The Equality Act makes explicit our responsibility to have due regard to the need to:
• Eliminate discrimination and other conduct that is prohibited by the Act
• Advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and people who do not share it
• Foster good relations across all characteristics – between people who share a protected characteristic and people who do not share it.
In this respect, a protected characteristic could be any one of a multitude of factors that are shared by particular groups of people, but will include characteristics such as race, disability, sex, age, religion or belief, sexual orientation, pregnancy and maternity and gender reassignment. Central to a commitment to fulfil this responsibility is a recognition that all groups with protected characteristics fall within the compass of the human race as a whole, and who by definition therefore have equal status and equal rights.
We also seek to recognise that the way in which we treat people is linked to the way we treat the environment in which we live, and the other species who share the planet with us. We do not see compassion and consideration as finite resources, and the equal treatment of people can and should serve as an exemplar of our commitment to, and responsibility for, the wider world.
How this is practised at Granta:
The following list covers some of the main ways in which we seek to implement our moral and legal responsibilities to ensure equality within school. This is by no means an exhaustive list.
- Whenever the governing body reviews policies in school, we always take into account any relevant equal opportunity implications. Where relevant, the details of equal opportunity considerations will be specifically identified. The school’s key policies are kept updated on our website, and all our policies are available by request at the school office.
- The school admits learners with a wide range of special educational needs and disabilities in line with the Cambridgeshire local authority admissions policy. The admissions arrangements are fair and transparent and regularly reviewed. We do not discriminate against learners by treating them less favourably on the grounds of any protected characteristic or disability.
- We use opportunities within the curriculum and across the school day to discuss equality issues, to encourage learners to value and respect others, and to challenge inappropriate attitudes and behaviours. We do not discriminate in relation to staff in: recruitment; terms and conditions of employment; promotions; transfers; dismissals; training; employment practices such as dress code, leave and disciplinary procedures; or because of any of the protected characteristics, adhering to safer recruitment practices. We monitor applications and appointments to ensure equity and use model practices developed by our personnel provider, EPM.
- We regularly analyse the progress and attainment of all children in the school, including the progress and attainment of specific pupil groups. Where we identify significant variations between the children who share a protected characteristic and children in the school generally, we then explore the reasons behind this. It is important to ensure that children in particular groups are not being inadvertently disadvantaged, but it is equally important not to assume that the discrepancy is necessarily a consequence of a particular characteristic. This means that we look at children individually, and examine why the discrepancy is showing up, so that we are best placed to support children in the way that is most appropriate for them. We also recognise that each child is an individual, composed of a multitude of characteristics, and their inclusion in one or more protected characteristic groups should not be seen to define them without reference to everything else that goes to make the whole child.
- All aspects of the curriculum are open to all children, and we will always make adaptations to accommodate the particular needs of a child or group of children.
- We model the British values of respect and tolerance to all people, irrespective of characteristics, and we consider it our moral duty to promote and develop this understanding and good practice in the children themselves. When a child demonstrates intolerance or disrespect with regard to the characteristics of another person, we will work with that child to strengthen their understanding of why their behaviour or language has not been appropriate. In line with our teaching, we believe that education is by far the most effective response to incidents of intolerance or disrespect.
- We promote a culture in which children feel comfortable sharing concerns and worries with adults in school.
- We encourage children to develop the language and understanding of emotions, so that they are better able to communicate what they are feeling.
- We place great emphasis on the development of strong relationships between all adults and children in the school, based on mutual trust and respect.
- We also seek to promote a culture in the school that recognises the needs of staff members, whether this is in terms of emotional support, time off to attend family events or medical appointments, or requests for changes in working arrangements. Because the individual needs of staff members can sometimes be directly linked to their membership of a protected characteristic group, we see our duty to be compassionate employers to be particularly relevant in supporting members of staff in this respect.
- We also promote a culture in which parents feel comfortable to approach the school with concerns or difficulties, which again can sometimes be linked to their membership of a protected characteristic group. From the responses we receive from parents in our annual parental survey, this clearly shows that parents feel comfortable approaching the school with questions / a problem / complaint, knowing that our door is always open. In addition to increasing parents’ confidence in approaching the school with issues that may relate to protected characteristics, the strong relationships between staff and parents has helped to develop a culture where the strengths and needs of protected characteristic groups are understood, acknowledged and valued.
- The school recognises world festivals and dates that are important for a range of protected characteristic groups which regularly feature as part of our curriculum offer. This supports our planning for key events in school, as well as raising our awareness of moments in the year that are important for children, staff and families across a wide range of protected characteristic groups.
- We ensure that in all aspects of school life, including dress, diet, names of learners and their families, we are aware of and respect cultural differences. Our induction training, positive behaviour policy and safer working practice guidance support this.
- We make reasonable adjustments or give more favourable treatment to disabled individuals where this would improve access and participation for them and enable them to benefit as fully from what the school has to offer as non-disabled people. This is in accordance with the Disability Discrimination Act (1995) and Equality Act (2010). We ensure that our school environment is accessible to all; we provide appropriate aids, adaptations, equipment and resources as necessary to enable learners to gain full access to the curriculum and we organise the school environment and resources for ease of access for learners and adults with disabilities, (see Accessibility Plan). We provide opportunities to discuss issues around gender, sexual identity, race/ethnicity, disability, religion, language. Staff understand the importance of promoting awareness of the contributions to knowledge made by people who have disabilities, are from different ethnic groups, lesbian, gay or bisexual. We recognise that positive images of people will work to counteract stereotyping. We strive to ensure that learning resources, books and displays within our school appropriately represent and celebrate our diverse society.
- In planning work and activities, staff assess the possible impact of what is planned for different individuals and groups and make any appropriate adjustments to ensure access, participation and learning for all learners where possible. For educational visits and school journeys, staff carry out risk assessments and make reasonable adjustments to ensure optimum participation for all learners, as appropriate to their individual needs. The Governing Body is opposed to any unwanted conduct relating to a protected characteristic that has the purpose or effect of violating a person’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment. The Governing Body is further opposed to any act of victimisation, harassment or bullying against any member of staff either by an employee or third party based on assumptions about their status in the above categories or any other grounds. Such action will be investigated in accordance with the school’s procedure and may lead to formal disciplinary action.
Equality Objectives (2020-2023, in line with SDP)
- Provision of a school based family support worker to engage and support all parents
- Development of curriculum to ensure learning resources used are representative of our diverse society
- Further development of the school as a total communication environment, including the appointment of a middle leader to oversee communication at a whole school level