The public sector Equality Duty (PSED), part of the Equality Act, came into force in April 2011. It requires organisations to eliminate unlawful discrimination, advance equality of opportunity, and foster good relations.
The duty has a key role to play in making sure that fairness is at the heart of public bodies’ work and that public services meet the needs of different groups. It covers a range of public bodies, including academies, schools, NHS organisations, government departments, local authorities, and police authorities.
The duty replaces the three former duties that required government departments, local authorities and other public bodies to take into account gender, race and disability equality both as employers and when making policy decisions and delivering services. The duty standardises this requirement and also extends it to cover age, marriage and civil partnership, religion or belief, sexual orientation, pregnancy and maternity and gender reassignment.
The general equality duty
Section 149(1) of the Equality Act 2010 puts various requirements on academies when exercising their functions. The general duty requires academies to have due regard to:
- eliminate discrimination, harassment and victimisation and other conduct prohibited under the Act
- advance equality of opportunity between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it
- foster good relations between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it.
Having “due regard” means consciously thinking about the three aims of the PSED as part of the process of decision-making. This means that consideration of equality issues must influence the decisions reached by academies, such as:
- how they act as employers
- how they develop, evaluate and review policy
- how they design, deliver and evaluate services
- how they commission and procure from others.
Abbey School has agreed the following equality objectives:
- All pupils will have personalised curriculum offer built around their specific needs;
- Staff will ensure that all pupils are able to take part in extra-curricular activities and residential visits, and the school will monitor uptake of these visits to ensure no one is disadvantaged on the grounds of a protected characteristic;
- The school will ensure that all forms of prejudice-motivated bullying is taken seriously and dealt with equally and firmly;
- There will be a clearly defined behaviour management system, which will be consistently applied;
- The school will take all necessary steps to meet pupils’ needs by using a variety of approaches, enabling our pupils to take as full a part as possible in the activities of the school;
- The school will ensure there is adequate access to the physical environment of the school;
- Throughout the year, the school will plan ongoing events to raise awareness of equality and diversity;
- The school will consult with stakeholders, i.e. pupils, parents/carers, staff and relevant community groups, to review our equality objectives and draw up a plan based on information collected on protected groups and accessibility planning. These equality objectives will be reviewed annually;
- Bullying and prejudice will be carefully monitored and dealt with accordingly. Regular training will be given to both existing and new staff to ensure that they are aware of the process for reporting and following up incidents of prejudice-related bullying.
A copy of the Nexus Multi Academy Trust Single Equalities Policy can be access here.
A copy of the school Equality Information and Objectives Policy can be accessed here (32.2 Equality Information and Objectives Policy_Abbey)