The Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED)
The Equality Act 2010 introduced a single Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED), which applies to public bodies including maintained schools and academies. The PSED extends schools’ equality duties to all protected characteristics:
- Religion or belief
- Sexual orientation
- Pregnancy and maternity
- Gender reassignment
The duty came into effect in April 2011 and has three 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 Equality Act 2010
- Advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and people who do not share it.
- Foster good relations across all characteristics, and between people who share a protected characteristic and people who do not.
As a school this applies to us and in a school setting age will be a relevant characteristic only in relation to our duty as employers, not in relation to pupils.
Previously public bodies were bound by three separate sets of duties: to promote disability, race and gender equality. The PSED has replaced those three duties.
The PSED in practice
‘Due regard’ has been defined in case law and means giving relevant and proportionate consideration to the duty. For St. Hilary School, this means:
- We must be aware of the duty to have due regard when making or taking an action, and must assess whether it may have implications for people with particular protected characteristics.
- We should consider equality implications before and at the time that we develop policy, not as an afterthought, and to keep them under review on a continuing basis.
- We must integrate the PSED into the carrying out of the schools functions, and the analysis necessary to comply with the duty must be carried out seriously, rigorously and with an open mind.
We are still required to publish an accessibility plan setting out how we will make improvements in accessibility for those with disabilities. (See Accessibility Plan below)
Our specific duties under the PSED
The specific duties require us to:
- Publish information to demonstrate how we are complying with the PSED. This information must include, in particular, information relating to people who share a protected characteristic. This information needs to be updated annually.
- Prepare and publish equality objectives. Objectives must be published at least every four years.
There is no specific format for publishing this information, so we have decided on an equalities page on our website where all this information is present or links to it are available. Paper copies will be available from the office upon request and parents will be advised of this via our newsletters.
What information will we publish?
We will publish information that is relevant to showing how we are addressing the three main elements of the PSED.
1. Eliminating discrimination and other conduct that is prohibited by the Equality Act 2010
- On the website you will find links to copies of relevant policies i.e. policies where the importance of avoiding discrimination and other prohibited conduct is expressly noted, for example behaviour, anti-bullying, recruitment, pay. (See policies)
- We will include minutes of staff and governors meetings in which the Equality Act 2010 is discussed. And staff / governor training on the Equality Act.
- We will also explain how we will monitor equality issues.
2. Advancing equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and people who do not share it.
We will publish attainment data which shows how pupils with different characteristics are performing and information about work done in response to the analysis of data.
3. Fostering good relations across all characteristics, between people who share a protected characteristic and people who do not share it.
Here we will publish evidence relating to:
- Aspects of the curriculum that promote tolerance and friendship, or which share understanding of a range of religions or cultures.
- Assemblies dealing with relevant issues.
- Involvement with local communities.