In carrying out its functions, Horizons Specialist Academy Trust (HSAT) has due regard for 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 - between people who share a protected characteristic and people who do not share it.
Age is a relevant characteristic in considering HSAT’s duties as an employer but not in relation to its pupils and students.
The Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) replaces the three separate sets of duties to promote disability, race and gender equality.
With the PSED, as with the previous general duties, schools are subject to the need to have due regard to the three elements outlined above. What having “due regard” means in practice has been defined in case law and means giving relevant and proportionate consideration to the duty. For schools this means:
- HSAT leaders and senior leaders in HSAT academies are aware of the duty to have “due regard” when making a decision or taking an action and must assess whether it may have particular implications for people with particular protected characteristics
- HSAT academy leaders will not delegate responsibility for carrying out the duty to anyone else.
The duty to have “due regard” to equality considerations means that whenever significant decisions are being made or policies developed, thought must be given to the equality implications. HSAT academy leaders will demonstrate good practice by keeping a written record of any equality consideration .
HSAT has more than 150 employees and therefore, it publishes information relating to persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and are affected by its policies and practices. This does not conflict with the principles of data protection.
All HSAT academies publish policies (for example, the behaviour policy or anti-bullying policy) where the importance of avoiding discrimination and other prohibited conduct is expressly noted.
HSAT and its academies promote advancing equality of opportunity by:
(a) removing or minimising disadvantages suffered by people which are connected to a particular characteristic they have (for example disabled pupils, or gay pupils who are being subjected to homophobic bullying);
(b) taking steps to meet the particular needs of people who have a particular characteristic (for example enabling Muslim pupils to pray at prescribed times) and
(c) encouraging people who have a particular characteristic to participate fully in any activities (for example encouraging both boys and girls, and pupils from different ethnic backgrounds, to be involved in the full range of school societies)
Attainment data which shows how pupils with different characteristics (eg boys or girls) are used to help to identify whether there are areas of inequality which may need to be addressed.
Academy leaders will include information about the steps they have taken in response to their analysis of the available data above. This information can be found in reports to the Trustees and Academy Councils.
Academies demonstrate that they are fostering good relations between people within school through aspects of the curriculum which promote tolerance and friendship, or which share understanding of a range of religions or cultures, the behaviour and anti-bullying policies, assemblies dealing with relevant issues, involvement with the local communities, and initiatives to deal with tensions between different groups of pupils within the school itself.
Leaders consult and engage both with people affected by their decisions - parents, pupils, staff, members of the local community – and with people who have special knowledge which can inform the academy’s approach, such as disability equality groups and other relevant special interest organisations. Evidence of this engagement will be available in the published material showing how the duty has been addressed.
HSAT’s Equality Objectives covering the period 2021-2024 are as follows:
- Promotion of Cultural Capital and British Values – Rights Respecting Schools Awards
- Maintaining IIP Gold with a focus on Equality and Diversity
- Trust training for all (staff, trustees, governors, students) with a focus on Relationship, Sex & Health Education (RSHE), and Sexual Harassment, Online Abuse & Sexual Violence (SHOSASV)