What is Disability Equality and how does the
Equality Act impact on schools?
Under the Equality Act there is a requirement for public sector bodies, including schools, to promote equality for disabled people in every aspect of their work. Schools are required to take actions and write policies which positively promote disability. On this page you can read documents showing OLOL response to these legal duties.
The Equality Act 2010 introduced a single Public Sector Equality Duty (sometimes also referred to as the ‘general duty’) that applies to public bodies, including maintained schools and Academies, and which extends to all protected characteristics – race, disability, sex, age, religion or belief, sexual orientation, pregnancy and maternity and gender reassignment. This combined equality duty came into effect in April 2011. It has three main elements. In carrying out their functions, public bodies are required to have due regard to the need to:
- Eliminate discrimination and other conduct that is prohibited by the Act
- Advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and people who do not share it
- Foster good relations across all characteristics – between people who share a protected characteristic and people who do not share it.
- This duty requires schools to adopt a proactive approach, mainstreaming disability equality into all decisions and activities. The duty does not just apply to disabled pupils; it applies to any non-educational services schools provide. The duty applies also to parents, members of staff, visitors to the school, local community members and to potential pupils of the future. Schools can implement the general duty by actively reviewing all their policies, procedures and planned access improvements to remove barriers, with a view, for example, to greater recruitment and retention of disabled staff, greater participation of disabled pupils, disabled parents and community members.
What are the specific duties?
The specific duties require schools:
- to publish information to demonstrate how they are complying with the Public Sector Equality Duty
- to prepare and publish equality objectives.
Schools are required to have Accessibility Plans showing how they are planning strategically to increase access over time; the same duties as previously existed under the DDA and have been replicated in the Equality Act 2010. The plan must show how the school is:
- increasing the extent to which disabled pupils can participate in the curriculum;
- improving the physical environment of schools to enable those with disabilities to take better advantage of education, benefits, facilities and services provided
- improving the availability of accessible information to those with disabilities.
Please read OLOL Public Sector Equality Duty Policy 2017 here
Please read OLOL Accessibility Plan 2017-2020 here