Equality Act - briefing for governors (by Peta Ullman)

Equality Duties
Briefing for Governors
Spring Term 2012
Peta Ullmann
Ethnic Minority and Traveller Achievement
Equality Act 2010
1. Establishes 9 ‘protected characteristics’ :
age; disability; ethnicity & race; gender; gender identity & reassignment;
faith, religion & belief; marriage & civil partnership; pregnancy,
maternity & breastfeeding; sexual identity & orientation
2. Creates a general public sector equality duty (from 5/04/11) which states:
“A public authority must have due regard to the need to:
 Eliminate discrimination, harassment, victimisation
 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”
Specific duties for governing bodies of
state schools:
 Collect and analyse information on progress in achieving
the 3 aims of the public sector equality duty;
 Publish information which shows due regard for equalities
by 6 April 2012;
 Publish one or more specific and measurable objectives for
the coming 4 years by 6 April 2012 to achieve the 3 aims;
 Engage with people who have a legitimate interest –
including all staff (both teaching and administrative), all
parents and pupils, and local groups, organisations and
individuals as appropriate – now & ongoing!!
 Published information must be accessible (easy to read;
easy to find)
 Where? Website, noticeboards, newsletter, staff
 What ? It would not be appropriate to publish
information which enables individual pupils or members
of staff to be identified. Information needs to be given
about the pupil population and differences in outcome.
Objective(s) should be outcome focused as distinct
from being focused on making improvements in
Implications for school leaders:
 No longer a requirement to develop and publish equality
policies & schemes but several schools have found it
useful to use a scheme to clarify aims, actions, roles &
responsibilities, etc. in relation to equality issues and
objectives set for school.
 Results of assessments on impact of policies and practice
to be published but no requirement to undertake a
particular process or complete a prescribed form to assess
 No requirement to take account of national priorities or
matters specified by a Minister of the Crown in formulating
school equality objectives
 Applies to school policies for tackling prejudice-based
bullying (over and beyond racist incidents)
Equality Act 2010
Implications for school leaders (cont):
 New discrimination provisions: direct, indirect,
arising from disability, failure to make
reasonable adjustments, by association
 Schools must maintain accessibility plans
 It may involve more favourable treatment
(enforced only through judicial review)
 Breaches of school duties must be dealt with by
1st Tier Tribunal or IAP
Further information
 Insted guidance on Equality at:
 DfE Equality Act 2010: advice for school leaders:
www.education.gov.uk & search for ‘Equality Act 2010’
 EHRC guidance for schools:
 http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/advice-andguidance/guidance-for-education-providers-schools/
 GEO Policy review paper: