“The Equality Act protects individuals from unlawful discrimination on the basis of nine ‘protected characteristics’: age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnerships, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion and belief, sex, or sexual orientation.” (Equality Challenge Unit, 2014) This is the law within the UK and is an essential piece of legislation in the fight against discrimination. While this is the law within the UK, not all countries have an equivalent, this is likely a result of these countries not being as diverse in terms of race, religion and other characteristics that are often the target of discrimination. It is common practice for organisations to produce policies that go beyond the minimum requirements of the law, having broader definitions for what is included in equality, diversity and what constitutes as discrimination. In addition to legislation in November 2014 the Department for Education “published guidance on promoting British values in schools to ensure young people leave school prepared for life in modern Britain.” (Nash, 2014) An important aspect to be considered when creating and implementing policy with educational establishments is that children from poorer homes do worse educationally than their classmates, with 34% of pupils eligible for free school meals achieving 5+ A* – C GCSEs, including English and maths, compared to 62% of better‐off pupils (Department for Education, 2014). This socio-economic segregation is considered “the highest challenge faced by policy makers in England” (Demie & McLean, 2015).
Demie, F., & McLean, C. (2015). Narrowing the Achievement Gap: Good Practice in Schools. London: Lambeth.
Department for Education. (2014). Pupil Premium. Information for schools.
Equality Challenge Unit. (2014). Equality and diversity for teaching staff in colleges. Equality Challenge Unit.
Nash, L. (2014, 27 November). Guidance on promoting British values in schools published. Retrieved from GOV.UK: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/guidance-on-promoting-british-values-in-schools-published