Equalities in Education
Equalities in Education

Is your school, setting or organisation complying with The Equality Act 2010?

The Equality Act 2010 defined nine 'protected characteristics'. These are:

  • age
  • disability
  • gender
  • gender reassignment
  • marriage and civil partnership
  • pregnancy and maternity
  • race
  • religion and belief
  • sexual orientation

The Act introduced a new Public Sector Equality Duty from 5 April 2011, which covers the nine protected characteristics. It places a general duty on public authorities (including publically funded schools and other educational settings) to have due regard to the need to:

  • eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment, victimisation, and any other conduct that is prohibited by or under the Act;
  • advance equality of opportunity between people who share a relevant protected characteristic and people who do not share it; and
  • foster good relations between people who share a relevant protected characteristic and people who do not share it.

The Act also introduced two specific duties for public bodies (including publically funded schools and other educational settings) from 10th September 2011. These require organisations to:

  1. Publish relevent proportionate information to demonstrate your compliance with the pubic sector equality duty (at least annually); and 
  2. Set yourself specific, measurable equality objectives (at least every four years).



What does this mean in practice for schools, settings and organisations?


The Spring 2012 edition of Race Equality Teaching was a special issue on the Equality Act, with particular reference to the specific duties and how schools and settings can make sure they are paying due regard to equalities. It did not focus on race equality alone but looked at the full range of protected characteristics.


There is a useful paper looking at what schools need to do to comply with the specific duties on the Insted consultancy website.


If you would like any advice, guidance or training to ensure that your school, setting, local authority or organisation is complying with both the spirit and the letter of the Equality Act 2010 and the public sector equality duty please get in touch. There is no charge for an initial discussion meeting.