St Joseph’s Catholic
Primary School, Brighouse
Equal Opportunities Policy
Our school aims to offer an excellent education, working with our families and our parish, building on the Gospel values of love, peace, justice and forgiveness.
In our Catholic school of St. Joseph’s, we believe that each one of us is a unique gift of a loving God and we strive daily to create an environment of trust, respect, tolerance, honesty and forgiveness of others. We aim to nurture our school as a place where the love of God enters into the hearts of all in our school family and where success is measured by the words and actions of all to be the kind of people God, in his love, intends us to be.
We seek to offer all in our school family the opportunity to explore the mystery which God is and to live out each day demonstrating the Gospel of Jesus Christ in action. All are included and valued regardless of colour, race, creed, gender, physical or intellectual ability or cultural background.
We strive to work in wider active partnership with all who are responsible for the welfare and education of all the children in our care.
Through daily, prayerful worship which nurtures personal reflection of our own faith journey and develops our awareness of the needs of the wider community, we proclaim and celebrate God’s love for us all.
LOVE – one another as Jesus teaches us to do
LEARN - so that we can know God better in all things
LIVE - life to the full as God intended us to do
Theological Rationale: The human person is created ‘in the image of God’ and since that is so each person possesses ‘a basic dignity that comes from God … and not from any human quality or accomplishment, not from race, or gender, age or economic status’.
This Christian vision is expressed and explored in the Catholic life of our school and is understood as ‘a work of love’. Through Christ’s command to ‘love one another as I have loved you’ (Jn 15:12) we understand equality to mean treating everyone with equal dignity and worth valuing their particular characteristics such as their age, disability, gender, religion or belief, sexual orientation and socio-economic circumstances.
Christ purposely included in his ministry those who were excluded by prejudice and discrimination. With his example in mind we understand that people have different needs, situations and goals and therefore achieving equality means removing discriminatory barriers that limit what people (especially children and young people) can do and can be. We are aware that discrimination can be experienced directly and indirectly, intentionally and inadvertently in a variety of ways by individuals, groups, institutions or system, and aim to eliminate all forms of discrimination in our school and to abide by the Equality Act of 2010.
Principle 1: All members of the school and the wider community are equal in value.
This principle applies: to those who are disabled or not; all ethnicities, cultures, religious affiliations, national origins or socio-economic circumstances, gender or sexual orientation and age.
Principle 2: Diversity is recognised and respected
Therefore our policies and procedures are differentiated as appropriate to take diversity into account and to eliminate barriers caused by any disadvantages in relation to: disability, so that reasonable adjustments are made; ethnicity, to respect cultural background and experiences of prejudice; gender so that differences between them are recognised.
Principle 3: Fostering of positive attitudes and relationships and a shared sense of unity and belonging. Therefore: to promote positive attitudes and relationships between the groups listed above in Principle 1.
Principle 4: Ensure that the recruitment, retention and ongoing development of staff is undertaken fairly and equitably to support our school’s vision and values, with reference to the groups listed in Principle 1.
Principle 5: Positively we aim to reduce and remove existing inequalities and barriers for the groups in Principle 1.
Principle 6: We consult widely with all the groups listed in Principle 1.
Principle 7: We aim to benefit the whole community through greater unity/cohesion locally and nationally by the greater participation in public life of all the groups listed in Principle 1.
The delivery of teaching and learning already reflects the 7 Principles outlined above in virtue of our Catholic Faith and ethos, and is carefully monitored. (The content of the curriculum is excluded from discrimination law.)
Opportunities for staff training in appropriate delivery are, and continue to be, offered.
Ethos and Organisation
The above seven Principles, in keeping with our Catholic faith and values, apply to all our policies and practices, including the following:
- Learners’ progress, attainment and assessment
- Learners’ and staff personal development, welfare and well-being
- Teaching styles and strategies
- Admissions and attendance (Admissions give permitted priority to Catholics)
- Staff and governor recruitment, retention and professional development
- Care, guidance, support
- Behaviour, discipline, exclusions
- Working in partnership with parents, carers, guardians
- Working with the wider community, including wider school activities
- Preparing all members of our community to live in and contribute positively to a diverse society.
Addressing Prejudice and Prejudice-Related Bullying
The school operates a zero-tolerance policy to all forms of prejudice, of whatsoever stripe.
The staff are given guidance on how prejudice-related incidents should be identified, assessed, recorded and dealt with.
We respect our obligation to report such incidents, and their details, to the local authority in line with present and future legal requirements.
Roles and Responsibilities
The Governing Body is responsible for ensuring that the school complies with current legislation, and for the implementation, procedures and strategies of this policy.
The dedicated Governor carrying a watching brief for the implementation of this policy is: Mr I Goulding
The Headteacher is responsible for implementing this policy, for ensuring that all staff, governors and visitors are aware of their responsibilities and are given appropriate training and support, and for taking action in cases of unlawful discrimination.
The senior member of staff who has day-to-day responsibility for co-ordinating and implementing this policy is: Mrs M Hodges
Equality in the Classroom
- Our school’s Catholic values insist on an inclusive and collaborative ethos
- Prejudice-related incidents are challenged and dealt with swiftly
- We aim to identify and challenge bias and stereotyping in the curriculum
- Pupils for whom English is an additional language receive support
- We aim to keep up to date with Equality legislation in so far as it relates to teaching
- Through our school councillors all pupils have a forum for any matters
The religious beliefs of all staff, pupils and parents are respected and we comply with reasonable requests relating to religious observance and practice. (The 2010 Act does not cover the daily Act of Worship. However, parents have the right to withdraw their children from it and from RE lessons, but they must make provision for their child during these periods.)
Staff Development and Training
Staff are provided with information on equality issues as necessary, given appropriate training and opportunities for professional development, individually or as a team.
Breaches of this Policy
These are dealt with in the same way as other school policies as determined by the Head Teacher and the Governing Body.
Monitoring and Evaluation
Quantitative and qualitative data are routinely collected and utilised in the implementation of all our policies, including this one, with regard to all the groups listed in Principle 1 above.
Developing and Implementing this Scheme
We use Equality Impact Assessments (EQUIAs) to determine the negative and positive impacts of our equality policy on all the listed groups, with whom we have consulted and will continue to do so. In this way we ensure that we meet the diverse needs of our pupils and staff to ensure that each is included in all areas of school life.
Areas for Priority Treatment
Access: Examine any adjustments which need to be made for pupils with an identified disability.
Prejudice: To stress again and repeatedly our policy of zero tolerance for any prejudicial behaviour.
Stereotyping: To honour difference but to ensure that there is no stereotyping in the curriculum or wider activities.
Inter-school activities: Foster further links between neighbouring schools with regard to shared wider activities.
Aims and Objectives
- We do not discriminate against anyone, be they the staff or pupil, on the grounds of their sex, race, colour, religion, nationality, ethnic or national origins. This is in line with the 1976 Race Relations Act and covers both direct and indirect discrimination.
- We promote the principles of fairness and justice for all through the education that we provide in our school.
- We ensure that all pupils have equal access to the full range of educational opportunities provided by the school.
- We constantly strive to improve any forms of indirect discrimination that may form barriers to learning.
- We ensure that all recruitment, employment, promotion and training systems are fair to all, and provide opportunities for everyone to achieve.
- We challenge stereotyping and prejudice whenever it occurs.
- We celebrate the cultural diversity of our community and show respect for all minority groups.
- We are aware that low self-image and ignorance cause prejudice and stereotyping. Through positive educational experiences and support for each individual’s point of view, we aim to promote positive social attitudes and respect for all.
- It is the right of all pupils to receive the best education the school can provide, with access to all educational activities organised by the school. We do not tolerate any forms of racism or anti-racial behaviour. Should a racist incident occur, we will act immediately to prevent any repetition of the incident.
- Our curriculum reflects the attitudes, values and respect that we have for minority ethnic groups.
- Should anyone at our school be a victim of racism, we will report it to the Diocese, Local Authority and Governors and do all we can to support that person overcoming any difficulties they may have.
- See also PREVENT Statement
The Role of Governors
- The Governing Body has set out it’s commitment to equal opportunities in this policy statement, and it will continue to do all it can to ensure that all members of the school community are treated fairly and with equality.
- The Governing Body seeks to ensure that people with disabilities are not discriminated against when applying for jobs at our school. The Governors take all reasonable steps to ensure that the schools environment gives access to people with disabilities where the building which has many levels will allow.
- The Governing Body will in its annual general meeting, make reference to arrangements for disabled pupils.
- The Governors welcome all applications to join the school, whatever background or disability a child may have though priority is given to practising Catholics with regard to admissions.
- The Governing Body ensures that no child is discriminated against whilst in our school on account of their sex, religion or race. So, for example, all children have access to the full range of the curriculum.
The Role of the Headteacher
- It is the Headteacher’s role to implement the school’s equal opportunities and anti-racism policy and he is supported by the Governing Body in doing so.
- It is the Head Teacher’s role to ensure that all staff are aware of the school policy on equal opportunities, and that teachers apply these guidelines fairly in all situations.
- The Head Teacher ensures that all appointments panels give due regard to this policy, so that no one is discriminated against when it comes to employment or training opportunities.
- The Head Teacher promotes the principle of equal opportunity when developing the curriculum, and promotes respect for other people in all aspects of school life, for example, in worship and assembly, where respect for other people is a regular theme, and in displays shown around the school.
- The Head Teacher treats all incidents of unfair treatment and any racist incidents with due seriousness.
The Role of the Class Teacher
- The class teacher ensures that all pupils are treated fairly, equally and with respect. We do not discriminate against any child.
- When selecting classroom material, teachers’ pay due regard to the sensitivities of all members of the class. Teachers strive to provide material that gives positive images of ethnic minorities and that challenges stereotypical images of minority groups.
- When designing schemes of work, we use this policy to guide us, both in our choice of topics to study, and in how to approach sensitive issues.
- All our teachers challenge any incidents of prejudice or racism. We record any serious incidents in the school logbook, and draw them to the attention of the Head Teacher. Teachers support the work of support staff and encourage them to intervene in a positive way against any occurrence of discrimination.
Monitoring and Review
It is the responsibility of the Governing Body to monitor the effectiveness of this Equal Opportunities Policy. The Governing body does this by:
- Requiring the Head Teacher to report to governors on an annual basis on the effectiveness of this policy
- Monitoring the staff appointment process, so that no-one applying for a post at this school is discriminated against.
- Monitoring the progress of pupils of minority groups and comparing it to the progress made by other pupils in school
Taking into serious consideration any complaints regarding equal opportunities issues from parents, staff or pupils and following the recommended procedures from the Diocese and/LA.
This policy will be reviewed by the staff and Governors every 2 years.