Equality & Diversity
The South Hams Federation – Equality Duty
The Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED), part of the Equality Act, came into force in April 2011. It requires organisations to eliminate unlawful discrimination, advance equality of opportunity, and foster good relations.
Equality brings quality for everyone and the creation of a society where everyone can participate and achieve their potential.
Equality is about valuing a person ‘as an equal’ and treating people according to their needs and characteristics to achieve an equal or fair outcome – it’s not necessarily about treating everyone the same.
An equal society values human diversity, recognising that diversity brings a range of skills, knowledge, values, styles, perspectives and ideas that secure our future as a place where people want to learn, work and prosper, and challenges the inequalities that destroy this diversity in our society and organisations.
The duty has a key role to play in making sure that fairness is at the heart of public bodies’ work and that public services meet the needs of different groups. It covers a range of public bodies, including schools, NHS organisations, government departments, local authorities, and police authorities.
The duty replaces the three former duties that required government departments, local authorities and other public bodies to take into account gender, race and disability equality both as employers and when making policy decisions and delivering services. The duty standardises this requirement and also extends it to cover age, marriage and civil partnership, religion or belief, sexual orientation, pregnancy and maternity and gender reassignment.
Section 149(1) of the Equality Act 2010 puts various requirements on schools when exercising their functions. The general duty requires schools to have due regard to:
- eliminate discrimination, harassment and victimisation and other conduct prohibited under the Act
- advance equality of opportunity between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it
- foster good relations between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it
Having “due regard” means consciously thinking about the three aims of the PSED as part of the process of decision-making. This means that consideration of equality issues must influence the decisions reached by schools, such as:
- how they act as employers
- how they develop, evaluate and review policy
- how they design, deliver and evaluate services
- how they commission and procure from others
The South Hams Federation is committed to adopting the aims of the PSED in all schools and workplaces. The Public Sector Equality Duty introduces legislation in the form of specific duties. The duties require schools to:
- Publish information to demonstrate how they are complying with the PSED. This information must include, in particular, information relating to people who share a protected characteristic
- Prepare and publish equality objectives
The South Hams Federation is committed to eliminating discrimination, providing equality of opportunity and challenging prejudice in order to advance the achievement of equality and ensure good relations between diverse groups across all of the schools.
Equality Objectives 2022-24
At The South Hams Federation, we are committed to ensuring equality of education and opportunity for all pupils, staff, parents and carers, irrespective of race, gender, disability, belief, religion or socio-economic background. We have an Equality and Diversity Lead within our Federation to help promote good practices. In order to further support pupils, raise standards and ensure inclusive teaching, we have set ourselves the following objectives:
To monitor and analyse pupil achievement by, gender and special educational need or disability and act on any trends or patterns in the data that require additional support for pupils.
To raise levels of attainment in core subjects for vulnerable learners. For vulnerable – Pupil Premium including: FSM, LAC, Post LAC and EAL pupils to achieve national average levels in Reading, Writing and Maths.
To raise levels of parental and pupil engagement in learning and school life, across all activities including regular attendance to ensure equity and fairness in access and engagement.
The Senior Leadership Team and Governors at The South Hams Federation regularly review the progress we are making to meet our equality objectives with regard to the protected groups (race, disability, gender, gender reassignment, age, pregnancy and maternity, marital status, sexual orientation, religion and belief and sexual orientation).