ST MARGARET WARD CATHOLIC ACADEMY
EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES POLICY
Equal Opportunities within a school ensures that everybody has the right to learn, teach or work in a secure and supportive environment.
All individuals feel valued and have the opportunity to develop to their full potential within a context of mutual respect, justice and fairness. There should be equal access by everyone and for everyone. This is only possible if there is collective responsibility to challenge all possible discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, class and age.
The Legal Framework
The Educational Reform Act (1988) includes the following issues of equal opportunities:
1. The Curriculum should be broadly balanced, promoting the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils at school and within society.
2. The Curriculum prepares children for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of adult life.
A Mission Statement
At St Margaret Ward Catholic Academy we are committed to supporting each other in a positive and fair learning environment.
We will promote understanding and mutual respect of all members of our society, regardless of difference. This will improve the quality of life for everyone within our school and lead to the development of a more harmonious and equal society.
Everyone within the school community should have the confidence to challenge any social divisions or prejudices that threatens that commitment. We accept that we are all learners, working in a team, where diversity is truly accepted and valued. Any member of our community who does not share our commitment to equal opportunities will be responded to honestly, sensitively and fairly in the sprit of this policy statement.
As a member of the community of St Margaret Ward, whether as a pupil, member of staff or visitor:
I have a right:
I have a responsibility:
These Rights and Responsibilities mean that careful consideration will need to be given to all aspects of our school life:
It is the responsibility of all teachers, and not merely the student support staff, to promote equality, whatever the gender, race or disability of the students. Teachers should, for example, take positive action where incidents of racial abuse (see Racial Equality Policy), sexism or insensitivity with regard to disability occur, and show by their example that all students and cultures are valued.
The school, and particularly those responsible for the new intake, should ensure the following:
a) adequate consultation with feeder primary schools;
b) careful consideration when placing students in classes or groups to ensure a fair and representative balance. This is especially important in a setting situation. In making these decisions, it should be borne in mind that, in a case of a bi-lingual or a disabled student, a student's present attainment may conceal potential ability;
c) during Year Seven, students' progress should be monitored regularly so that, when appropriate, a student's set may be changed.
All staff should ensure that students' names are spelt correctly and pronounced properly. We need to be sensitive to different naming traditions, and encourage students to respect and accept names from cultures other than their own. On entry the student's parent's and guardian's name must be correctly established and recorded with due regard to the appropriate ethnic or cultural origin; and there should be positive encouragement for students and staff to use the correct form of the name.
All staff should ensure they are familiar with the nature of the disability and what is required to enable the student with the disability to have every opportunity to succeed. Where appropriate, professional help and assistance should be sought and used.
Contact with Parents
All parents should be fully involved in the education of their children and in the life of the school. It is hoped that parents from all backgrounds are represented on such parent/teacher bodies as the Board of Governors and School Parent/Teacher Association (P.T.A). Communications to parents should be written in a language appropriate for the family concerned.
Awareness of Cultural Diversity, Gender and Disability
All staff - but particularly Learning and Progress Managers and Form Tutors - should be aware of, and sensitive to, the cultural backgrounds and needs of their students, as well as seeing them as individuals. The school will seek to establish an ethos and atmosphere where the cultural diversity of its students is valued and seen as enriching.
The pastoral system should encourage all students to develop their abilities to the full. Students should be set positive goals, especially at those times in their life at school when key decisions are made (Year Eight/Nine options choices; examination entries; careers advice in Years Ten and Eleven), and when guidance may therefore be essential to prevent under-achievement. External examination results will be monitored.
All children should be encouraged to participate in the extra-curricular life of the school. No student should be effectively excluded or disadvantaged on the grounds of gender, race or disability.
The curriculum, explicit and hidden, should aim (through the whole school policies, subject syllabuses, the tutorial programme and all curriculum planning) to promote racial equality by:
1. creating an understanding of, and interest in, different environment, societies, systems and cultures across the world;
2. ensuring that syllabuses and resources are reviewed to make them relevant to boys and girls in a multi-cultural society;
3. giving a balanced view of other countries, so that the students' conceptions of them are not restricted to stereotypes, and so that they appreciate the strengths and values of ways of life different from their own;
4. studying scientific achievements outside the western world; and finally,
5. by providing positive role models for all students.
Each individual teacher should aim to teach his or her subject in such a way that:
1. children from all backgrounds are equally motivated; and
2. the subject matter of each lesson is made clearly accessible to all children, especially those for whom English is a second language.
The schools commitment to Equal Opportunities will be implemented in the following manner:
The Principal and Vice Principal
Take overall responsibility for the implementation and monitoring of the Equal Opportunities Policy by
1. line managing by the Senior Management Team;
2. allocating sufficient resources to meet equal opportunity priorities;
3. communicating and liaising with the LEA over racist incidents (see Racial Equality Policy) and other issues;
4. ensuring good communications and a high profile for equal opportunities issues by including them in Staff Bulletin, School Development Plan, reports to Governors and other Policies;
5. ensuring that the recruitment and promotion of colleagues is handled fairly and appropriately;
6. and supporting the development of positive links with the community.
Other members of the SLT
Arrange INSET / Induction to ensure that all colleagues are aware of school policies, practices and relevant legal frameworks.
This policy will be evaluated by Staff, Senior Management and the Governors in Autumn Term 2015