The Equality Act 2010 introduced a single Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) which applies to all maintained and independent schools, including Academies and maintained and non-maintained special schools.
The Three Main Elements of the Duty
The general Equality Duty requires public authorities, in the exercise of their functions, to have due regard to:
- Eliminate discrimination harassment and victimisation and any other conduct that is prohibited or under the Act
- Advance equality of opportunity between people who share a relevant protected characteristic and those who do not share it
- Foster good relations between people who share a relevant protected characteristic and those who do not share it
These are often referred to as the three aims of the general Equality Duty.
A Specific Duty: Publishing Information
In March 2012, Attleborough Academy Norfolk set out four objectives under the three aims above and these are reviewed below.
Equality Objective 1
The elimination of discrimination, harrassment and victimisation by improving the understanding of national community cohesion
Develop a process to better understand all communities nationally.
From our wider analysis of our Academy profile against the demographics of the local area, we know that our intake reflects the demographics of the local area but in comparison to national demographics, Asian and Black ethnic groups are not representative. We want to understand our local community better and ensure that all sections feel they can benefit from and have equal access to our education provision. Although there are very few racist incidents reported staff anecdotally report that some social discussions amongst students can include questionable racist stereotyping without there being a full understanding of its unacceptability. This is possibly because being a rural Academy, there is not a balance of ethnic groups' representation.
- We have established links with international schools through our Comenius projects which includes links with German, Spanish, Norwegian and Latvian schools.
- We have also formed a link with a national inner city school, Ambler Primary School in Islington, London. This is now being extended to a secondary school (The Islington Arts and Media School). The link has encouraged cross-school reading and writing projects.
- The J F Bujak Travel Bursary is awarded annually to a Sixth Former(s) who wish to develop international awareness. The three recipients so far have worked in a Ugandan school, studied Events Management in Europe and participated in sports coaching in St Lucia.
- There is a strong link with a Ugandan school and charity money is raised to support it. This has led to the building of a new dormitory.
- Academy trips abroad are frequent and have recently visited Italy, France, Austria and the USA.
- English as an Additional Language (EAL) provision has been developed due to the increasing number of students from other nationalities. Language Champions are chosen from the student body to help new students settle in. A ‘Culture Club’ operates as a supportive measure for EAL students.
- Different language signs are displayed around the Academy.
- Cultural diversity is promoted across the Academy, both through assemblies and through the ‘Thought for the Day’, which is used as a daily reflection.
- In order to keep tolerance and mutual respect for all races and beliefs (British Values) high profile, a robust Religious Studies and Citizenship/PSHE syllabus has been developed. This will be audited in other areas of the curriculum.
- If parents or carers speak a different language, translators are brought in, if necessary, to help in meetings with Academy staff.
- The Music Department has widened musical horizons through activities such as African drumming and a performance from a Brazilian band.
- To emphasise the European Day of Languages, songs and music from different cultures were played at the start of assemblies.
- International flags were displayed in the main hall. These have recently been moved to the Culture Club.
- In order to understand international educational developments, the Principal has been on fact finding missions to both China and Norway. Two Assistant Principals also visited Singapore.
- CARE (Commitment, Acknowledgement, Respect, Excellence) is embedded within the ethos of the Academy.
The Academy endeavours to develop and enhance our students' understanding of other cultures both nationally and internationally including music, faith, language, culture and background.
Equality Objective 2
Advancing equality of opportunity by improving the provision for students with medical disabilities
To be able to identify what support can be given to individual students who have disabilities, particularly medical, to ensure they have an inclusive experience of Academy life.
The Academy’s attendance figures have shown that students with medical needs have a disproportionately higher absentee levels than their peers. Medical Panels have also shown that individual students have specific needs in order to enable them to access education provision effectively.
- The Academy’s medical panels have been developed to provide specific support for students with medical issues which can impact on their attendance. These occur in a supportive environment and involve parents, carers, the students and the Academy staff. Bespoke packages are put in place for each student.
- The introduction of the PASS Survey as an indicator of students' mental well-being, enables the Academy to identify any area of concern and put appropriate supportive actions into place.
- The TEN Group nurse visits the Academy on a frequent basis and is available to any student who requires her services.
- CARE, including respect for others, is embedded in the ethos of the Academy.
- PEEPs (Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans) are put into place for all disabled students.
- Ramps have been built to enable disabled students to access hitherto inaccessible parts of the Academy site. A lift has been installed in the main building.
- Workshops are provided by the SAFE Team which cater to specific needs of students. These include confidence building, anger management, self-esteem, organisation, teenage talks, getting to know me and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).
- From 2016 onwards, there will be a new emphasis on developing mental health awareness. Some support staff will be receiving relevant training.
- A new form time programme will be put in place to develop academic resilience. It is called ‘The Resilient Classroom’.
- The Academy employs a SAFE Team worker with a specific remit to support vulnerable groups.
- If students with medical needs have attendance issues, the Academy will adapt timetables to suit these needs in order to raise attendance.
- In April 2016, a new Green Card system was introduced. This will enable relevant staff to immediately identify a medical cause for concern.
To identify and provide appropriate support for every student with any form of disability (medical or otherwise). This will ensure there is a high attendance level for these students and that they will fully access educational provision within this Academy.
Equality Objective 3
Eliminating discrimination by addressing prejudice related incidents
To promote positive attitudes towards alternative lifestyles and those of different faiths, cultures, beliefs, nationalities and sexual orientations. This will ensure that negative terminology is eliminated from within the Academy.
Our staff had highlighted, through anecdotal evidence, that there were a number of incidents of prejudice related comments around issues such as alternative culture and sexual orientation, so by challenging this, we can make students aware of the true implications of the use of such language.
- There have been Academy assemblies and presentations on the importance of addressing prejudice related incidents and of promoting tolerance and mutual respect. This fits in with the emphasis on British Values.
- The Academy has a 'Theme of the Week' which is reflected in Academy assemblies. There is also a ‘Thought for the Day’ which also promotes the theme and is used for reflection in form time.
- The Academy is working towards being a Stonewall Champion.
- There are anti-homophobic prejudice posters placed around the Academy.
- There has been just one reported racial prejudice incident and minimal incidences of homophobic prejudice during the last academic year. This represents a significant decline in such incidents since March 2012.
- All staff are trained in the PREVENT initiative (WRAP training) by the Single Point of Contact (SPOC). They have also completed an online training module. PREVENT has been rolled out to students through an assembly.
- The PASS Survey identifies areas of concern with all students, enabling the Academy to identify areas of concern (e.g. bullying related to protected characteristics).
- Students actively participate in raising money for charity helping those less fortunate than themselves. Recent beneficiaries include an orphanage in Uganda, East Anglian Air Ambulance, Save the Children, East Anglia’s Children's Hospices (EACH) and The British Heart Foundation.
To raise awareness of protected characteristics and reduce the number of prejudice related incidents.
Equality Objective 4
Advancing equality of opportunity and fostering good relations in the workplace
To ensure we maintain a professional workforce.
We want all our staff to feel valued and be able to realise their full potential.
- We recognise our duties under the Equality Act in respect of the staff we employ. We will ensure that all staff are given the chance to access developmental opportunities. This includes internal and external Continued Professional Development (CPD) as well as taking on leadership roles within the Academy setting.
- Staff are encouraged to be Ambassadors in respective subject areas in order to further develop CPD.
- There is a thorough induction training programme for all new members of staff, regardless of experience. Each member of staff is given a ‘buddy’ from within the existing Academy community.
- Staff are offered the opportunity to partake of coaching sessions, designed to improve pedagogic practice.
- The last day of the Autumn Term is designated ‘Academy Stars’ day when teachers recognise the contribution made by support staff.
- The last day of the Summer Term is ‘Teacher’s Day’. Students vote on the teachers who have given them the most support and who are the most inspirational within the Academy. Staff dress in fancy dress as a thank you to the students.
- Individual well-being activities are arranged for staff outside of teaching time. These include Yoga, Reiki, ‘Five-a-Side Football’ and a Christmas Quiz.
- The Academy has a robust Staffing Policy.This includes a Dress Code for all staff.
- Staff participate in charity events within the Academy. This includes Christmas Jumper Day.
- The staff are actively involved in The Friends of the Academy. In the Annual Friends' Quiz, many staff teams are included. There was also staff attendance at a Race Night which was held to raise funds for the Friends Group.
- The Academy operates a robust ‘Dignity at Work’ Policy. In addition, all staff are trained in Level A Safeguarding and PREVENT (WRAP). The importance of whistleblowing is emphasised to the staff.
- There is a Staff Council, representing everybody who works within the Academy.
- There is also a termly Open Forum where staff are encouraged to voice their opinions about relevant policies or initiatives within the Academy.
- Many staff gave of their own time in summer 2015, to run a Summer Fete in aid of two charities and as a remembrance for Mr Bartram, a much loved and respected colleague.
- The Academy provides free tea and coffee for all staff at break.
- Staff have the opportunity to benefit from the Academy chain Health Care Plan – Medicash.
- Peter Beale’s Roses of Attleborough have donated plants for a staff rose garden that is available to all.
- Enterprise Week, which is run annually in the Summer Term, will become PLEDGE Week in 2016, where staff will have the opportunity to run or create beneficial projects with their students.
- With money raised from charity, the Academy has bought a Defibrillator, which is now based on site.
- Staff participate in the annual Sports Day, getting involved in events to help their respective Houses.
- An annual staff survey has been introduced in order to ascertain staff opinion about the running of the Academy.
To have an enthusiastic and committed workforce that feels valued and treated fairly in accessing training, well-being and development opportunities to enhance their professionalism. The success will be evaluated by an annual staff survey.
B Specific Duty: Preparing Equality Objectives
ATTLEBOROUGH ACADEMY EQUALITY OBJECTIVES SET AT MARCH 2016
Equality Objective 1
To promote safeguarding issues with a particular emphasis on PREVENT and to further links with inner city schools
To develop our student’s understanding of, and empathy with cultures and beliefs that are different from their own.
In the first round of Equality Objectives significant progress was made with this. However, in a world where there is an increasing emphasis on multi-culturalism and to ensure British Values are recognised and understood. This is particularly important under the PREVENT initiative, to be aware of the dangers of radicalisation.
To ensure all of our students keep themselves safe and have a developed awareness of the dangers and risks surrounding radicalisation.
Equality Objective 2
Advancing equality of opportunity by supporting vulnerable students and by raising awareness of mental health issues
To ensure appropriate support is put into place across the Academy for all vulnerable students, regardless of protected characteristics.
We want to ensure all of our students have access to high quality support regardless of background, academic capabilities or disabilities. We need to ensure a Mental Health Strategy is put into place that will not only identify need but will provide effective support.
To appoint a new SAFE Team member with a specific remit to support vulnerable groups. Also to implement a Mental Health Strategy within the Academy. Members of the SAFE Team will receive mental health training. A new form time activity programme, ‘The Resilient Classroom’ will be introduced which encourages good mental health.
To provide effective support for all students who have mental health or any other issues which could impair their learning and personal development.
Equality Objective 3
To actively promote the values of mutual respect and tolerance (in accordance with British Values)
To continue to raise awareness and promote equality and respect for all faiths, beliefs, cultures, sexual orientation and any other protected characteristics. To make the Academy prejudice free and welcoming to all, regardless of characteristics, to ensure it is a tolerant, inclusive establishment.
We will continue to develop links with inner city schools to ensure our students get a different cultural perspective. The curriculum will be audited to ensure effective promotion of British Values. There will be a high profile promotion of equality, tolerance and respect across the Academy through assemblies, form time programmes and in lessons.
To raise awareness of this protected characteristic and to eliminate prejudice, making this an inclusive, tolerant and respectful community.