Public Sector Equality Duty Statement
What is the Public Sector Equality Duty?
The single Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) came into effect in April 2011 as a result of the Equality Act 2010. It requires public bodies to promote equality and replaced three pre-existing duties relating to disability, race and gender equality.
The PSED applies to all maintained and independent schools, including academies, and maintained and non-maintained special schools.
The Department for Education (DfE) has published non-statutory advice that sets out schools' obligations under the PSED.
Paragraph 5.1 explains that the PSED extends to the following protected characteristics:
Race, disability, sex, age, religion or belief, sexual orientation, pregnancy and maternity, gender reassignment
Three Main Elements
Paragraph 5.1 of the document explains that the PSED has three main elements. In carrying out their functions, public bodies are required to have due regard to the need to:
- Eliminate discrimination and other conduct that is prohibited by the Equality Act 2010
- Advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and people who do not share it
- Foster good relations across all characteristics, and between people who share a protected characteristic and people who do not share it
Paragraph 5.4 of the DfE's advice says that 'due regard' has been defined in case law and means giving "relevant and proportionate consideration to the duty".
For schools, this means:
- Decision makers must be aware of the duty to have due regard when making a decision or taking an action, and must assess whether it may have implications for people with particular protected characteristics
- Schools should consider equality implications before and at the time that they develop policy and take decisions, not as an afterthought, and they need to keep them under review on a continuing basis
- The PSED has to be integrated into the carrying out of the school’s functions, and the analysis necessary to comply with the duty has to be carried out seriously, rigorously and with an open mind
The PSED introduces secondary legislation in the form of specific duties. The duties require schools to:
- Publish information to demonstrate how they are complying with the PSED. This information must include, in particular, information relating to people who share a protected characteristic
- Prepare and publish equality objectives
- Schools are required to update this published information at least annually and to publish objectives at least once every four years.
What do our schools do to eliminate discrimination?
We have set a clear vision and values which expect all our staff to act in a non-discriminating manner and be mindful to avoid actions that will be deemed as such to the public and our wider community.
We have up-to-date and ratified policies which set out a clear message that discrimination is not tolerated: staff code of conduct, behaviour, anti-bullying, safeguarding and child protection.
We understand that it is unlawful to fail to make reasonable adjustments to overcome barriers to using services caused by disability and one of our equalities objectives addresses this.
The governing body and school leaders involved in recruitment will avoid unlawful discrimination in all aspects of employment including recruitment, promotion, opportunities for training, pay and benefits, discipline and selection for redundancy. Another one of our equalities objectives addresses this.
Principles into Practice
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. Because we have a duty towards the children in our care as well as to our employees, some measures may be relevant to each of these groups to a greater or lesser extent. However, there is of course a crossover between many of these elements, and although they are numbered for ease of reference, the order in which they are listed should not be seen as being in terms of degree of importance, and nor should each element be seen as a discrete unit. We believe that equal opportunities is an unquestionable principle, and these elements taken together are the basis on which we seek to demonstrate and promote this principle.
- 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.
- We regularly analyse the progress and attainment of all children in the school, including the progress and attainment of specific pupil groups. We 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 where necessary 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. 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 and although worries can affect all children, those in protected characteristic groups can face greater barriers. We place great emphasis on the development of strong relationships between all adults and children in the school, based on mutual trust and respect. Consequently, when a child feels vulnerable or worried, they are able to choose, from a number of adults that they know well, the person they feel most comfortable approaching.
- 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. In addition to increasing parents’ confidence in approaching the school with any issues, the strong relationships between staff and parents has helped to develop a culture where the strengths and needs of children are understood, acknowledged and valued.