Valley End Church of England (VC)

Infant School

SINGLE EQUALITY SCHEME 2015-2018 R8

Autumn 2015

Review Autumn 2018

Foreword

Valley End Church of England Infant School welcomes the implementation of the Equality Duty for the Public Sector and the Community Cohesion Duty. We have chosen to produce this Single Equality Scheme (SES) document in order to fully demonstrate our commitment to promoting and embedding equality and community cohesion into all of our work.

Our scheme includes our whole school – pupils, staff, governors, parents and carers and all those within our extended school community, such as neighbouring schools and learning organisations.

We acknowledge that it is very important for us all to work together in achieving our aim of being fully inclusive and accessible and ultimately in providing a quality learning experience for our children.

The publication of this document is not, therefore, the end of a process but the beginning, ensuring that equality and community cohesion best practices are central to all our work.

Mr R Mead

Headteacher

1. Introduction to our Single Equality Scheme and Action Plan

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.

Overall, Equality Duties are not new to schools. The Duty to Promote Race Equality came into force in 2002, The Duty to Promote Disability Equality came into force in 2006 and The Gender Equality Duty in 2007.

As of 1st April 2011, The Equality Act (2010) has required schools to meet a single Public Sector Equality Duty which encompasses ‘General’ and ‘Specific’ duties in promoting equality across the full range of protected characteristics, namely:

  • Disability

  • Gender Reassignment

  • Race

  • Religion or Belief

  • Sex

  • Sexual Orientation

  • Pregnancy or Maternity

  • Age (as their role as employers)

Our Single Equality Scheme (SES) covers a 3-year period from 2015-2018. It integrates our statutory duties in relation to race, disability, sexual orientation, religion or belief, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, age, marriage and civil partnerships and promoting community cohesion. The duties cover: staff, pupils, and people using the services of the school such as parents and community and includes our priorities and actions to eliminate discrimination and harassment for these equality areas.

Our Single Equality Scheme (SES) enables us to achieve a framework for which action covers all eight equality strands and ensures that we meet our responsibilities of the public sector duties in an inclusive way.

We will continue to meet our statutory duties by reporting annually on the progress of the SES and action plan. This will be reviewed by our Governing Body and will cover activities undertaken in relation to the eight equality strands and promoting community cohesion.

2. Meeting our duties

Under statutory duties all schools have a ‘General Duty’ to:

i. Eliminate discrimination, harassment, victimisation and any other conduct that is

prohibited by the Equality Act 2010;

ii. Advance equality of opportunity between persons who share a protected

characteristic and persons who do not share it; this means:-

removing or minimising disadvantages suffered by persons who share a relevant protected characteristic that are connected to that characteristic.

– taking steps to meet the needs of persons who share a relevant protected characteristic that are different from the needs of persons who do not share it.

– encouraging persons who share a relevant protected characteristic to participate in public life or in any other activity in which participation by such persons is disproportionately low.

iii. Foster good relations between persons who share a protected characteristic and

persons who do not share it; this means:-

– tackling prejudice.

– promoting understanding.

Race Equality

The general duty to promote race equality means that we must have due regard to:

1. Eliminate unlawful racial discrimination

2. Promote equality of opportunity

3. Promote good relations between people of different racial groups.

Dealing with racist incidents

We follow the Local Authority Procedures for dealing with racist actions or any form of discrimination.

Disability Equality

The general duty to promote disability equality is owed to all disabled people which means that we must have due regard to:

1. Promote equality of opportunity between disabled people and other people

2. Eliminate unlawful discrimination

3. Eliminate disability related harassment

4. Promote positive attitudes towards disabled people

5. Encourage participation by disabled people in public life

6. Take steps to take account of disabled people’s disabilities, even where that involves treating disabled people more favourably than other people.

Accessibility

There is specific disability legislation in relation to disabled pupils and accessibility which means we must plan strategically over time to:

1. Increase access to the curriculum

2. Make improvements to the physical environment of the school to increase access

3. Make written information accessible to pupils in a range of different ways

We must ensure that disabled pupils do not receive less favourable treatment and to do this the school has a duty to make reasonable adjustments.

Gender Equality

The general duty to promote gender equality means that we must have due regard to:

1. Eliminate unlawful discrimination and harassment and

2. Promote equality of opportunity between men and women, girls and boys.

The duty also includes the need to consider actions to address the causes of any gender pay gap.

Transgender

Transgender people are explicitly covered by the gender equality duty. The term transgendered refers to a range of people who do not feel comfortable with their birth gender. The school will respect the confidentiality of those seeking gender reassignment and will provide a supportive environment within the school community.

Age, sexual orientation, religion, belief, pregnancy and maternity

We must ensure that we do not to discriminate on these grounds. The scheme includes our priorities and actions to eliminate discrimination to eliminate discrimination and harassment for these equality areas.

Community Cohesion

We also have a responsibility to promote community cohesion, developing good relations across different cultures, ethnic, religious and non-religious socio-economic groups. We have incorporated our priorities into our Single Equality Scheme and Action Plan to make it easier to monitor our progress and performance to meet our objectives.

3. Our School Ethos and Values

Our ethos and values can be viewed on the school website. In addition, to meeting the duties described above, all our actions are further underpinned by our ethos and values. The school’s ethos and values are:-

  • ensure that our school is a caring, trusting learning community that is underpinned by Christian values and beliefs

  • welcome and be hospitable to children and their families from all faiths, backgrounds and beliefs

  • provide active and enjoyable learning opportunities, through practical, collaborative and personalised learning

  • achieve excellence by providing our children with a secure, safe, learning environment and the support to explore and grow in their knowledge of the world

  • develop our children’s understanding of Christianity by establishing an ethos and curriculum that informs them that God is all around, loves them and wants them to be the best they can be

  • equip our children with the skills, independence and values they need for lifelong learning and successful lives

  • encourage children to develop enquiring minds, self-confidence and self-discipline, whilst being aware of and sensitive to the needs and feelings of others

  • develop our children’s understanding of Rights Respecting by informing them of their rights and encouraging them to know that with those rights come responsibilities and skills that have the potential to impact positively on their life choices

  • develop children as individuals and British citizens, who are tolerant, forgiving, and thoughtful towards others

  • establish effective partnerships with parents to ensure the best learning outcomes for all pupils.

4. Our School Setting

Valley End Church of England (Controlled) has a Published Admission Number (PAN) of 60 with the capacity to accommodate 180 pupils, aged 4-7. We currently have 173 children on roll.

School profile: – 17th November 2015.

  • Our pupil gender mix is 47% (82 children) male, 53% (91 children) female throughout the school.

  • Of the information received from parents (114 responded), on roll by their first language, 112 are English, 1 child other than English and 1 child believed to be English.

  • Overall attendance is 98.3%

Looked After Child (LAC) – 0 pupils.

Free School Meals/Ever 6 – 4 pupils

Service children /Ever 4 – 3 pupils

SEND – 5 pupils on the register

5. Collecting and analysing equality information for pupils at Valley End C of E Infant School

Valley End Church of England Infant School is an inclusive, (UNICEF) Rights Respecting School. We use the curriculum and teaching to enhance the self-esteem of all those it serves and to provide a learning environment in which each individual is encouraged to fulfil her/his potential.

We collect and analyse the following equality information for our pupils:

  • Attainment levels

  • Progress levels

  • Attendance levels

  • Racist incidences

  • Exclusions

  • Inclusion in the following groups: English as an Additional Language, Free School Meals, Looked after Children, Service Children, Special Educational Needs and Disabilities and any other children deemed as ‘vulnerable’ (e.g. children who have experienced the death of a parent).

6. Collecting and analysing equality information for employment and governance at Valley End C of E Infant School.

  • Valley End C of E Infant School is committed to providing a working environment free from discrimination, victimisation and harassment.

  • Valley End C of E Infant School recruits an appropriately qualified workforce and governing body that is able to provide a service that respects and responds to the diverse needs of the local population.

  • All staff vacancies are filled using the Local Authority application forms which

contain requests for information relating to ethnicity, gender and disability. Applicants however can choose to indicate they do not wish to give this information.

All information relating to staff is kept on the school’s central database – SIMS.

We collect and analyse the following profile information for our staff and governors.

Information Gathering (Staff and Governors)

  • Applications for employment (via local authority recruitment forms)

  • Staff profile

  • Attendance on staff training events

  • Disciplinary and grievance case – if any

  • Staff appraisals/performance management.

We are mindful of the laws relating to confidentiality when devising this Plan. Although there is a statutory duty to share information about the school’s Single Equality Scheme (SES), we recognise that care must be taken when sharing or publishing statistics, data or information to ensure that any information published cannot be used to identify individuals.

In respect of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and the Data Protection Act 1998, any analysis of sensitive information is undertaken by a senior member of the school staff and a synopsis passed to a working party as required. We have identified the following: The Governing Body profile is not collected.

7. Consultation and Involving People

Valley End C of E Infant School is semi-rural predominantly white community. We appreciate that the legislation states it is important that minority groups (for race, disability and gender) are involved in the formulation and development of equality schemes and action plans, and we endeavour to involve as many people as possible in our community. We believe that there has been equal opportunity for all genders to also contribute.

We involve staff, governors, and our wider school community in creating the Single Equality Scheme (SES) and action plan.

Examples include:

  • Discussion at staff meetings

  • Discussions with the Governing Body

  • Discussion with local schools

  • Discussion with schools in the Guildford Diocese

During discussions, the following good practice was identified:

  • Disabled toilet/adapted toilet

  • Staff well trained on the needs some children have including MAPA training (Positive Touch), Occupational Therapy and Speech and Language training.

  • Friendly and approachable staff –as role models

  • Staff have all taken part in Safeguarding and Child Protection training.

  • Staff have all taken part in Prevent Duty and Child Sex Exploitation training.

  • Staff have all take part in First Aid training.

  • Procedures in place to meet medical needs children may have in conjunction with School Nursing team and in line with the school’s Supporting Pupils at School with Medical Needs Policy.

  • Good record of pastoral care

  • Admission form criteria includes information on disability

  • The school website includes information on Special Needs and Disabilities and inclusive practice

  • SENDCO updates staff about key development with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities.

  • Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy in place.

  • Behaviour Management Policy in place.

  • Anti-Bullying Policy in place

  • IEPs in place for pupils with specific needs

  • The school’s Golden Rules are fully embedded within the life of the school. The Golden Rules are:-

We love and care for each other

We look after property and God’s creation

We always try hard to do our best

We are honest and we always tell the truth

Discussions also identified the following:

  • Ensure easy access to the Equality Scheme when complete – for all our staff community. Share the findings equally and easily

  • Ensure all in the school community understand the definition of ‘Disability’ as stated by the 2005 Disability Act

  • Continue to ensure children are taught about differences and tolerance – as part of the PSHE curriculum, and through age appropriate teaching of aspects of the Prevent Duty.

  • Continue to create an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect where persons involved with the school feel confident about disclosing any disabilities they may have. Also to feel comfortable with being open about ethnicity/religious beliefs

  • Continue to seek community views in a variety of ways – rather than j ust questionnaires, to ensure equality of ability to participate in any information gathering

  • To invite representatives of various charities and organisations relating to race, disability and gender to school to give advice and support and assist with curriculum development (lead assemblies etc)

  • Continue to improve areas of the school to ensure they are fully accessible to all in our community – including those with physical disabilities, hearing and visual disabilities

8. What have we achieved so far

This section details what we have achieved so far in relation to the equality duties and celebrating the outcomes.

Excellent links with parents, the community, other schools and outside agencies contribute very well to pupils’ learning and the extremely high level of care and support provided by the school’ (Ofsted 2009)

Valley End C of E Infant School is committed to promoting equality and diversity in an inclusive and supportive environment for learners, staff and the communities it serves.

(Personal development and well-being – Outstanding – Ofsted 2009)

Pupils refer to love and care, honesty and truthfulness and looking after God’s world as part of their everyday conversation when sharing thoughts about what makes the school special to them. These values underpin the school’s approach to behaviour with an emphasis on forgiveness and the need to treat each other with ‘the love that Jesus showed us’, and are becoming increasingly embedded as part of the curriculum. (Statutory Inspection of Anglican and Methodist Schools – July 2015 – Outstanding).

Our policies and practice result in an inclusive approach to all levels of diversity, (which is regularly reviewed).

Race equality

We have had no racist incidents in school during the current year.

Disability equality

Access for disabled children and adults has been made easier both into the school and to toileting facilities. All pupils and staff are fully involved in the life of the school and have full access to all we offer. If we forsee that mobility could become a greater issue for staff member or a pupil, action will be taken. We recognise that the main entrance to the school, internal access to the Foundation Stage classrooms, and to the main and Early Years playground are conducive to independent access for a wheelchair user.

In addition we believe that Valley End Church of England Infant School can celebrate the following good practice:

Community Cohesion

In addition to the detailed description given above, we also undertake the following:

  • Teaching, learning and curriculum – Our curriculum is fully accessible to all children. Parents are regularly informed of the learning that takes place via communications via Parent Mail, pupil post, information boards inside and out, and through newsletters.

They make an extremely positive contribution to the school and local communities, with a strong enthusiasm for ecology’. (Ofsted 2009)

Engagement and extended services.

  • All our children have access to a range of extended services. Valley End Infant School offers an extremely wide range of extended services including access to school earlier in the morning (Early Bird Club), and through ‘Stepping Stones’ from 3-6pm. A range of clubs after school including, Computer, French, Chess, Football, Dance and Club Energy, offer parents choices to extend their children’s day in a safe and known environment with established providers.

Age

There is representation on our School Council from children of all ages in Key Stage 1. The School Council meets regularly and is supported by staff members. They disseminate discussions and decisions via class meetings and assemblies.

As children progress through the school the children begin to gain responsibilities. These encourage children to become fully involved in the life of the school and to gain an understanding of what it means to be an active member of a community, and in preparation for the next steps in their learning journey.

Religion and Belief

As a Church of England Controlled Infant School, we follow the Guildford Diocese Agreed Syllabus for Religious Education. Pupils are taught about Christianity and the major world faiths – Judaism, Islam and Hinduism in detail together with the celebration of other major faiths important to our school community e.g. Diwali and Hanukah. Worship and prayer are explored in the context of all religions and we try to impart on children how important faith, belief, worship and prayer are to some people and to encourage the value of respect for all. As a Church of England Infant School we have links with local churches. Local clergy may lead Acts of Worship throughout the year. The children also visit the Church of St Saviour Valley End for acts of worship and celebration throughout the year. All children attend and participate at their own level. We respect parents right to withdraw their children from RE and Collective Worship.

9. Equality impact assessments

Equality impact assessment is a systematic method of checking all school policies and practices to ensure they are genuinely accessible and meet the needs of all our staff and the local community in relation to age, disability, gender, race, religion and belief and sexual orientation.

Valley End Church of England Infant School is keen to ensure that none of its policies and practices disadvantage people with disabilities, from different ethnic backgrounds or a differing gender. The school has in place a range of associated policies that have been agreed by all staff and governors.

All school policies are reviewed over a three year period – on the next review, provision for disabled staff and pupils will be considered.

10. Other School Policies

We have used our existing school policies and documents to inform our Single Equality Scheme (SES). These include:

  • School Development Plan

  • Teaching for Learning Policy

  • Personal, Social, Health Education & Policy

  • Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Development

  • Accessibility Action Plan

  • Anti-bullying policy

  • Behaviour Management

  • Whistle-blowing Policy

  • Safeguarding and Child Protection

  • Supporting pupils with medical needs

11. Roles and Responsibilities

  • Our governing body will ensure that the school complies with statutory requirements in respect of this Scheme.

  • Our Headteacher is responsible for the implementation of this Scheme, and will ensure that staff are ware of their responsibilities, that they are given necessary training and support and report progress to the governing body.

  • The Headteacher has day-to-day responsibility for co-ordinating the implementation of the scheme.

  • Our staff are expected to promote an inclusive and collaborative ethos in the school, challenge inappropriate language and behaviour, respond appropriately to incidents of discrimination and harassment, ensure appropriate support for children with additional needs, maintain a good level of awareness of equalities issues.

  • Our pupils have a responsibility to themselves and others to treat each other with respect, to feel valued and to speak out if they witness or are subjected to any inappropriate language or behaviour.

  • We will take steps to ensure all visitors to the school, including parents and carers are adhering to our commitment to equality.

12. Commissioning and Procurement

Valley End Church of England Infant School is required by law to make sure that when we buy services from another organisation to help us provide our services, that organisation will comply with equality legislation. This will be a significant factor in selection during any tendering process.

13. Publishing our scheme

Our Single Equality Scheme (SES) will be made accessible to all persons within our local and school community in the following ways:

  • School website

  • Staff induction

14. Annual Review of Progress

We will continue to review annually the actions we have taken in the development of our Single Equality Scheme (SES) which include:

  • The results of any information gathering activities for race, disabililty and gender and how we used this information towards improvement

  • The outcomes of involvement activities from minority groups within our community

  • A summary from equality impact assessments undertaken

  • An update of the progress made against priorities

  • Celebrating what we have achieved in relation to promoting community cohesion

We will also revise our Single Equality Scheme (SES) and Action Plan every three years.

15. Ongoing evolvement of our scheme

We will continue to involve people from all aspects of our school community in the ongoing evolvement of our Single Equality Scheme and Action Plan. This includes:

  • A regular slot at School Council meetings to discuss equality and diversity issues

  • A regular slot at staff meetings