The Equality Act 2010
School Governors should be aware that the new Public Sector Equality General Duty comes into force on April 5th 2011.
The specific duties which were to commence on April 6th in England will not now become law on that date. The Government Equalities Office and Equality and Human Rights Commission will publish updates on their websites.
The general duty in the Act introduces a single equality duty on public bodies, including all schools, which is extended to include all the ‘protected characteristics’ – race, disability, sex, age, religion or belief, sexual orientation, pregnancy and maternity, and gender reassignment.
In carrying out their duties schools will be required to have due regard to the need to:
Eliminate conduct that is prohibited by the Act
Advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and people who do not
Foster good relations across all characteristics – between people who share a characteristic and those who do not
Where schools are concerned, age is a protected characteristic in considering duties as an employer but not in relation to pupils.
Advice from the Department of Education to school leaders, staff, governing bodies and local authorities dated January 2011 is available at:
The intention from the DfE was for the advice to be reviewed before April but at the time of writing nothing new has been released.
A draft Code of Practice for schools is available for consultation until April 22nd at:
Ensure school staff and governors are aware of the new public sector equality general duty.
Ensure policy and practice shows due regard to the single equality duty to eliminate prohibited conduct, advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations.
School governors should be prepared for imminent announcement on specific duty.
Advice taken from & Thanks to Norfolk County Council & Norfolk Governors' Network (NGN)