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Equality Objectives

Promoting equality at Mulberry School for Girls

Introduction:

The central aim of the school is to provide the best educational opportunities and experience for all its pupils and staff. Equal opportunity can only be achieved through the delivery of a high quality education catering for the needs of all the students. As such, the school is committed to an Equal Opportunity policy which enables all members of the school community to feel secure and confident, and to succeed to the best of their abilities. Mulberry School for Girls has a commitment to placing the promotion of equality and diversity at the centre of every aspect of its work. We will implement all legal and local requirements regarding racial, disability, sexual orientation, gender and age equality in an inclusive way in every aspect of the school community including classroom practice, the extracurricular life of the school, performance and celebration events, employment and staff management, as well as in policy development and implementation.

The Equality Act came into effect in October 2010. It brings together more than 100 separate pieces of legislation into a single Act aimed at providing a clear legal framework to advance equality for all. The act aims to promote a fair and more equal society and to protect individuals from unfair treatment.

Nine characteristics are protected under the Act. These protected characteristics are: Age, Disability, Gender Reassignment, Marriage and Civil Partnership, Pregnancy and Maternity, Race, Religion or Belief, Sex and Sexual Orientation.

The Equality Act introduces a Public Sector Equality Duty that requires our school, to ‘have due regard’ to equality considerations when significant decisions and being made or policies developed. We must consider how our activities affect the people who share the protected characteristics and publish information to show how our activities:

  1. Eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation
  2. Improve equality of opportunity between people with protected characteristics and those who do not
  3. Foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not

Human Rights 

All perceived forms of discriminatory attitudes, practices and behaviours, both direct and indirect, will be addressed and it is the responsibility of each individual within the school community to ensure that this happens. The School acknowledges and respects the principles contained in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The School commits to upholding these at every level to protect and enhance understanding of human rights with all stakeholders. We aim to develop and demonstrate leadership in responsible workplace practices and in providing educational opportunities to explore solutions to real human rights issues in the global community. Mulberry School’s core values and culture embody a commitment to equality in human rights and the active promotion of good citizenship.

Inclusion

Inclusive practice, care and sensitivity are intrinsic to all interactions at the school. Displays will encourage celebration of pupils’ personal and social backgrounds, diversity and heritage, whilst also recognising and celebrating the diversity of wider society. Language use in the curriculum and in the wider school community does not stereotype a person or group but provides an opportunity to challenge bias and common negative stereotypes. First names of pupils are valued and respected, particularly with regards to pronunciation. Negative, exclusive attitudes to accent and dialect must always be challenged, alongside recognition of the power of Standard English within society. Pupils should be provided with opportunities in the curriculum to hear and learn about diverse accents, languages and dialects. Language which carries negative connotations will be challenged and the use of inclusive language promoted. Inclusion in all aspects of school life, and particularly the curriculum, displays, resources and performance and celebrations will lead to a less divisive society in the wider school community and the world outside the sphere of education.

Protected Characteristics

a)Age[1]

Ageism, i.e. prejudging or making assumptions about people on the basis of their age, is a major barrier to the well-being, participation and citizenship of older and younger people alike. At Mulberry School we will actively challenge age-related stereotypes, and comply with the spirit and letter of anti-discriminatory age equality legislation. Our extra-curricular programme provides regular and varies opportunities for students to interact with and learn from older role models within an outside their own communities. All members of the school community will respect every individual regardless of age, and the progress and achievement of every individual will not be determined by age related constraints.

b)Disability

A person has a disability if he or she has a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on his or her ability to carry out day-to-day activities. Physical or mental impairments can include sensory impairments (such as those affecting sight or hearing), learning difficulties, as well as certain medical conditions which have a substantial and long-term effect on pupils’ everyday lives. At Mulberry School we will ensure that members of the school community with a disability are not treated less favourably in any procedures, practices and service delivery. We will positively develop opportunities for the inclusion and equal access to a high quality education of all pupils. We will also ensure the implementation of any provision to enable pupils or staff with a disability, full access to their school curriculum/duties. We will not tolerate harassment of people with any form of impairment and will also give special consideration to pupils who are carers of disabled parents. In addition, we will actively develop positive attitudes towards disability in the wider community through opportunities for exploration of the issue in both curricular and extra-curricular activities.

c)Gender Re-assignment

The Equality Act 2010 prohibits discrimination against a person on the basis of their gender. This usually means male or female, but can also include transgender people who do not identify within the gender binary. The Act also protects those who are undergoing the process of gender re-assignment (sometimes referred to as gender affirmation). A person has the protected characteristic of gender reassignment in law, if the person is proposing to undergo, is undergoing or has undergone a process (or part of a process) for the purpose of reassigning or affirming the person’s gender by changing physiological or other attributes of sex. A reference to a transsexual person is a reference to a person who has the protected characteristic of gender reassignment. Department for Education guidance on this act explains that 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 physiological or other aspects of their sex, but must be taking steps to live as an opposite gender, or proposing to do so.

Mulberry School will ensure that all transgender pupils (whether binary trans or gender non-conforming), or the children of transgender parents do not receive less favourable treatment from that given to others. All pupils will be given opportunities to learn about transgender issues, gender diversity, and gender reassignment as part of the curriculum. The school will take steps to tackle transphobia if this should arise: this includes tackling overt and deliberate transphobic bullying, but also challenging language and behaviour which may implicitly convey harmful stereotypes.

d)Sex

The Equality Act 2010 prohibits discrimination against a person on the basis of their sex. Mulberry School will provide pupils with opportunities to learn about and discuss sexism and sexist discrimination. The school experience should provide students with the opportunity to discuss gender roles in society as part of the curriculum, and the means and tools to challenge stereotypes which may be conveyed implicitly. Everyone in the school community will be committed to using books, resources and materials which reflect non-sexist imagery and to challenge the portrayal of stereotyping in roles. Each academic faculty and department will develop positive, anti-sexist resources that provide positive role-models, reflecting both traditional and non-traditional roles of women and men. Extra-curricular programmes will be offered which focus on challenging sexist stereotypes and championing gender equality. The school recognises that sex does not pre-determine gender identity: a person assigned female at birth may not identify as female, and some people do not identify within the gender binary at all. Students will be given opportunities to learn about gender diversity within the curriculum.

e)Sexual Orientation

The Equality Act 2010 prohibits discrimination against a person on the basis of their sexual orientation. The Act protects a person from direct discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation; from discrimination that happens because someone thinks they have a particular sexual orientation (discrimination by perception); and from discrimination on the basis of association with someone else who has a particular sexual orientation (discrimination by association). The Act also protects people from discrimination on the basis of the way they choose to express their sexual orientation, for example the way they dress.

Mulberry School will provide students with opportunities to learn about LGBTQ identities and rights through the curriculum. Students and staff will be encouraged to challenge language which has negative connotations for sexual orientation: this includes language which conveys implicit stereotypes, as well as more overt use of homophobic language, including language which is used in a more casual, but no less harmful, way – for example, use of the phrase ‘that’s so gay’. Staff will be supported with appropriate training in supporting LGBTQ students and challenging language and attitudes which may be construed as homophobic. LGBTQ pupils, and the children of LGBTQ parents, will be treated no less favourably than other pupils.

f)Marriage and Civil Partnership[2]

The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 had the effect of redefining marriage in the law of England and Wales. It is no longer restricted to a union between a man and a woman, but now includes a marriage involving a same-sex couple. Same-sex couples may also choose the have their relationships legally recognised as a ‘civil partnership’.

Although the protected characteristics of marriage and civil partnership does not apply to schools in relation to their provision for pupils, it does apply to schools as employers. Mulberry School will ensure that members of our school community who are civil partners are treated in the same way as those who have chosen to be married. We will demonstrate our commitment to equality in this respect in the exercise of our duties as employees through our policies and practices.

g)Pregnancy and Maternity

A person who is pregnant, has recently given birth or is breast-feeding is protected against discrimination or unfair treatment by the Equality Act (2010). In the terms of the act, pregnancy is the condition of being pregnant and maternity is the period after giving birth. In a work context, maternity discrimination includes treating a woman less favourably than her colleagues because she is breast-feeding.

As an equal opportunities employer, Mulberry is committed to ensuring that no member of the school community is disadvantaged or otherwise treated unfairly because they are pregnant or have recently given birth. The health and well-being of our staff and students is of paramount importance and we therefore have systems in place to support and protect staff during pregnancy and maternity. We will also ensure that our policies and practice prevents discrimination in professional matters during pregnancy and maternity, such as in recruitment, determining pay, training and development and selection for promotion.

h)Race

Racism within school must have a broader definition than the extremes of violence and prejudice generally accepted as “racist” in the media – a subtler, but nevertheless distressing and harmful form of racism is more low-level, and can take the form of a denigration or a casual, implicit habit of stereotyped thinking. This should be made explicit, examined and challenged appropriately at all levels, with the goal of empowering pupils and staff to understand and accept the principles of equality in order to effect this change in society. We aim for a curriculum (both explicit and hidden) that engages with the full range of pupil experience and places the personal experience of each child at the centre of this. The multi-cultural education at Mulberry School will promote cultural awareness, diversity and bilingualism, promote a positive self-image and identity, and teach aspects of racial and religious equality in a positive, affirming way.

i)Religion and Belief

The freedom to choose and live within a faith, and tolerance of a wide diversity of religious faiths as well as having no faith, is important to the culture of the school. Curriculum opportunities will be provided to inform and celebrate faith-related events and beliefs. No faith will take precedence, and all instances of religious intolerance will be addressed by the school with the intention of creating opportunities for peaceful negotiation and dialogue.

In order to discharge this duty, we have conducted an equality audit to evaluate our work in relation to equalities and community cohesion. On the basis of this audit, we have set the following objectives:

Our Equality Objectives 2018-2022:

Raising standards of educational achievement:

      • Equality objective: Identify and address any gaps between overall performance of pupils in each year group and those in specific groups such as different ethnic groups, or those with Special Education Needs and Disabilities.

Teaching and Learning with Mulberry College or Teaching and Leadership

  • Equality objective: to ensure that all staff are equipped with the appropriate teaching and learning strategies to ensure pupils receive the education they need to prepare them for adult life in a diverse society.

The Mulberry Learning Community

  • Equality objective: to foster a culture of mutual respect, and provide an environment for learning that celebrates, welcomes and respects the diversity of the school, the local community and our wider society, and sets the highest expectations of standards that are equitable for all

Specific tasks relating to these objectives can be found in the school improvement plan

 


[1] The protected characteristics of age and marriage and civil partnership apply to schools and academies as employers, but not in relation to their provision for pupils.

[2] The protected characteristics of age and marriage and civil partnership apply to schools and academies as employers, but not in relation to their provision for pupils.