Equality and Diversity
OAK Trust recognises that compliance with the equality duty (Public Sector Equality Duty 2011) is a legal requirement for schools but meeting it also makes good educational sense as it helps our schools to focus on key issues of concern and how to improve pupil outcomes.
This duty is not just about disability, race and gender equality, the duty extends to all aspects of a person’s identity that are protected under the Equality Act 2010. These are race, disability, sex, age, religion or belief, sexual orientation, pregnancy and maternity and gender reassignment.
1. ELIMINATE UNLAWFUL DISCRIMINATION, HARASSMENT AND VICTIMISATION AND OTHER CONDUCT PROHIBITED BY THE ACT.
By removing or minimising disadvantages suffered by people due to their protected characteristics.
2. ADVANCE EQUALITY OF OPPORTUNITY BETWEEN PEOPLE WHO SHARE A PROTECTED CHARACTERISTIC AND THOSE WHO DO NOT.
By taking steps to meet the needs of protected groups where these are different from the needs of other people.
3. FOSTER GOOD RELATIONS BETWEEN PEOPLE WHO SHARE A PROTECTED CHARACTERISTIC AND THOSE WHO DO NOT.
By encouraging people from protected groups to participate in public life or in other activities where their participation is disproportionately low.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR THE TRUST’S SCHOOLS?
- WHEN MAKING A DECISION OR TAKING AN ACTION A SCHOOL MUST ASSESS WHETHER IT MAY HAVE IMPLICATIONS FOR PEOPLE WITH PARTICULAR PROTECTED CHARACTERISTICS.
- IT SHOULD CONSCIOUSLY CONSIDER EACH ASPECT OF THE DUTY (HAVING DUE REGARD TO THE NEED TO ELIMINATE DISCRIMINATION IS NOT THE SAME THING AS HAVING DUE REGARD TO THE NEED TO ADVANCE EQUALITY OF OPPORTUNITY).
- THE EQUALITY DUTY HAS TO BE INTEGRATED INTO THE CARRYING OUT OF A SCHOOL’S FUNCTIONS. THE ANALYSIS NECESSARY TO COMPLY WITH THE DUTY SHOULD BE CARRIED OUT RIGOROUSLY AND WITH AN OPEN MIND – IT IS NOT A QUESTION OF JUST TICKING BOXES.
- IT SHOULD CONSIDER EQUALITY IMPLICATIONS BEFORE AND AT THE TIME THAT IT DEVELOPS POLICY AND TAKES DECISIONS; NOT AS AN AFTERTHOUGHT, AND IT NEEDS TO KEEP THEM UNDER REVIEW.
- IT SHOULD ASSESS THE RISK AND EXTENT OF ANY ADVERSE IMPACT THAT MIGHT RESULT FROM A POLICY OR DECISION AND THE WAYS IN WHICH THE RISK MAY BE ELIMINATED BEFORE THE ADOPTION OF A PROPOSED POLICY.
- SCHOOLS NEED TO DO THIS THEMSELVES AND CANNOT DELEGATE RESPONSIBILITY FOR CARRYING OUT THE DUTY TO ANYONE ELSE. THE STEPS THEY HAVE TAKEN TO MEET THE DUTY MUST BE RECORDED.