The River Learning Trust is committed to promoting equality and respect regardless of age, disability, sex, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation, pregnancy or maternity.
This statement should be read alongside the River Learning Trust Equal Opportunities Statement, Accessibility Statement and Dignity at Work Policy.
Each school within the River Learning Trust will follow the National Curriculum Inclusion principles:
- Set suitable learning challenges
- Respond to pupils’ diverse needs
- Overcome potential barriers to learning and assessment for individuals and groups of pupils
The principles of the River Learning Trust are:
- Commitment to Excellence; striving for the best educational experience through continuous improvement
- Everyone Learning; creating and taking opportunities that enhance lives through evidence based practice supporting adult and pupil learning
- Respectful Relationships; acting with care, integrity, and fairness in all we do
What is Disability Equality and how does the Equality Act impact on schools?
Under the Equality Act there is a requirement for public sector bodies, including schools, to promote equality for disabled people in every aspect of their work. Schools will need to take an organisational approach to formulating policy and practices, which positively promote disability.
The Equality Act 2010 introduced a single Public Sector Equality Duty (sometimes also referred to as the ‘general duty’) that applies to public bodies, including maintained schools and Academies, and which extends to all protected characteristics – race, disability, sex, age, religion or belief, sexual orientation, pregnancy and maternity and gender reassignment. This combined equality duty came into effect in April 2011. It has three main elements.
In carrying out their functions, public bodies are required to have due regard to the need to:
- Eliminate discrimination
- Advance equality of opportunity
- Foster good relations
This duty requires schools to adopt a proactive approach, mainstreaming disability equality into all decisions and activities. The duty does not just apply to disabled pupils; it applies to any non-educational services schools provide. The duty applies also to parents, members of staff, visitors to the school, local community members and to potential pupils of the future.
Schools can implement the general duty by actively reviewing all their policies, procedures and planned access improvements to remove barriers, with a view, for example, to greater recruitment and retention of disabled staff, greater participation of disabled pupils, disabled parents and community members.
What are the specific duties?
The specific duties require schools:
- To publish information to demonstrate how they are complying with the Public Sector Equality Duty
- To prepare and publish equality objectives, and (optional) an equality plan
- To prepare and publish an accessibility plan
Schools need to update their published information at least annually and to publish objectives at least once every four years. The River Learning Trust has produced supporting material for its schools to prepare an accessibility plan.
Leadership and Management in our Schools – a commitment to inclusion and equality
A clear ethos is set by the local governing bodies and the school management, which reflects the schools’ commitment to equality for all members of the school communities. The schools’ advance equalities of opportunity through positive and proactive approaches to valuing and respecting diversity.
Governors take all reasonable steps to ensure that the school environment gives access to people with disabilities, and also strive to make school communications as inclusive as possible for parents, carers and pupils.
The school management works in partnership with others to eliminate all forms of oppressive behaviour; prejudice related incidents and discrimination.
All members of the school community, including pupils, parents, community and staff are consulted and contribute to the development and review of relevant policy documents. The school ensures the involvement of governors and takes positive action to enable consultations and contribution of all.
The evaluations of plans and policies are used to set equality objectives and address equality issues. The development of teaching and the curriculum are monitored to ensure high expectations of all pupils and appropriate breadth of content in relation to the school, local, UK and global community.
The Local Governing Body and Headteacher will ensure that the school complies with all relevant equalities legislation and ensures that the policy, related procedures and strategies are implemented. The Headteacher will also ensure that all staff are aware of their responsibilities under the policy.
Schools are required to have Equality Objectives showing how they are planning strategically and the impact this has over time following the duties of the Equality Act 2010. These general duties are to:
• eliminate discrimination,
• advance equality of opportunity
• foster good relations
The River Learning Trust understands the principle of the act and the work needed to ensure that those with protected characteristics are not discriminated against and are given equality of opportunity. The Equality Act defines ‘protected characteristics’ as disability, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, and pregnancy and maternity. We also welcome our duty under the Education and Inspections Act 2006 to promote community cohesion.
We recognise that these duties reflect international human rights standards as expressed in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, and the Human Rights Act 1998.