially constructed and are maintained through social pressure. Sexism is the term used to describe discrimination on the basis of gender; where the operation of forces in society, (beliefs, attitudes, behaviours) can allot benefits and privileges, as well as curb and limit preferences and opportunities, on the basis of a person’s gender rather than on the basis of inclination or ability. Sexism and gender stereotyping can be offensive and is equally damaging to boys and girls. Conforming to gender roles can inhibit the abilities, performance and aspirations of both boys and girls by restricting their choices.
Our school is committed to sexual equality and seeks to counter sexism and gender/ transgender or sexuality stereotyping in order to extend the choices and horizons of all staff and children so that they can discover who they are, what they like doing and achieve their full potential at whatever they attempt.
In order to achieve this we will employ the following strategies:
Equalities Policy: Anti-Racist Policy
Racism refers to the consequence of placing social significance in concepts of race which have as their outcome the disadvantage of individuals and groups.
Racism may be exhibited in many forms including physical assault, derogatory name calling, verbal abuse, insults, jokes, graffiti, provocative behaviour, (including wearing badges or bringing literature to school,) ridicule of an individual for cultural or religious difference and refusal to co-operate with others because of their ethnic origins.
Racism includes all practices and procedures that discriminate against people because of their race, colour, culture, nationality and national or ethnic origins (including religion and language) whether on an individual, institutional or cultural level. Discrimination is defined as action or behaviour which disadvantages a group of people.
Racism can take many forms from direct harassment (e.g. racist name calling or physical bullying) to indirect and institutional racism (e.g. discriminatory admissions criteria and allocation to teaching groups). Racism can occur between any ethnic group.
Racism has a long history affecting millions of people. People are seriously harmed and injured by it. The law recognises the seriousness of racism by requiring that courts should impose higher sentences when an offence is aggravated by racist or religious hostility.
What is a racist incident?
A racist incident is defined as ‘any incident which is perceived to be racist by the victim or any other person’ (Stephen Lawrence Inquiry Report 1999). An incident may have occurred either intentionally or accidentally either overtly or covertly.
This definition is deliberately broad. In the past, racist incidents nationally have been under-reported and this definition ensures that any reported incident has the scope to be investigated, without the potential of the racist dimension disappearing unchallenged. A well-intentioned response may well be to excuse the incident by emphasising the lack of explicit intent. This underplays the feelings of the individual or group on the receiving end and perpetrators must be made of aware of the hurt that they have caused and should not be allowed to be empowered at someone else’s expense.
The distinctive feature of a racist incident is that a person is attacked not
as an individual, but as the representative of a family, community or group. This has potentially harmful consequences not just for the immediate individual, but the wider community.
When an incident perceived to be racist is investigated at a school, the following should be considered:
Whether or not the pupil(s) responsible intended their behaviour to be racist is irrelevant. Of course, when it comes to dealing with an incident, their intentions and attitudes are an important consideration, but at the stage of initial recording and investigating, motivation and awareness are not the main issue.
Racist incidents can involve any of the following:
As an organisation we should actively counter discrimination, prejudice and inappropriate behaviour and statements by children whenever they occur
Racist incidents will be logged and monitored for patterns of behaviour. Subject managers will monitor the content of the curriculum to ensure it includes opportunities to address issues of equality and has in inter-cultural and global outlook.
Racist incidents must be taken seriously however trivial they may seem in isolation. They are very hurtful and demeaning to the individual, while institutionally they have the potential to negate the validity of the school community.
A racist incident should be reported to a senior member of staff and the incident recorded using the racist form and fully investigated.
It needs to be explained to the perpetrator and the victim that racism is not acceptable. Sanctions will be dealt with in accordance with school discipline policy involving parents as appropriate.
The school reports all racist incidents and reports them to the pupils parents, school governors and the LEA. If a positive response is not received from parents, the matter may need to be taken up with the Governing Body and / or referred to the school education officer.
Young children may not understand the full meaning of their words and actions but if they go unchecked they are likely to develop behaviour which is damaging to themselves and others.
Even when we feel that a comment or incident is “harmless” (not intentionally racist), we have a responsibility to intervene and counsel. If we do not we effectively condone what has happened.
Consequently the school and all its staff will clearly state opposition to such incidents and make it clear that they are unacceptable.
We need to reinforce that it is the behaviour and not the child that is unacceptable.
Victims, onlookers and the perpetrator will be positively supported. The victim should retain some control over the outcome of the matter.
If we deal with incidents, racist or otherwise in isolation nothing will change. Part of our strategy to eliminate incidents must involve promoting a climate which fosters a sense of self worth and respect for others as well. We also need to empower children they must be involved and feel confident that they will be listened to and that any incident will be dealt with. In addition we need some degree of anti-racist teaching in our curriculum. Hence only the implementation of this policy as a whole will significantly work towards the achievement of equality of opportunity.
Racist incidents will be logged on the LEA proforma and a copy send to the School Improvement Team at Unity House.
Monitoring information will be used to identify patterns of behaviour and develop strategies to overcome them.
Equalities Policy: Disability
We are committed to equality of access and opportunity for disabled people.
Especially given the nature of our two-storey building we will, upon the impending registration of any disabled child at Norton Road Primary, consider access and need in association with the LEA and advisory support service.
Our Inclusion Manager and SMT work closely with the LEA to provide any equipment, modification to any equipment or the premises which will enable a disabled child or member of staff to undertake a full education or employment at Norton Road Primary.
In order to achieve this we will:
Children need to develop a respect, knowledge and understanding for other cultures, religions and ways of life if they are to play a positive and effective role in our increasingly global society. A knowledge and respect for others goes part way to challenging inequality.
Strategies to ensure that an inter-cultural out-look permeates the life of the school
Equalities Policy – Employment and Staff Development
Our Equal Opportunities Policy is guided by legislation and LEA policy
We are committed to ensuring that all adults working at and applying for a position at Norton Road Primary receive full and equal consideration through the whole recruitment process.
In order to achieve this we will: