Schools and equalities
The Equality Act 2010
requires all schools and public bodies to advance equality, promote good relations and eliminate discrimination on the grounds of the nine protected characteristics which are:
- gender reassignment
- marriage and civil partnership
- pregnancy and maternity
- religion or belief
- sexual orientation
The Equality Act 2010 and the Disability Duty
Under the Equality Act 2010 there is a requirement for public sector bodies, including schools, to promote equality for disabled people in every aspect of their work and
- requires schools to adopt a proactive approach, mainstreaming disability equality into all decisions and activities
- applies to disabled pupils in education and in any non-educational services such as after school clubs, school trips etc
- applies also to parents, members of staff, visitors to the school, local community members and to potential pupils of the future
The council has to put in place an accessibility strategy and each school has to put in place a corresponding accessibility plan.
Although the accessibility plan is different to a strategic equality plan, it can be published as a part of it, or as part of another document such as the school development or school improvement plan.
ESTYN inspections may include a school’s accessibility plan as part of their review.
The plan must show how the school is:
- Improving disabled pupils’ participation in the curriculum
- improving the physical environment of schools to enable those with disabilities to take better advantage of education, benefits, facilities and services provided
- improving access to information
Schools will need to provide adequate resources for implementing plans and must review them regularly.