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Thelwall Junior School Equalities Policy

Introduction

Thelwall Junior School is an inclusive and caring environment; we believe that all children deserve to feel safe, happy and included in school. Therefore, we aim to create an inclusive environment where we embrace one another’s differences and ensure that no individual is subject to discrimination.

This policy applies to all children who attend Thelwall Junior School, staff, visitors, volunteers, governors, parents and carers. Thelwall Junior School recognises that in order for us to create a loving and tolerant culture, the ethos that all people are equal must be adopted holistically by the entire school and wider community.

Legislation

This policy directly links to ‘The Equality Act 2010 and Schools’ May 2014 from The Department for Education.

This policy is also written incorporating and relating to the content of Exploring the school’s actions to prevent and tackle homophobic and transphobic bullying’ April 2014 from Ofsted.

Protected Characteristics

Thelwall Junior School recognises that it is unlawful for a school to discriminate against a pupil or prospective pupil by treating them less favourably because of their:

  • Sex
  • Race
  • Disability
  • Religion or belief
  • Sexual orientation
  • Gender reassignment
  • Pregnancy or maternity

This policy looks at all the mentioned protected characteristics and how best to support the individual, including procedures in cases of bullying and harassment and the emotional wellbeing of our pupils.

Gender

“Schools need to make sure that pupils of one sex are not singled out for different and less favourable treatment from that given to other pupils”. The Equality Act 2010 and Schools, p.20.

Here at Thelwall Junior School, we see all genders as equal and actively promote this within our school community. Therefore the expectations and treatment of all individuals from any gender is equal and consistent.

There are some issues and examples that raise questions as to whether schools treat individuals from different genders equally. These are addressed here at Thelwall Junior School as follows:

  • As Thelwall Junior School is not a single-sex school, we would never fail to admit an individual based on their gender.
  • We have a gender-neutral uniform and so individual pupils can wear which ever items they feel to be appropriate for them.
  • All classes generally are co-educated (meaning all genders are present). The only exception is sex and relationships and/or puberty lessons where it may be that boys and girls are taught separately. However this is not unlawful as all genders will receive the lesson. Transgender pupils, or pupils who identify as gender neutral are entitled to attend whichever class they feel best suits them, or both if that may be the case.
  • The Equality Act does permit single sex sport classes as it is deemed that “the physical strength, stamina or physique of the average woman (or girl) would put her at a disadvantage to the average man (or boy)”. The Equality Act 2010 and Schools, p.20.
  • However here at Thelwall Junior School all genders participate in the same P.E lessons as a co- educated group and access the same sporting activities.

Race and Ethnicity

The definition of race includes colour, nationality and ethnic or national origins. Thelwall Junior School is a multi-cultural environment and we embrace our diverse community. We accept one another’s differences and we actively promote the ethos of tolerance, love and respect to all.

Any racial or discriminatory incidents where an individual is made to feel segregated, harassed or bullied will be taken extremely seriously. This means that anti-bullying procedures will be rigorously followed and the Local Authority will be notified.

Thelwall Junior School also promotes British Values set out by the Department for Education. These are:

  • Democracy
  • The rule of law
  • Individual liberty
  • Mutual respect for and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs.

Thelwall Junior School will not tolerate any form of behaviour or any incidents that compromise these values. This includes any extreme or radical behaviour or views; appropriate measures will be taken in such circumstances, including notifying external agencies where appropriate. This is set out in the school’s Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy.

Disability

The law regarding disability discrimination is distinctive from other protected characteristics featured in The Equality Act. As stated in the guidance:

The law […] protects disabled people but not people who are not disabled. This means that schools are allowed to treat disabled pupils more favourably than non-disabled pupils, and in some cases are required to do so, by making reasonable adjustments to put them on a more level footing with pupils without disabilities”. The Equality Act 2010 and Schools, p.11.

This means that any pupil attending Thelwall Junior School, who has a disability, may receive more favourable treatment to ensure that they have the same opportunities and experiences as other pupils. This may include reasonable adjustments being made, including the provision and use of auxiliary aids.

“Schools and Local Authorities have a duty to supply auxiliary aids and services as reasonable adjustments where these are not being supplied by Special Educational Needs Statements or other sources”. The Equality Act 2010 and Schools, p.24.

The Act defines a disability as “when a person has a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long term adverse effect on that person’s ability to carry out normal day to day activities”. Long term is defined as lasting, or likely to last for at least 12 months.

Thelwall Junior School also recognises that some medical conditions would also come under this category, including but not specific to, HIV, multiple sclerosis and cancer. We acknowledge that any chronic health condition can have a significant impact on an individual’s wellbeing as well as their ability to access their education. Therefore we will strive to put in place the appropriate support for any individual with an additional need, disability or medical condition. Thelwall Junior School also recognises that it is the individual’s right to determine as to whether they consider themselves to have a disability, (or parents/carers where appropriate) and it is not always for us to make that judgement.

The Equalities Policy is directly linked to Thelwall Junior School’s SEND policy. We value our pupils regardless of their individual needs or abilities. Unfair treatment, bullying or harassment of pupils with SEND will not be tolerated and appropriate actions will be taken in accordance with the school’s anti-bullying policy.

Religion or belief

“The Equality Act defines “religion” as being any religion and “belief” as any religious or philosophical belief. A lack of religion or a lack of belief are also protected characteristics”. The Equality Act 2010 and Schools p. 19

Admissions

Thelwall Junior School is not a faith school although it recognises the Christian beliefs and values of the Church of England. Thelwall Junior School will accept pupils from any faith or background and no individual will be refused entry unless oversubscribed. Thelwall Junior School works hard to celebrate individual religious and cultural backgrounds through the British Values of tolerance and respect.

Acts of worship

At Thelwall Junior School is a non-secular school. However, this worship is distinctly Christian. We study and also invite guests from other religions to share their faith. Thelwall Junior School respects the right for any individual attending our school to perform acts of worship according to their own religious denomination, and would make appropriate arrangements for a pupil to do so.

The curriculum

The content of the school curriculum is excluded from discrimination law. However, the way in which education is provided and the delivery of the curriculum is included. In addition to this, Thelwall Junior School has an obligation to teach its pupils core values and beliefs.

Our responsibility as a school is to provide our pupils with the information contained both in the curriculum and key beliefs. Teachers and other staff members have a responsibility to present all information in an unbiased and honest format to ensure that pupils received a balanced view in order to make an informed choice. Here at Thelwall Junior School, we actively encourage pupils to question and challenge information as well as respect the beliefs of others. We believe this teaches the fundamental life skills of challenge, acquiring information, reasoning and being able to make informed and independent choices.

Sexual orientation

Here at Thelwall Junior School, we understand the significance of relationships in a person’s life; it is therefore our responsibility to support all loving and caring relationships. We celebrate all sexual orientations and understand and value an individual’s right to be open and honest about whom they are attracted to.

We understand that oppressing a person’s sexual orientation can be extremely damaging and instead we encourage individuals not only to embrace their own sexual orientation, but also accept what this looks like for other people. This is not to say that we encourage children and young people to form romantic relationships or to have sexual relationships. It is, rather, about celebrating individual identity and removing any stigmas that surround gay, lesbian, bi or pansexual individuals.

At Thelwall Junior School, we also want to move away from heteronormativity (that is to assume that most individuals are straight and that this is superior). We want to instead create an environment where children are saturated in appropriate language and factual knowledge; this will ensure that different sexual orientations are not stigmatised or seen as wrong and are instead celebrated. We believe that this sort of approach will break down barriers and animosity between groups and create a more tolerant and loving environment. Again, as with any of the above mentioned characteristics, bullying or discrimination of any kind towards an individual based on their sexual orientation will not be tolerated and the school’s anti-bullying procedures will be followed.

Gender identity and gender reassignment

Here at Thelwall Junior School, we understand that for some pupils, their gender identity may not correlate to their assigned physiological sex. This can be a confusing and difficult situation for an individual and our priority is to protect their mental health and emotional wellbeing by supporting them fully during this time.

For children who identify as transgender or who may be going through gender reassignment, school will be an open environment where they can identify as whichever gender feels right to them.

Names and pronouns

We believe children and young people have the right to be recognised by the gender they identify as, including the appropriate use of pronouns (he, she, them, they). If a transgender child wishes to be known by a different name, school will fully support this. However, we may not be able to change names on certain documents until an individual’s name has been legally changed.

The use of toilets and/or changing rooms

Any transgender individual attending Thelwall Junior School has the right to use which ever toilet or changing facility they feel is appropriate for their gender identity, including facilities offsite. For example if a child is identifying themselves as a girl, but is still physiologically male, they have the right to use ladies/girls toilets or changing facilities if that is what they prefer. An individual will never be told to use a certain gender denominated facility as we recognise that could be a traumatic and damaging experience.

If other children, parents or carers have an issue with a transgender child using certain toilet or changing facilities, alternative arrangements or facilities will be arranged for their child and not the transgender pupil.

Support for the individual and their family

For a child who is transgender, it may be necessary to provide emotional support to help them manage and cope with their situation. It may also be the case that support is required by the child’s family. In either case Thelwall Junior School will always ensure that families are adequately supported during an individual’s transition.

Our priority in every circumstance is to listen to the voice of the child. Therefore if a child is telling us that they are transgender, we will always listen to their wishes and recognise them by the gender they wish to be identified by. Our hope is that we would work in conjunction with families to best help the individual; however if a family disputes or objects to a child being known by a different name or gender, school will always follow the wishes of the child.

Thelwall Junior School understands the damaging effect in not recognising their identified gender can have on a transgender child. Therefore, if an individual’s family continued to put a child’s wellbeing at risk by failing to acknowledge their preferred gender, this could be deemed as emotional abuse and therefore safeguarding procedures as set out in the Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy would be followed. Our preference however, would always be for all parties to work together in the best interest of the child.

This policy is written in conjunction with Thelwall Junior School’s Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy.

Pregnancy or maternity

Thelwall Junior School recognises and supports that any young person who becomes pregnant or is a parent already, is entitled to receive suitable education. Although it is extremely unlikely for this to happen within our context, we support the whole family and understand that it may effect siblings and/or relations of our pupils.

Thelwall Junior School also recognises that staff who are pregnant or who are parents already must be treated fairly and not be put at a disadvantage. However it may be appropriate for reasonable adjustments to be made for those who are pregnant or who are parents already, such as attending appointments for example.

Uniform

The Equalities Policy is instrumental in the school’s uniform. This means that here at Thelwall Junior School, the uniform applies to all pupils and does not discriminate against gender, race, religion and belief, disability, gender reassignment or sexual orientation.

Individuals have the right to wear any item listed on the uniform list regardless of any of the protected characteristics mentioned above.

Protecting the Individual

Thelwall Junior School acknowledges the four kinds of unlawful behaviour that are defined in the equalities act. These are:

  1. Direct discrimination “when one person treats another less favourable because of a protected characteristic, then they treat, or would treat – other people”.
  2. Indirect discrimination – “when a “provision, criterion or practice is applied generally but has the effect of putting people with a particular characteristic at a disadvantage when compared to people without that characteristic”.
  3. Harassment – “unwanted conduct, related to a relevant protected characteristic, which has the purpose or effect of violating a person’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading humiliating or offensive environment for that person
  4. Victimisation – “when a person is treated less favourably than they otherwise would have been because of something they have done in connection with the Act”.

Here at Thelwall Junior School, bullying of any kind will not be tolerated. We always try to educate our pupils on these topics and actively celebrate individual differences. However, if an individual is subject to bullying or harassing behaviour as a result of any of the mentioned protected characteristics; serious action will be taken against the perpetrator. We believe every individual has the right to be themselves and school should provide a happy and safe environment for them to do so. This policy is written in conjunction to Thelwall Junior School’s Anti-Bullying Policy.

Links to other policies

  • Anti-bullying policy
  • Behaviour and Discipline Policy
  • Sex and Relationships Policy
  • SEN and Inclusion Policy
  • Safeguarding and Child Protection policy
  • Appendix

Appendix 1 – Glossary of terms:

 

Gender Identity

This is the gender you identify as, or feel that you are. This doesn’t

necessarily correlate to your sex that was assigned at birth. An individual’s gender identity could be man or woman or could lie within the fluid model of a non-binary gender.

Gender Expression

This is how an individual expresses themselves, through mannerisms, clothes etc. This is much more transient then gender identity and can

change regularly.

Assigned Sex

This is your physiological gender. Typically, this is decided pre/post-natal based on external genitals. However 1 in 2000 people are not solely male/female. Hormones, internal genitals and chromosomes also

determine an individual’s assigned sex.

Sexual orientation

An inherent or immutable enduring emotional, romantic or sexual

attraction to other people

Transgender

A person who lives as a member of a gender other than that assigned at

birth based on anatomical sex.

Transsexual

A person who identifies psychologically as a gender/sex other than the one to which they were assigned at birth. Transsexuals often wish to transform their bodies hormonally and surgically to match their inner sense of

gender/sex.

Transvestite

A person who dresses as the binary opposite gender expression (“cross-

dresses”) for any one of many reasons, including relaxation, fun, and sexual gratification (often called a “cross-dresser,” and should not be confused with transsexual).

Cisgender

A person whose gender identity and biological sex assigned at birth align.

Intersex

Term for a combination of chromosomes, hormones, internal sex organs,

and genitals that differs from the two expected patterns of male or female.

Gender dysphoria

Clinically significant distress caused when a person’s assigned birth gender

is not the same as the one with which they identify.

Bisexual

A person who is emotionally, physically, and/or sexually attracted to men

and women.

Pansexual

A person who experiences sexual, romantic, physical, and/or spiritual

attraction for members of all gender identities/expressions.

Straight

A person primarily emotionally, physically, and/or sexually attracted to

people who are not their same sex/gender.

Gay

Individuals who are primarily emotionally, physically, and/or sexually attracted to members of the same sex and/or gender. More commonly used when referring to men who are attracted to other men, but can be

applied to women as well.

Lesbian

Women who have the capacity to be attracted romantically, erotically,

and/or emotionally to some other women.

Asexual

Experiencing little or no sexual attraction to others and/or a lack of interest in sexual relationships/behaviour. Asexuality exists on a continuum from people who experience no sexual attraction or have any desire for sex, to those who experience low levels, or sexual attraction only under specific conditions. Asexuality does not exist on its own; an individual will have a

sexual orientation and be asexual.

Non-binary

The recognition that gender is not just a male-female construction and that

 

 

gender is more of a spectrum format.

Questioning

An individual who or time when someone is unsure about or exploring their

own sexual orientation or gender identity.

Gender-neutral

An individual who doesn’t identify as a specific gender.

Androgynous

a gender expression that has elements of both masculinity and femininity

Cisnormativity

The assumption, in individuals or in institutions, that everyone is cisgender,

and that cisgender identities are superior to trans* identities or people.

Heteronormativity

The assumption, in individuals or in institutions, that everyone is

heterosexual.

 

 

Appendix 2 – The Genderbread Person

 

 
 

 

 

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