Shire Oak Academy. Equality and Diversity Policy

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1 Shire Oak Academy Equality and Diversity Policy January 2015 Review In order to ensure that it reflects current best practice, this policy will be reviewed every year. Mr K. Hubery Chair of Governors Date: The next review date is January 2018 Main reviewer: The Principal In liaison with: The Deputy Principal

2 Introduction The overall objective of this policy is to provide a framework for our school to pursue its equality duties to eliminate unlawful discrimination and harassment; promote equality of opportunity; and promote good relations and positive attitudes between people of diverse backgrounds in all its activities. Through the policy, our school seeks to ensure that no member of the school community or any other person through their contact with the school receives less favourable treatment on any grounds which cannot be shown to be justified. This covers race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin, religion or belief, gender, marital status, responsibility for children or other dependants, disability, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, age, trade union or political activities, socio-economic background, where the person lives or spent convictions. The principles of this policy apply to all members of the extended school community - pupils, staff, governors, parents and members of the local community. It sets out: the school s context; its aims and values; its overall approach to promoting equality, community cohesion, recognising and celebrating diversity and tackling discrimination; specific reference to community cohesion, race equality, disability equality, gender equality; roles and responsibilities; monitoring, reviewing and assessing impact. Context Shire Oak Academy is a mixed school, situated on the very north eastern boundary of the Walsall MBC, bordering Staffordshire. In the January 2015 school census we had 1438 students on our roll. The student gender balance is roughly 51% / 49% boys to girls. For teaching staff the gender balance is 66% women to 34% men to women; 80% of support staff are female. The overwhelming majority of students (90.7%) are white British. 97.5% of our students speak English as their first language. However, our academy is committed to the study and celebration of linguistic diversity. The legal and local framework for this policy is: Race Relations Act 1976 (as amended in 2000) Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (as amended in 2005) Children Act 2004 Equality Act 2006 Education and Inspections Act 2006 Duty to Promote Community Cohesion, Education and Inspections Act 2006 Aims and Values Shire Oak School is a welcoming school where everyone is valued highly and where tolerance, honesty, co-operation and mutual respect for others are fostered. We are committed to the development of the whole person within a supportive, secure and creative environment. Our school mission statement is Turning potential into Excellence.

3 We regard each member of the school community as a valuable individual, regardless of race, social background, gender or ability. Good relationships lie at the heart of a good school and support each individual to do his or her best academically and personally. Fairness, trust and mutual respect are essential to creating an encouraging and positive community. All members of the school community have the right to be safe, cared for and supported. Learning is a partnership of pupils, parents and school. It can only take place in a calm, ordered environment. All members of the school community have joint responsibility for the success of the school and its students and for building trust and a positive relationship between the school and its wider community. Working together, staff and students, we aim to develop a culture of excellence within our school. A broad, balanced and appropriate curriculum provides equal opportunity for all pupils to maximise their potential, regardless of age, sex, race, colour, religion or disability. We endeavour to promote positive relationships with parents, governors and members of the wider community. At our school we aim to promote equality, tackle any form of discrimination and actively promote harmonious relations in all areas of school life. We seek to remove any barriers to access, participation, progression, attainment and achievement. We take seriously our contribution towards community cohesion. We aim to: provide a secure environment in which all our children can flourish and achieve all five outcomes of Every Child Matters (be healthy, stay safe, enjoy and achieve, make a positive contribution, and enjoy economic well-being); provide a learning environment where all individuals see themselves reflected and feel a sense of belonging; prepare children for life in a diverse society in which children are able to see their place in the local, regional, national and international community; include and value the contribution of all families to our understanding of equality and diversity; provide positive non-stereotyping information about different groups of people regardless of gender, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, religion and age; plan systematically to improve our understanding and promotion of diversity; actively challenge discrimination and disadvantage; make inclusion a thread which runs through all our activities. To achieve these aims we will: involve stakeholders in the development, review, evaluation, and impact assessment of all relevant improvement plans, policies and procedures; publish and share our policies and impact assessments with the whole community; collect and analyse data to ensure all groups are progressing well and no group is subject to disadvantage; use all available information to set suitable learning challenges for all, respond to pupils diverse needs and overcome any potential barriers to learning; ensure that the wider school curriculum makes explicit and implicit provision to promote and celebrate diversity; have high expectations of behaviour which demonstrates respect to others. Leadership, Management and Governance Shire Oak School is committed to: being proactive in promoting good relationships and equality of opportunity across all aspects of school life and the wider community; encouraging, supporting and enabling all pupils and staff to reach their potential and make a positive contribution;

4 working in partnership with families, the local authority (LA) and the wider community to establish, promote and disseminate inclusive practice and tackle discrimination ensuring that our Equality and Diversity Policy is followed. Responsibilities The Governing Body It is the Governing Body s responsibility to: ensure that the school complies with equality legislation; meet requirements to publish equality schemes; ensure that the school s policy and its procedures and strategies are carried out and monitored with appropriate impact assessments informing future plans; scrutinize the recording and reporting procedures at least annually; follow the LA s admissions policy, which is fair and equitable in its treatment of all groups; monitor attendance and take appropriate action where necessary; have equal opportunities in staff recruitment and professional development and membership of the Governing Body; provide information in appropriate, accessible formats; be involved in dealing with serious breaches of the policy; be pro-active in recruiting high-quality applicants from under-represented groups. The Headteacher It is the headteacher s responsibility to: implement the policy and its strategies and procedures; ensure that all staff receive appropriate and relevant continuous professional development; actively challenge and take appropriate action in any cases of discriminatory practice; deal with any reported incidents of harassment or bullying in line with LA guidance; ensure that all visitors and contractors are aware of, and comply with, the school s equality and diversity policy; produce a report on progress for governors annually. All Staff It is the responsibility of all staff to: be vigilant in all areas of the school for any type of harassment and bullying; deal effectively with all incidents from overt name-calling to the more subtle forms of victimisation caused by perceived differences; identify and challenge bias and stereotyping within the curriculum and in the school s culture; promote equality and good relations and not discriminate on grounds of race, gender, religion, age and sexual orientation; promote an inclusive curriculum and whole school ethos which reflects our diverse society; keep up to date with equality legislation, development and issues by attending relevant training and accessing information from appropriate sources. Breaches of the Policy All breaches of the policy will be rigorously followed up using the appropriate procedures and reported to the Governing Body and LA as required. Our school s overall approach - teaching, learning and curriculum Our school aims to teach pupils to understand others, to promote common values and to value diversity, to promote awareness of human rights and of the responsibility to uphold and defend them, and to develop the skills of participation and responsible action. 1. Teachers ensure that the classroom is an inclusive environment in which pupils feel all contributions are valued. Where groups or individuals are marginalised, the teacher takes positive steps to include them.

5 2. Teachers undertake to ensure that they are aware of the language abilities and needs of all their pupils. 3. Teaching is responsive to pupils different learning styles and takes account of their experiences and starting points, in order to engage all pupils. 4. Pupil grouping in the classroom is planned and varied. Allocations to teaching groups are kept under continual review and are analysed by ethnicity, gender and background. 5. Teaching styles include collaborative learning so that pupils appreciate the value of working together. All pupils are encouraged to question, discuss and collaborate in problem solving tasks. 6. Teachers encourage pupils to become independent and to take responsibility for their own learning. 7. Teachers challenge stereotypes and foster pupils critical awareness and concepts of fairness, enabling them to detect bias and challenge inequalities. 8. Resources and displays reflect the experience and backgrounds of pupils, promote diversity and challenge stereotypes in all curriculum areas. They are reviewed regularly to ensure that they reflect the inclusive ethos of the school. 9. Citizenship is taught as part of the life and learning skills course and via special curriculum days, but also permeates the work of the school both within and outside the curriculum. Equity and excellence Our school aims to ensure equal opportunity for all to succeed at the highest level possible, removing barriers to access and participation in learning and wider activities and eliminating variations in outcomes for different groups. 1. Any pattern of underachievement of a particular group is addressed through targeted curriculum planning, teaching and support. 2. The school ensures, where possible, that assessment is free of gender, cultural and social bias. Members of staff use a range of methods and strategies to assess pupil progress. Baseline assessment is used appropriately for all pupils. 3. Staff have very high expectations of all pupils and they continually challenge them to reach higher standards. The school recognises and values all forms of achievement. 4. Self-assessment provides all pupils with opportunities to take responsibility for their own learning through regular reflection and feedback on their progress. Engagement and extended services Our school aims to provide a means for children, young people and their families to interact with people from different backgrounds and build positive relations, including links with different schools and communities locally, across the country and internationally. 1. The school is fully comprehensive and proud of its inclusive and cohesive school community where all members are tolerant of difference. 2. The school s links with a local secondary and both secondary schools partner primary schools support broader community awareness. 3. The locality schools pool funding to support vulnerable children, young people and their families through family support.

6 4. Pupils have regular access to trips locally, nationally and internationally. Community cohesion In order to maintain a cohesive community, our school aims to encourage all children and families to feel part of the wider community; understand the needs and hopes of all its communities; tackle discrimination; increase life opportunities for all; ensure teaching and the curriculum explore and address issues of diversity. 1. Our school sits at the centre of its local community, offering education to young people in the age range and a very strong partnership programme with 10 partner primary schools. 2. The school s premises and facilities are available and accessible for use by all groups within the community. 3. Our school is able to provide support for vulnerable children, young people and their families. 4. Within the curriculum and outside it, pupils have the opportunity to learn about other cultures, countries and religions. 5. Parents are encouraged to participate at all levels in the full life of the school. 6. Information and meetings for parents are made accessible for all. Parental involvement is monitored to ensure the participation of all groups. 7. Progress reports to parents/carers are accessible and appropriate, in order to ensure that all parents/carers have the opportunity to participate in the dialogue about the young people s learning. 8. The school works in partnership with parents and the community to address specific incidents and to develop positive attitudes to difference. Race equality Our school s commitment to race equality includes: ensuring that all pupils and staff are encouraged and able to achieve their potential; respecting and valuing differences between people; preparing pupils for life in a diverse society; making our school a place where everyone, taking account of race, colour, ethnic or national origin, feels welcomed and valued; promoting good relations between different racial and cultural groups within the school and within the wider community; ensuring that an inclusive ethos is established and maintained; acknowledging the existence of racism and taking steps to prevent it; opposing all forms of racism, racial prejudice and racial harassment; being proactive in tackling and eliminating unlawful discrimination. Disability Equality Our school aims to: promote equality of opportunity between disabled persons and other persons; eliminate discrimination that is unlawful under the Disability and Discrimination Act; eliminate harassment of disabled persons that is related to their disabilities; promote positive attitudes towards disabled persons; encourage participation by disabled persons in public life; take steps to meet disabled people s needs, even if this requires more favourable treatment.

7 The school s Disability Equality Scheme demonstrates how the school intends to fulfil its general and specific duties and outlines those involved in the development of the scheme. The scheme is reported annually to governors and reviewed and revised every three years. Gender Equality Our school aims to: eliminate unlawful sex discrimination and harassment; to promote equality of opportunity between males and females. The school s Gender Equality Scheme demonstrates how the school intends to fulfil its general and specific duties and outlines those involved in the development of the scheme. The scheme is reported on annually to governors and reviewed and revised every year. 4. Policy Planning and Review Whilst we have a duty to develop and publish equality schemes in relation to both gender and disability, we at Shire Oak School are considering all aspects of diversity and equality in this comprehensive policy to be followed by a specific equality and diversity action plan in relation to access, gender and race equality covering a three-year period. Policy planning and development In the planning and development stage of policy-making, we will ensure we have consulted and taken into account stakeholder views. All improvement plans will be designed with an element of impact assessment built in to monitor the success of each activity. There will be a systematic review of the impact of all policies and procedures on equality and diversity to address any areas of inequality. (Schools to detail some whole school systems. Eg. achievement and attainment will be analysed to ensure progress for all, especially in relation to any identified disadvantaged groups; attendance and exclusion data will be reviewed to ensure no overrepresentation of any one group.) Our target-setting processes ensure appropriate, challenging targets are set in relation to identifiable groups as well as individual pupils / cohorts. Monitoring and Quality Assurance Each pupil s progress is monitored and tracked. The resulting data is analysed in respect of gender, race, ability or additional needs, looked-after status. In addition to monitoring to rule out any potential disadvantage, quality assurance procedures ensure the school meets its duty to positively promote diversity. (Eg. lesson observations record evidence of differentiation and texts are reviewed to ensure appropriateness and inclusivity.) The data collected is used to inform further school planning, target-setting and decision-making.

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