Equality Policy & Schemes
The Equality Act 2010 provides a single legal framework to provide a more effective means of tackling disadvantage and discrimination. It harmonises previous equality legislation much of what is required by schools is already being carried out by them. It no longer requires schools to provide separate Disability, Gender and Race Equality Schemes.
The Equality Act 2010 introduced a single Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) (sometimes also referred to as the ‘general duty’) that applies to public bodies, including maintained schools and Academies (including Free Schools), 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 and other conduct that is prohibited by the Act,
- advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and people who do not share it,
- foster good relations across all characteristics - between people who share a protected characteristic and people who do not share it.
Specific duties are meant to help public bodies fulfil their obligations under the PSED. They are designed to be light-touch and proportionate. The emphasis is on transparency - making information available so that the local community can see how, and through what key objectives, the public body is advancing equality in line with the PSED.
The specific duties regulations require public bodies to:
- publish information to demonstrate how they are complying with the Public Sector Equality Duty, and
- prepare and publish equality objectives.