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Equality Policy

EQUALITY POLICY

Mulberry School for Girls is a vibrant, high achieving inner city learning community where each individual can flourish. It is a community which believes that education is a life-chance and that every student is entitled by right to the fullest and richest educational experience. Every individual is valued and respected equally, enjoying the highest possible standard of educational provision. We aim to enable all students to aspire, to lead and to excel as young women who will make a positive, successful contribution to our community now and in their future lives.

1. General Equalities Statement:

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 legal and local framework for this policy is:

  • Race Relations Act 1976 (as amended in 2000)
  • Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (as amended in 2005)
  • Children Act 2004
  • Equality Act 2010
  • Education and Inspections Act 2006
  • Duty to Promote Community Cohesion, Education and Inspections Act 2006
  • Sex Discrimination Regulations 1999 and Act 1975

2. Aims

Weare a welcoming school where tolerance, honesty, co-operation and mutual respect for others are modelled and encouraged. We are committed to the development of the whole person within a supportive, secure and creative environment. A broad, balanced and appropriate curriculum provides equal opportunity for all pupils to maximise their potential regardless of age, sex, sexual orientation, race, colour, religion or disability. We endeavour to promote positive relationships with parents, governors and members of the wider community.

                       

At Mulberry School for Girls we aim to promote equality and tackle any form of discrimination and actively promote harmonious relations in all areas of school life. We seek to remove any barriers to access, participation, progression, attainment and achievement. We take seriously our contribution towards community cohesion.

We will:

  • provide a secure environment in which all our children can flourish and achieve all five outcomes of ‘Every Child Matters’ (be healthy, stay safe, enjoy and achieve, make a positive contribution and enjoy economic well-being);
  • provide a learning environment where all individuals are valued participants who feel a sense of belonging;
  • prepare pupils for life in a diverse society in which they are able to see their place in the local, regional, national and international community;
  • include and value the contribution of all families to our understanding of equality and diversity;
  • provide positive information without stereotypes about different groups of people regardless of gender, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, religion or age;
  • plan systematically to improve our understanding and promotion of diversity;
  • actively challenge discrimination, labelling and disadvantage;
  • Ensure inclusion is a constant thread which runs through all our activities.

a) 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.

 

b) Age

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. 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.

c) 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.

d) Gender and Sexual Orientation

We recognise the positive advantages of being a single sex school, which aims to create an open and supportive atmosphere for learning and achievement with sensitivity to the personal values, cultural traditions and religious beliefs of all members of the school community. Within this, the school experience should provide students with the opportunity to discuss gender roles in society within 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.

 

e) 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.

f) Religion and Beliefs

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.

g) 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.

3. All Staff and Pupils: A Commitment

Such a policy requires commitment from each member of the community and acceptance of a code of conduct that:

  • Encourages respect for the individual
  • Encourages collective action to      challenge prejudice and structures which perpetuate it
  • Challenges stereotyped images and in      their place promotes positive, diverse images
  • Declares as unacceptable any language,      action or expressed belief that is prejudiced or which encourages      prejudice in others
  • Challenges institutional structures      which have prejudicial or discriminatory effects

It is the duty of all members of the school community to uphold this policy even where it may be in conflict with their own beliefs.

To achieve these aims we will:

  • involve stakeholders in the development, review, evaluation, and impact assessment of all relevant improvement plans, policies and procedures;
  • publish and share our policies and impact assessments with the whole community;
  • collect and analyse data to ensure all groups are progressing well and no group is subject to disadvantage through inequality;
  • use all available information to set suitable learning challenges for all, respond to pupils’ diverse needs and choices and overcome any potential barriers to learning;
  • ensure that the wider school curriculum makes explicit and implicit provision to promote and celebrate diversity;
  • have high expectations of behaviour which demonstrates respect towards all inside and outside the school community;
  • ensure that the school complies with equality legislation;
  • meet requirements to publish equality schemes;
  • follow the LA’s admissions policy, which is fair and equitable in its treatment of all groups;
  • have equal opportunities in staff recruitment and professional development and membership of the Governing Body;
  • be pro-active in recruiting high-quality applicants from under-represented groups
  • work in partnership with families, the local authority (LA) and the wider community to establish, promote and disseminate inclusive practice and tackle discrimination ensuring that our Equality and Diversity Policy is followed.

Breaches of the Policy

In all cases, instances of perceived discrimination and inequality will be dealt with seriously and resolved as far as possible. In the case of pupils, a tutor or Year Learning Coordinator should be approached. In the case of staff, the direct line manager should be approached, however if this is problematic, a member of SLT should be informed. Complaints which are not resolved at school level will be referred to the school governors.

 

4. Policy Planning and Review

Whilst we have a duty to develop and publish equality schemes in relation to both gender and disability, we at Mulberry School for Girls School are considering all aspects of diversity and equality in this comprehensive policy and this will be revised on an ongoing basis as part of the school’s Strategic Plan.

a) Review of Policy

There will be a systematic review of the impact of all policies and procedures on equality and diversity to address any areas of inequality. Achievement and attainment will be analysed to ensure progress for all, especially in relation to any identified disadvantaged groups; attendance and exclusion data will be reviewed to ensure no over-representation of any one group.

b) Monitoring and Quality Assurance

Each pupil’s progress is monitored and tracked. The resulting data is analysed in respect of gender, race, ability or additional needs and looked-after status.

In addition to monitoring to rule out any potential disadvantage, quality assurance procedures ensure the school meets its duty to positively promote diversity. (E.g. lesson observations record evidence of differentiation, and texts are reviewed to ensure appropriateness and inclusivity.) The data collected is used to inform further school planning, target-setting and decision-making.