Birdwell welcomes its duties under the Equality Act 2010 and the Prevent Duty guidance 2015 to eliminate discrimination, advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations and positive attitudes in relation to age, disability, ethnicity, gender (including issues of transgender, and of maternity and pregnancy), religion and belief, and sexual orientation/identity (including marriage and civil partnerships).
Our Equality Policy provides a framework for us to pursue these duties and ensure that no person, through their contact with the school, receives less favourable treatment. The principles apply to all members of the extended community – students, staff, governors, trustees, parents, carers and members of the local community.
Across our school, the diversity of our staff, our children and our communities is respected, appreciated, valued and celebrated. Equality of opportunity is embedded in school policies and practices.
We are determined to ensure that our staff and governors are of diverse backgrounds, representing and reflecting our communities.
This policy outlines the commitment of the staff and governors to promote and celebrate diversity, equality and inclusion.
Our school respects, value and celebrate diversity within our communities. We recognise that we are all different; the contributions of all our adults and children are seen, heard, and valued. We enjoy our differences and take time to understand our varied experiences. We encourage one another to challenge our own assumptions.
We will tackle the barriers which could lead to unequal outcomes and ensure equality of access for all stakeholders. We will treat people fairly and consistently. We will treat any allegations of discrimination seriously.
Every adult and every child in school is equally important to us. We recognise that we are all different.
Our School contributes towards celebrating diversity and promoting equality in the following ways:
Curriculum and school environment
We aim to provide all our pupils with the opportunity to succeed. To achieve this we will ensure:
• Curriculum planning embraces our commitments to diversity and equality;
• Our curriculum celebrates that our pupils live in a diverse and global society and uses opportunities to reflect the background and lived experience of pupils and families in the schools and community;
• There will be opportunities in the curriculum to explore concepts and issues related to identity and equality;
• The promotion of attitudes and values that celebrate and respect diversity;
• We always challenge discriminatory behaviour and language wherever it occurs;
• We use images and materials which showcase a broad range of cultures, identities and lifestyles;
• Our books for children include texts written by diverse authors who celebrate and embrace difference;
• Resources for children in school enable them to create art works in their own image;
• We regularly ask whether our pupils can see themselves reflected in our curriculum content;
• Displays around our schools celebrate our own diversity and champion the achievements of people of all backgrounds. These displays are frequently monitored and extended.
Attainment and Achievement
There is a consistently high expectation of all pupils regardless of age, gender (including gender identity), ethnicity, ability,
social background and sexual orientation. To secure the best possible outcomes we recognise that:
• Adults in school must provide strong, positive role models in their approach to all issues relating to equality of opportunity and celebrating diversity;
• Our schools’ policy and practice ensures that education within the schools meets the specific needs of each pupil and all learners are actively encouraged to engage fully in their own learning;
• It is important to identify the particular needs of individuals and groups within the school and to use targeted interventions to narrow gaps in attainment. Progress meetings monitor gender, ethnicity, English as an Additional Language (EAL), Pupil Premium and Special Educational Needs to ensure there are no patterns or specific cases of under-attainment. If there are, appropriate action is taken.
Ethos, engagement and inclusion
In our school, equality of opportunity is embedded into school practice;
• An open door policy allows parents, carers and children access to an adult to discuss any concerns;
• The children are encouraged to behave well to each other and the people they come into contact with, as part of our schools’ ‘Behaviour Expectations’;
• Reasonable adjustments are made to ensure access for pupils, staff and visitors (including parents) with disabilities (this not only includes physical access, but takes account wider access to school information and activities);
• Provision is made to cater for the cultural, moral and spiritual needs of all children through planning of assemblies, classroom-based and off-site activities;
• Pupils’ views are actively encouraged and respected. Pupil voices are heard: for example through school councils, which reflect the school population; and through pupil surveys and regular opportunities to engage about their learning and the life of the school;
• Positive role models are used throughout the school to ensure that all pupils feel welcomed and included.
Staff Recruitment and Professional Development
• All posts are advertised formally, nationally;
• All those involved in recruitment and selection are trained and aware of what they should do to avoid discrimination including unconscious bias;
• Recruitment and progression decisions are made on merit;
• Steps are taken to encourage people from under-represented groups to apply for positions at all levels of the school;
• Any complaints of bullying, harassment or discrimination are taken seriously and are referred to the Headteacher or Chair of Governors;
• Acts of bullying, harassment or discrimination will be dealt with under the School’s grievance and/ or disciplinary procedure and appropriate action will be taken;
• Opportunities for training, development and progression are available to all staff and we will help and encourage all staff to develop their full potential;
• Access to opportunities for professional development is monitored on equality grounds;
• This policy is promoted in all staff inductions;
• Employment policy and procedures are reviewed regularly to check conformity with legislation and the impact of policies are kept under regular review.
Countering and Challenging Harassment and Bullying
• Our school counters and challenges all types of discriminatory behaviour and this is made clear to staff, pupils, parents and governors;
• Our schools have a clear, agreed procedure for dealing with prejudice related bullying incidents considering the nine protected characteristics stated in the Equality Act 2010 and the who is responsible for recording and monitoring incidents;
• Our schools report to local governing bodies on an annual basis the number of prejudice related incidents recorded in the school.
Partnerships with Parents/Carers and the Wider Community
Our School aims to work in partnership with parents/carers. We:
• Take action to ensure all parents/carers are encouraged to participate in the life of the school;
• Maintain good channels of communication, e.g. through an open door policy and regular parent questionnaires and ensure parents’ views are captured to inform practice;
• Encourage members of the local community to join in school activities and celebrations;
• Ensure that the parents/carers of all newly arrived pupils are made to feel welcome.
• Organise visits to the school from the parent and wider community (e.g. fire and community police officers);
• Organise local visits for the children;
• Carry out fundraising activities.
Our Equality Objectives
Every year our school sets equality objectives. Our School Equality Objectives for 2022-2025 are:
• To strengthen the curriculums across the School to ensure effective teaching of equality and diversity
• Lessen the achievement and attendance differences of disadvantaged pupils in the school
• Encourage inclusive leadership at all levels across the School, to allow for a diversity of understanding and experience to advance our inclusive culture.