Is your school complying with equality law?

The Public Sector Equality Duty

In 2012, your school was required to publish information to show how it complies with the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) and set equality objectives.

Your school is required to update that published information at least annually.

In 2016, at the latest, your school should have published new objectives. It is required to do so at least every four years.

Under the PSED, your school management and governing body are required to have ‘due regard’, when making decisions and developing policies, to the need to:

  • eliminate discrimination, harassment, victimisation and other conduct that is prohibited under the Equality Act 2010;

  • advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and people who do not share it;

  • foster good relations across all protected characteristics - between people who share a protected characteristic and people who do not share it.
What does having ‘due regard’ mean for schools?

It means that:

  • a school must assess decisions and gauge their equality;

  • equality implications should be considered before and at the time a policy is developed;

  • each strand of the duty should be considered consciously and separately (eliminating discrimination is different to advancing equality);

  • the risk of any adverse impact that might result from a policy or decision should be assessed;

  • this is not just a box-ticking exercise; and

  • schools must carry out this duty themselves - and record all the steps they have taken to meet the duty.

Email our Member Support Team for advice on what to do next if your school is not complying with the Public Sector Equality Duty.

What are the protected characteristics?
  • Age
  • Disability
  • Gender reassignment
  • Marriage and civil partnerships (only for the first aim of the duty)
  • Pregnancy and maternity
  • Race
  • Religion or belief
  • Sex
  • Sexual orientation

By having a focus on the PSED, your school will be able to:

  • avoid discriminatory practices and integrate equality into its core ‘business’;

  • build a supportive working environment, which leads to better performance/increased productivity,

  • enabling the school to draw upon a broader range of talent; and

  • use up-to-date equality information, which can lead to better decision-making and policy development.

You have a right to:

  • have your needs considered when any policy is developed;

  • be afforded equality of opportunity (where possible);

  • know that any abuse, based on any of the protected characteristics, will be tackled and will not be tolerated;

  • not be bullied;

  • be treated as an individual; and

  • be treated with respect and dignity by all.