Equality, Diversity and Community Cohesion Policy
The Equality Act 2010 replaces the existing anti-discrimination laws with a single Act.
Superseded legislation includes the Sex Discrimination Act 1975, Race Relations Act 1976 and Disability Discrimination Act 1995.
Racist incidents are recorded and reported on a termly basis to the Governing Body and Lambeth. Any actions are agreed at the governing body meeting. This is a statutory duty.
Single Equality Scheme
This Equality, Diversity and Community Cohesion Policy incorporates the following policies and schemes into a single document:
- gender equality scheme
- race equality policy
- disability equality scheme
- accessibility plan
- community cohesion audit
It identifies how we monitor the implementation of the policy, assessing its impact on:
- children and families
- staff and job applicants
- visitors and partners.
We are committed to ensuring that children and families, staff and job applicants, visitors and partners do not experience discrimination. We are committed to promoting equality, celebrating diversity and working together for community cohesion. To achieve this, everybody involved with Ethelred will have access and opportunity irrespective of race, ethnicity, culture, religion, belief, home language, family background, learning difficulties or disabilities, ability, gender (including gender reassignment), sexual orientation, marital or civil partnership status and age.
Any occasions where discrimination is expressed or experienced will be appropriately challenged.
- That we actively promote the values inherent in the Every Child Matters document: that all should feel safe, healthy, secure and enjoy emotional well–being in order to achieve.
- That Ethelred is a safe and happy environment where all people involved feel enabled to enjoy the setting free from any behaviour that injures, discriminates and offends.
- To ensure that all individuals are able to learn, teach, work and visit the setting in an atmosphere where they feel safe, respected and valued.
- To ensure that all behaviour that injures, discriminates, and offends is dealt with through consistent strategies and discussion with all the people involved.
- To enable all individuals to have the opportunity to develop to their full potential within the setting in a context of fairness and mutual respect.
- To ensure that Ethelred promotes equality of opportunity and promotes good relations between people of different groups.
- To promote community cohesion through working towards a society in which there is a common vision and sense of belonging by all communities.
Strategies to Achieve our Aims:
Equality of opportunity
- Our admissions policy does not discriminate against any group. Children with additional needs and who meet the Lambeth criteria may receive an earlier start date or be able to access a full-time place.
- Attendance is monitored to identify any individual or group where attendance is low; steps are taken to support improvements.
- Progress in English, for those children for whom English is an additional language, is monitored, measured, and evaluated in a more detailed format than for their monolingual peers. The children are given extra focused language support as required in group time and in the classroom. We recognise that “bilingualism is an asset, and the first language has a continuing and significant role in identity, learning and the acquisition of additional languages” (Primary National Strategy: Supporting Children learning English as an additional language). Staff explain to parents the importance of continuing to speak their home language with their child to support their cognitive development.
- Access to equipment and to areas of the curriculum will be monitored through daily evaluation, and any disparity (of cultural, gender, ability, etc.) will be addressed. We aim to promote equality of opportunity for boys and girls by challenging stereotypes, fostering a positive disposition to learning by valuing different learning styles and preferences e.g. providing learning opportunities within contextualised physical play outdoors, and monitoring access to all areas of the curriculum. We value each child as a unique individual with different strengths and interests, and will aim to plan according to their interests to support them in their learning. Parents’/carers’ access to the library, workshops, meetings etc. will be monitored and evaluated. Resources will be monitored to ensure suitability. The curriculum will also be differentiated to allow for different levels of ability and interests.
- All parents/carers are encouraged to use the libraries so that family circumstances do not prevent any child having the opportunity of reading books in the home. We ensure that our range of books include books written in languages that represent the linguistic background of our families. Games supporting understanding of mathematical concepts are also available for loan.
- All children receive a ‘Bookstart’ gift during their time at Ethelred.
- Practitioners’ knowledge of their children’s different learning styles, talents and achievement influence planning decisions to ensure that all children access learning. This knowledge also helps practitioners encourage children to broaden their experiences in areas/ways they are less experienced or less confident in.
- Children’s attainment and progress is monitored individually and analysed by different groups e.g. boys, girls, SEND, ethnicity, EAL, deprivation and attendance; any differences are highlighted and can then be addressed.
- ESOL classes are held regularly to meet the significant need in the community for parents/carers to develop their skills speaking English.
- Interpreters are used when needed to support meetings.
- The Children’s Centre organises courses to support parents in basic Literacy, Numeracy and IT skills.
- Family Learning programmes are accredited (where possible) so that parents achieve a recognised qualification in literacy or numeracy skills.
- Mothers who are breastfeeding are encouraged to feel welcome and supported.
- We follow Lambeth Schools Human Resources policy and procedures for recruitment. During recruitment and promotion processes we may treat individuals with a protected characteristic more favourably when faced with two or more candidates of equal merit, if the more favourable treatment is intended to address under-representation in the workforce.
- Racist incidents are recorded and reported on a termly basis to the Governing Body and Lambeth. Any actions are agreed at the governing body meeting. This is a statutory duty.
The Accessibility Plan and Disability Equality Scheme covers the three strands of the planning duties including:
1. Improving the physical environment of school for the purpose of increasing the extent to which disabled children are able to take advantage of education and associated services.
- Wheelchair access to the Nursery classroom is available through the main entrance and the side entrance through the playground. In the children’s centre there is no wheelchair access from the main entrance but it is available via the door in the training room. This building is temporary and has been adapted for use. Planning for the new build will ensure that the new school and children’s centre is accessible to all.
- An Adult toilet in the Nursery building is suitable for wheelchair access. There is a wheelchair accessible toilet in the Children’s Centre building.
2. Increasing the extent to which disabled children can participate in the Early Years Foundation Stage.
- Skilled practitioners ensure that all the children’s different learning styles and communication styles, including signing, Makaton, visual timetables, eye pointing, gestures, etc, are acknowledged and valued by all.
- Continuing involvement of professionals to support practitioners in their understanding of how to support children who have complex needs.
3. Improving the delivery of information to children with disabilities.
- All parents have access to information. Makaton signing, Picture Exchange Communication Systems (PECS) are used for children when appropriate. Support is available from the Hearing Impaired Unit at Jubilee Primary School when needed and there is also support from the Visually Impaired Unit.
Keyworkers know their children and families very well; home visits, regular informal discussions and parent conferencing meetings ensure good relationships are fostered so that key information is shared. Displays and resources are carefully planned to ensure children develop a sense of belonging and children will be encouraged to value diversity and respect others by:
- the use of artefacts and resources in cultural celebrations
- bilingual books available for borrowing from the school library
- home corner resources such as dolls and dressing up
- specific activities such as mehndi patterns for Divali celebrations, lanterns for Chinese New Year, etc.
Different languages and scripts are used for notices around the setting.
Families are encouraged to continue to speak to their child in their home language(s), and these are valued through language of the week and the involvement of parents in the setting, eg. supporting trips and doing various activities. Interpreters will be used when needed for parents who do not speak English, and signing interpreters for deaf parents.
Children’s Centre staff observe whether parents/carers are isolated or vulnerable and support the development of friendships between different parents.
- For children with Special Educational Needs or those who are disabled (SEND), the Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO) meets regularly with the parents/carers, reviews children’s SEND support Plans and applies for Statements of Special Needs as required. Appropriate interventions, such as music therapy (not on-going), occupational therapy, speech therapy, physiotherapy, will be planned for and evaluated, along with 1:1 support, group work, visits to a Soft Play and Sensory Room facility at Mary Sheridan and small story groups. We liaise with parents and other agencies, and with Lambeth Children and Young People’s Service to ensure the best possible provision at Ethelred and to support the transition process both into the setting, between the children’s centre and school, local birth to 5 settings, Childminders, and on to primary schools.
- Regular group times take place where the content and style of delivery is differentiated to meet the wide range of children’s experiences and styles of learning.
- Practitioners attend a range of training courses which meet the diverse needs of learners and develop awareness of disability issues, for example, Makaton training, Letters and Sounds, Speech and Language training and hearing impairment.
- Resources are purchased to include positive images of children and adults with disabilities.
- Where children have particular skills they are encouraged to help other children. For example, finding a book, switching on the computer, finding resources etc
- Education practitioners encourage children to participate in all activities in the nursery and children’s centre and use images, stories, visitors, etc. to challenge stereotypes regarding gender relating to activities, types of play, access to resources, colour and jobs.
- Practitioners challenge children sensitively, offering opposing scenarios if children express stereotypical views.
- Any inappropriate attitudes and practices will be challenged by referring to the appropriate policy and legislation, by educating and fostering positive and respectful attitudes (see our Behaviour Policy).
- Information is shared regarding other groups who may face discrimination through lack of understanding e.g. fact sheets regarding Refugee and Asylum Seekers.
- Support for adults with No Recourse to Public Funds is offered by the outreach workers at our children’s centre
Ofsted’s definition states:
‘By community cohesion, we mean working towards a society in which there is a common vision and sense of belonging by all communities; a society in which the diversity of people’s backgrounds and circumstances is appreciated and valued; a society in which similar life opportunities are available to all; and a society in which strong and positive relationships exist and continue to be developed in the workplace, in schools and in the wider community.’
School is a common feature for parents from different religious, ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds and we offer opportunities for them to interact with each other, promote friendships and develop understanding of each other’s backgrounds.
The school community includes: parents/carers, children, staff, the governing body and community partners/stakeholders.
We also have connections with the local geographical community: local schools, partner organisations and the people who live and work close by and the communities of Lambeth and London itself. Children experience a rural environment through occasional visits to farms. Many children are connected to the global community through their extended families abroad and activities and discussion focus on this throughout their time at Ethelred.
How well we know our community
Information about children attending the school is documented in the School’s Context Data information. This includes information as listed below:
- free school meals
- vulnerable families
- children with SEND
- children with English as an Additional Language and the range of languages spoken
- refugees and displaced families
- ethnic backgrounds
Extensive information is collected to inform the Children’s Centre’s work, for example, the make-up of parents and children attending activities. This information is stored in the Management Information System (MIS) and reports specific to Ethelred can be extracted.
Actions promoting community cohesion
Practitioners help children to understand others through interaction and discussion, planned activities and carefully selected resources, particularly stories.
A range of activities encourage parents/carers to spend time in the nursery school setting including: supporting visits and outings, Family Learning, Black History Celebration, Christmas Celebration, Eid Celebration, Diwali Celebration, Chinese New Year Celebration, coffee mornings, Summer Social event and volunteering. These offer opportunities for families from different backgrounds to socialise and have fun together. Many of these celebrations are centred around food and music which both offer enjoyment and bonding opportunities as they are celebratory.
Our Children’s Centre programme is reviewed regularly and activities planned and reorganised to reach groups who are not accessing our services. For example, a group is run by our specialist Outreach Worker at the local Child Health Clinic (Mary Sheridan) to support the needs of children with special educational needs and disabilities.
Occasional fundraising events draw attention to children and families both in the UK and from other parts of the world.
Future plans for promoting community cohesion
- To continue with our programme of festivals and celebrations throughout the year
- To share more widely with parents what we do and how we do it at Ethelred.
Families demonstrate how well they relate to each other as they meet and greet each other when bringing and collecting their children to and from school.
We are required to report incidents of discrimination to the Local Authority and to the governing body.
Case studies document the impact of our work on families’ lives in terms of their confidence and interaction with different groups.
Attendance data at Children’s Centre activities show the range of people with different religious, ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds.
The Attainment of children is analysed to enable us to compare progress of children from different groups: ethnicity, ability, free school meals, gender and EAL and a summary of this information is included in a report to governors.
The Governing Body of Ethelred Nursery School and Children’s Centre approved this policy in February 2017. Next Review: February 2019
- Equality Act 2010
- Ofsted The evaluation schedule for schools Jan 2011
- Promoting Community Cohesion: Toolkit for Lambeth Schools June 2010
- Ofsted Self Evaluation Form for Nursery Schools Sept 2009
- Ofsted Supplementary guidance
- Inspecting equalities Jan 2011
- Special Educational Needs and/or disability in mainstream schools Jan 2011
- Inspecting Maintained Schools’ duty to promote community cohesion
- Primary National Strategy: Confident, capable and creative: supporting boys’ achievements.
- Primary National Strategy: Supporting children learning English as an additional language
- Teachernet – information and advice on equality issues
- The Equal Opportunities Commission – advice on the Gender Equality Duty
- Commission for Racial Equality – guidance for schools on the race equality duty
- Recording and Reporting Racist Incidents Guidance
- Promoting Disability Equality in Schools