Single equality and community cohesion
Trust-wide policy. Adopted: May 2015
The Inspiration Trust is an inclusive trust where we focus on the well-being and progress of every child and where all members of our community are of equal worth. We believe that the Equality Act provides a framework to support our commitment to valuing diversity, tackling discrimination, promoting equality of opportunity and fostering good relationships between people. It also ensures that we continue to tackle issues of disadvantage and underachievement of different groups. The Trust is also committed to supporting and promoting British Values and community cohesion in all its schools. We have chosen to produce this Single Equality & Community Cohesion Scheme document in order to fully demonstrate our commitment to promoting and embedding equality of opportunity, community cohesion and British Values into all of our work.
In the future, we will continue to actively progress our work in the area of equality of opportunity, community cohesion and the promotion of British Values by working towards the achievement of the actions set out within this document, and we will monitor and review our progress on a regular basis.
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.
The publication of this document is not, therefore, the end of a process but the beginning, ensuring that equal opportunities and community cohesion best practices are central to all our work.
We welcome your views
This Scheme is updated and monitored on an on-going basis. Additionally, it is reviewed every two years and the objectives reviewed every four years. To support this process, we welcome and encourage comments and suggestions. Please forward any feedback to the Secretary to the Trust Board at Inspiration Trust.
Complaints about the Scheme
We aim to be open and accountable and strive to provide an efficient, friendly and helpful service to all. You can use our complaints procedure if you are unhappy with any aspect of the Trust’s service. A copy is available from any of the Trust schools or head office.
Introduction to the Public Sector Equality Duty
Schools are required to meet significant ‘positive statutory duties’ in the area of equality. These duties require schools to promote equality of opportunity in everything that they do.
The “Public Sector Equality Duty” means that schools may not take a reactive approach to equality, but a proactive approach to equality must be adopted. In practice, this requires all schools to:-
- take positive and proactive steps to identify areas of potential inequality before they have the chance to have an impact on people;
- make changes to ensure that any areas of potential inequality are eliminated.
The Duty to Promote Community Cohesion
The Education and Inspections Act 2006 introduced a duty on all schools in England to promote community cohesion. The duty on schools came into effect in September 2007.
Community cohesion means working towards a society in which there is a common vision and sense of belonging by all communities; a society in which the diversity of people’s backgrounds and circumstances is appreciated and valued; a society in which similar life opportunities are available to all; and a society in which strong and positive relationships exist and continue to be developed in the workplace, in schools and in the wider community.
The Duty to promote British Values
The Education (Independent School Standards) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2014 for the new social, moral, spiritual and cultural (SMSC) standard came into force on 29 September 2014 and state that to meet the standard for the SMSC development of pupils, the proprietor of any academy/free school must:
- Actively promote the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, and mutual respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.
Inspiration Trust already works in ways that promote both community cohesion and British Values and the production of this Single Equality & Community Cohesion Scheme will build on our practice. It also presents us with the opportunity to define our activity through a formal approach to planning, monitoring and reviewing our practices and their impact.
Inspiration Trust – An Introduction
Our approach to equality is based on the following seven key principles:
- All learners are of equal value
All learners are of equal value whether or not they are disabled, whatever their ethnicity, culture, national origin or national status, whatever their gender and gender identity, whatever their religious or non-religious affiliation or faith background and whatever their sexual orientation.
- We recognise, respect and value difference and understand that diversity is a strength
We take account of differences and strive to remove barriers and disadvantages which people may face, in relation to disability, ethnicity, gender, religion, belief or faith and sexual orientation. We believe that diversity is a strength, which should be respected and celebrated by all those who learn, teach and visit here.
- We foster positive attitudes and relationships
We actively promote positive attitudes and mutual respect between groups and communities different from each other.
- We foster a shared sense of cohesion and belonging
We want all members of our college community to feel a sense of belonging within the school and wider community and to feel that they are respected and able to participate fully in college life.
- We observe good equalities practice for our staff
We ensure that policies and procedures benefit all employees and potential employees in all aspects of their work, including in recruitment and promotion, and in continuing professional development.
- We have the highest expectations for all of our children
We believe that all pupils can make excellent progress and achieve to their highest potential.
- We work to raise standards for all pupils, including the most vulnerable
We believe that improving the quality of education for the most vulnerable groups of pupils raises standards across the whole school.
Our Vision for Equality
Our aim is to mainstream good practice and the principles of inclusion into everything we do. Inspiration Trust will strive to provide education for all, acknowledging that the society within which we live is enriched by diversity.
We will strive to ensure that the culture and ethos of the Trust reflects and celebrates the diversity of ALL members of the Trust and wider community.
We will also seek to ensure that everyone is equally valued and treats one another with respect and fairness. Pupils and other members of the Trust community will be provided with the opportunity to experience, understand and celebrate diversity.
We will endeavour to: encourage mutual respect for all; recognise and work with every diverse group; provide high quality inclusive services and facilities; make sure our employment policies and practices are fair and challenge harassment and discrimination.
We will proactively seek to review and restructure the cultures, policies and practices in the Trust, so they can be welcoming and responsive to the full diversity of people locally, nationally and globally, whilst promoting and supporting British Values in all our work.
Purpose of the policy
The Equality Act 2010 was introduced to ensure protection from discrimination, harassment and victimisation on the grounds of specific characteristics (referred to as protected characteristics). This means that schools cannot discriminate against pupils, or staff, or treat them less favourably because of their sex (gender), race, disability, religion or belief, gender reassignment, sexual orientation or pregnancy or maternity. Age and marriage and civil partnership are also “protected characteristics” but are not part of the school provisions related to pupils.
The Act requires all public organisations, including schools to comply with the Public Sector Equality Duty and two specific duties:
The Public Sector Equality Duty or “general duty”.
This requires all public organisations, including schools to eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation, advance equality of opportunity between different groups and foster good relations between different groups
Two “specific duties”
This requires all public organisations, including schools to:
- Publish information to show compliance with the Equality Duty.
- Publish Equality objectives at least every 4 years which are specific and measurable.
This policy describes how the school is meeting these statutory duties and is in line with national guidance. It includes information about how the school is complying with the Public Sector Equality Duty and also provides guidance to staff and outside visitors about our approach to promoting equality.
- To develop a rolling programme of equality analysis by Trust staff.
- Increase success rates of ‘narrowing the gap’ students to match national benchmarks.
- Report on progress of plans within Single Equality & Community Cohesion Scheme annually.
- To make the Inspiration Trust an inclusive environment where all pupils and staff, irrespective of their gender, learning difficulty or disability, socio-economic background, age, religion, ethnic or national origin are welcomed and valued.
- To foster a positive, supportive environment where pupils and staff show respect for, and appreciation of, one another as individuals.
- To prepare pupils for life in a diverse society by encouraging respect for linguistic, cultural and religious diversity as it exists in the local community and the wider world.
- To develop a sense of personal and cultural identity in all pupils, that is reflected in their self-confidence, openness towards other identities, and openness to change.
- To widen the educational and personal horizons of all pupils where previously they may have been limited by ethnic background, religion or the perception of their disabilities and socio-economic status.
- To ensure that all pupils have the opportunity to access a full curriculum, regardless of their gender, socio-economic background, disability, religion, ethnic or national origin.
- To identify and meet the diverse learning needs of all pupils.
- To create a climate in which all pupils feel able to reveal skills, qualities and interests, and to celebrate their achievements.
- To be pro-active in tackling and eliminating any form of discrimination on the basis of ethnicity, culture, origin, gender, disability or socio-economic background.
- To promote the benefits of diversity.
- Our progress in improving participation, achievement and success of learners from all sections of society.
- Our progress in ensuring a positive experience and environment for all our learners measured through learner perception surveys and mechanisms enshrined within Trust Academy’s Student Voice programme.
- The achievement of outstanding grades for social and educational inclusion through inspection visits.
- A positive approach to equality and diversity by our employees measured by the results of staff perception surveys and work around employee consultation and communication mechanisms.
- Our progress in recruiting a diverse workforce.
With regard to staff, in promoting the Trust’s Single Equality & Community Cohesion Scheme, Inspiration Trust undertakes to:
- Address any form of discrimination on the grounds of race, disability, gender, gender reassignment, marital/civil partnership status, pregnancy and maternity status, age, religion or belief or sexual orientation.
- Ensure that all policies, procedures and functions are fully analysed and assessed for impact in order to incorporate the different needs of individuals.
- Ensure that all existing policies are impact assessed over a three-year period, and again upon review of policy and procedure.
- Improve opportunities for all staff to attend training sessions.
- Increase the awareness of work life balance and the associated available guidance
- Develop codes of conduct by which our behaviour can be judged.
- Create a safe learning environment where every person is treated with dignity and respect.
With regard to learners, in promoting the Trust’s Single Equality & Community Cohesion Scheme, Inspiration Trust undertakes to:
- Recognise the central role of the curriculum in challenging and addressing discriminatory practice and discrimination.
- Include curriculum impact assessment as part of the annual self-assessment processes.
- Provide a safe and supportive learning environment for all learners.
- Develop codes of conduct by which behaviour can be judged.
The Single Equality Scheme will be available to all staff on the Trust shared platform and will be promoted through the Trust newsletter. A further document will be produced for the learner audience, for prospective learners and other interested parties. Our Scheme will be published on the Trust website and copies made available at all Trust schools.
Progress on the Scheme and the accompanying action plan will be reported to:
- The Board of Directors of the Trust
- Staff at full staff meeting and training days
- New staff induction sessions
- All staff, through staff bulletin
- Senior Leadership Team
- Other stakeholders
In promoting the Single Equality Scheme, Inspiration Trust seeks to:
- Develop an ethos which respects and values all people irrespective of their race, gender/trans, disability, age, religion or belief or sexual orientation.
- Eliminate all forms of discrimination based on race, gender/trans, disability, age, religion or belief or sexual orientation in all areas of the curriculum, in recruitment, selection and induction processes and procedures.
- Engage in positive action to encourage the development of a diverse workforce and learner representation.
- Communicate the Single Equality Scheme to learners, staff, governors and all other stakeholders including visitors to the Trust.
- Ensure that individual academies are committed to the Scheme and produce an annual equality action plan that is shared through governing bodies and reported to the Trust Board of Directors.
- Ensure that any external organisations with which it works are made aware of, and encouraged and supported to adhere to the Equality and Diversity Commitments of the Trust.
- Work closely with other Trust stakeholders to seek their support and commitment to the Single Equality Scheme.
- Ensure that all Trust stakeholders understand and have full access to the Scheme and know their rights and responsibilities under this scheme.
- Monitor, review and report on the effectiveness of the scheme to Governors.
- Review regularly all Trust policies and procedures, using equality analysis measures.
- Ensure that all learners, staff and Governors understand their responsibilities and accountabilities for promoting equality of opportunity.
- Encourage all learners, staff and governors to understand their responsibilities and accountabilities for promoting harmony, understanding and cohesion between our communities.
Inspiration Trust is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people and recognises its role in identifying cases of suspected abuse and making referrals to the appropriate investigating agency. The Trust expects all staff and volunteers to share this commitment.
Single Equality and Community Cohesion Scheme Components
Under the Special Educational Needs and Disability Act 2001, it is unlawful to discriminate against disabled learners or prospective learners by treating them less favourably. The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) 2005 sets out the general duty and provides that Inspiration Trust in carrying out its duties gives due regard to:
- Eliminating disability discrimination.
- Eliminating harassment of disabled people.
- Promoting equality of opportunity of disabled people.
- Taking steps to take account of disabled person’s disabilities.
- Promoting positive attitudes towards disabled people.
- Encouraging participation by disabled people in public life.
The Trust welcomes learners and staff with disability or impairment, and aims to enable inclusion in all aspects of Trust life. Students with profound disabilities including cerebral palsy, hearing impediments, ASD, for example are provided with support to help them to study at a level appropriate to their needs.
The Trust will support learners and staff to challenge discrimination. To this end it seeks to provide easily accessible, responsive, supportive and high quality education and training, employment opportunities and services for all its students and staff. It is committed to serving the whole community fairly and equally. It values and respects everyone within and outside the Trust’s community. Inspiration Trust fully recognises that the Disability Equality Duty is not necessarily about physical access to buildings or adjustments but is also about including equality for disabled people into the culture and fabric of the Trust community in practical and demonstrable ways.
The Race Relations Act 1976 (Amendments 2000& 2003) makes it unlawful to discriminate against a person on racial grounds, which means on the grounds of race, colour, nationality including citizenship, ethnic or national origin. Inspiration Trust has a general duty to:
- Eliminate unlawful racial discrimination.
- Promote equality of opportunity for all.
- Promote good relations between people of different racial groups.
The Trust complies with the positive duties in relation to the promotion of racial equality and good relations between people of different racial groups. The Trust will continue to deliver its general through the specific duties which are to:
- Assess the impact of Trust policies on staff and students from different racial groups.
- Monitor by racial group the admission and progress of students and the recruitment and career development of staff.
- Publish annually the results of the above monitoring and impact assessment.
The Trust will continue to celebrate cultural diversity at staff development events and activities aimed at learners and other Trust stakeholders. The methodologies will ensure that Trust will comply with the positive duties in relation to promotion of racial equality and good relations between people of different racial groups:
- The use of positive action as appropriate to encourage a wide range of applicants
for both employment positions and courses.
- The use of images that reflects the community groups in all materials it produces.
- Developing a rolling programme of mandatory training on cultural awareness.
- Raising awareness at staff induction sessions.
- Visual promotional material on display at the Trust’s premises.
The Trust also recognises that a great deal more can, and will, be done to extend good practice in the Trust’s provision and activities.
The Sex Discrimination Act (Amendment of Legislation Regulations 2008) and the Equality Act 2006 set out general equality duty to eliminate unlawful discrimination and harassment. Inspiration Trust has a duty to promote equality of opportunity between men and women and will give due regard to eliminating unlawful discrimination and harassment on the grounds of gender, as well as promoting equality of opportunity between men and women, with respect of both our employees and our learners.
The Trust will ensure that all staff, regardless of gender, will have equal access to training, promotion and other aspects of career development. Where issues are identified through our impact assessment, we will consider positive action measures to address any gender imbalances or other issues.
The Trust will seek not only to eliminate sex discrimination, but also to create a working and a learning environment based on good relations between women and men.
We are committed to ensuring that we do not discriminate on the grounds of age as enshrined with the Equality Act 2006. As an education provider it is our duty not only to eliminate discrimination but also to foster an appreciation of people of different ages and as such we will celebrate the success of learners and staff regardless of age.
The Trust provides education and training to both pre and post 16 students and is committed to ensuring education opportunities are available for all people within the community regardless of age. We will work actively with community groups and others to meet the needs of our community.
The Trust’s HR policies will reflect this commitment and will not discriminate on the grounds of age in our recruitment and selection or progression processes. We will encourage the full commitment and contribution of all staff regardless of age.
Religion & Belief
The Trust will seek to promote equality of opportunity between all learners and staff regardless of their religion. In line with the Equality Act 2006, the Trust defines religion and belief as:
- Religion means any religion
- Belief means any religious or philosophical belief
- A reference to religion include a reference to a lack of religion
- A reference to belief includes a reference to lack of belief
We will treat harassment or victimisation on the grounds of a person’s religion or belief as unlawful. We will seek to establish a reflective facility (prayer room) for both learners and staff where necessary. Religion or Belief cover Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Sikhism, Judaism, Buddhism, Atheism, but may also cover beliefs such as Paganism and life choices. The regulations extend to all aspects of employment from recruitment, terms and conditions of employment, promotion, training, benefits or dismissal.
We will pay attention to our provision, policies or practices to ensure that a person of a certain religion or belief is not put at a particular disadvantage. We will take account of dietary requirements, where appropriate, respects for religious festivals and observance. We will also ensure respect and sensitivity for dress codes where applicable. The Trust makes every effort to welcome students and staff regardless of their religion or belief and encourages the positive contributions that all groups bring to the Trust.
Sexual Orientation and Transgender
The Trust will undertake to promote equality of opportunity between all learners and staff regardless of their sexual orientation.
In line with the Equality Act 2006, the Trust defines sexual orientation as an individual’s sexual orientation towards:
- Persons of the same sex as him or her
- Persons of the opposite sex
- Both of the above
We will treat harassment or victimisation on the grounds of a person’s orientation as unlawful. We will work towards creating a positive working and learning environment with a shared commitment to challenging and preventing stereotyping and will encourage good working relations between heterosexuals, lesbians, gay, bisexual and trans gendered people. We recognise and respect the sexuality of all individuals and will respect the maintenance of confidentiality where requested. We will take steps to encourage disclosure in a supportive environment.
The Trust will eliminate all forms of direct and indirect discrimination against married people and civil partners.
The Trust will work:
- Towards ensuring policies and schemes refer specifically to equality for lesbians, gays, bisexual and trans (LGB&T).
- Develop actions to tackle discrimination and harassment and promote equality for LGB&T workers and learners.
- Build LGB&T equality into induction and training for staff.
The Trust will seek to promote a society where a sense of belonging and a shared vision exist within the community. To do so three key areas have been identified as being crucial to its success.
Teaching, Learning and Curriculum
- We teach pupils to understand others.
- We promote common values and value diversity.
- We will promote and share traditional British Values.
- We promote awareness of human rights and of the responsibility to uphold and defend them.
- We develop the skills of participation and responsible action.
As an effective Trust we have a high standard of teaching and curriculum provision that supports high standards of attainment promotes common values and builds pupils’ understanding of the diversity that surrounds them, recognising similarities and appreciating different cultures, faiths, ethnicities and socio-economic backgrounds. Integrated across our curriculum are opportunities for discussing issues of identity and diversity.
As a tool in building community cohesion, we provide:
- Lessons across the curriculum that promote common values and help pupils to value
- Differences and to challenge prejudice and stereotyping.
- A programme of curriculum- based activities whereby pupil’s understanding of community and diversity is enriched through educational visits, and visits and meetings with members of different communities.
- Support for pupils for whom English is an additional language (EAL) to enable them to achieve at the highest possible level in English.
- An effective voice and involvement of pupils in the governance and organisation of the Trust in a way that teaches them to participate in and make a difference in the Trust, their local community and beyond.
Equity and Excellence
- We strive to ensure equal opportunities for all to succeed at the highest level possible.
- We seek to remove barriers to access and participation in learning and wider activities.
- We aim to eliminate variations in outcomes for different groups.
Our focus is on securing high standards of attainment for all pupils from all ethnic backgrounds and of different socio-economic statuses, ensuring that pupils are treated with respect and supported to reach their full potential.
We evaluate progress in the following ways:
- By analysing assessment results to keep track of the relative performance of the different groups.
- By using the outcomes of analysis to tackle underperformance by any particular group.
We monitor impact of our strategy:
- By monitoring the effectiveness of our approaches in dealing with incidents of prejudice.
- Bullying and harassment.
- By monitoring whether pupils from particular groups are more likely to be excluded or disciplined than others.
We ensure that all of our admissions policies are fully compliant with the new School Admissions Code and take care not to present ourselves in a way that might deter parents from particular communities.
Engagement and Ethos
- We are committed to providing a means for children, young people and their families to interact with people from different backgrounds and build positive relationships.
- We will link with different schools and communities locally, across the country and internationally.
We value partnership arrangements that enable the sharing of good practice and offer pupils the opportunity to meet and learn from other young people from different backgrounds. Our partnership opportunities include:
- Promoting links with different types of school, including where appropriate the shared use of facilities.
- Promoting EU and international links.
- Working together with community representatives.
- Maintaining strong links and multi-agency working between the Trust and other local agencies.
- Liaison with voluntary community based activities.
- Engagement with parents through, curriculum evenings, parent groups and family liaison work.
- Provision of extended services, in particular bringing parents together from different backgrounds through parenting and family support and community use of facilities for activities that take place out of school hours.
The Trust’s existing procedure for preventing and tackling bullying and harassment will be incorporated in this scheme. We will develop effective working practices to challenge patronising or discriminating attitudes and behaviour on the grounds of disability, race, gender including trans, age, faith or religion or sexual orientation. We will take steps to encourage learners and staff to report any form of bullying and harassment. We will work to continuously ensure that the environment for students and staff is harmonious and safe.
Communication and Publication
Inspiration Trust is committed to consulting with all stakeholders in relation to its equality and diversity objectives. The Trust will publish the scheme in a draft form and invite comment from a range of both internal and external stakeholders.
The Trust is committed to consulting and communicating with its learners over a range of issues related to its Equality and Diversity scheme and will use student voice programmes in its academies to do so.
Our Single Equality Scheme will underpin our application to become an Investor in Diversity. This recognition relies heavily on consultation with all stakeholders in order to understand our strengths and weaknesses. Feedback will help to shape our strategy for improvement and greater effectiveness in relation to equality and diversity.
The Single Equality Plan sets out the actions we will take to implement the Scheme. A programme of CPD and regular communications through the Trust newsletter will support implementation.
The Scheme will be approved and monitored at local level by the Local Governing Bodies and by the Board of Directors of the Trust to whom an annual report on activity and progress will be submitted.