Public Sector Equality Duty for Schools:
The general duty
The general equality duty says that schools must consciously consider (have due regard for) their need to:
- Eliminate discrimination, harassment, victimisation and any 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 protected characteristics – between people who share a protected characteristic and people who do not share it.
For a school, having ‘due regard’ means:
- Schools must integrate the general equality duty within all their operations. They should do this rigorously and meaningfully. It should not be treated as just paperwork or a tick-box exercise.
- When making a decision, taking an action or developing a policy, a school must consciously consider what the implications would be for the equality of pupils with protected characteristics. This includes current pupils and those who apply to attend the school.
- A school should not wait until after they have taken an action, made a decision or implemented a policy. It should consider equality implications before and during the process. This is often called the 'anticipatory nature of the duty'.
- Before adopting a policy, taking an action or making a decision, a school should:
- assess whether there may be any resulting risks to, or adverse effects for, pupils with protected characteristics;
- consider how such risks or effects may be eliminated.
- The duty to consciously consider (have due regard to) equality considerations is a continuing one. This means schools should regularly review all their policies and practices (especially those that are most relevant to equality) to make sure they are meeting this requirement.
- It is good practice for schools to:
- record how they have considered the PSED;
- identify the policies that are most relevant to equality and keep them under regular review.
- Schools cannot delegate responsibility for carrying out the duty to anyone else.
What Oakwood Infant and Nursery School does to meet the specific duties
- publish equality information by 30 March each year
- prepare and publish our equality objectives with a review period of four years. As far as possible we strive to ensure the objectives align with the most significant equality challenges facing the school.
The staff and governors of Oakwood Infant and Nursery School understands that equality is not necessarily about treating all pupils in an identical way, but about developing different strategies to meet the various needs of pupils. These strategies are monitored to find out how they are working.
We carefully consider how each decision, action and policy may affect pupils with different protected characteristics, thus helping to identify what our priorities are.
We take every opportunity to consider how to increase the participation of our children with different protected characteristics in areas of school life where it is disproportionately low. This extends beyond the curriculum to areas of the school’s activities such as trips, visits and enrichment activities.
We look carefully on performance gaps between groups of pupils, for example:
- girls and boys
- pupils from different ethnic groups
- disabled and non-disabled pupils
The Equality Act 2010 prohibits schools from discriminating against pupils during the exclusions process. At Oakwood Infant and Nursery School we consider the general equality duty when making decisions about discipline and exclusions. We take great care not to make assumptions that may lead to unlawful discrimination.
To eliminate discrimination, we analyse, monitor and review data about any suspensions or permanent exclusions. This is to ensure pupils with specific protected characteristics are not being affected by exclusions disproportionately.
We make reasonable adjustments for disabled pupils when imposing discipline or exclusions. Disabled pupils are not put at a disadvantage to their non-disabled classmates by our school’s exclusion policy or disciplinary action.