1.1 Padworth College is an international independent day and boarding school for boys and girls aged 13-18 years. It welcomes staff, workers, students, parents, applicants and governors from all different ethnic groups, backgrounds and creeds.
1.2 The College recognises the benefits of having a diverse community, with individuals who value one another, and the different contributions everyone can make. Students will be taught to value and respect others. The College is committed to being an equal opportunities education provider and is committed to equality of opportunity for all members of the College Community. The College recognises and accepts its responsibilities under the law and opposes discrimination on the basis of:
- marital or civil partnership status;
- any gender reassignment;
- sexual orientation;
- religion or belief (including lack of religion or belief);
The College also opposes all bullying and discrimination on the basis that a person has a special educational need or learning difficulty, or because English is an additional language.
The College aims to ensure that all policies and practices conform with the principle of equal opportunities and takes into account the Equality Act 2010. The College will tackle inappropriate attitudes and practices through staff leading by example, through the personal, social and health education (PSHE) programme, through the supportive College culture and through the College’s policies.
1.3 Related policies: This Equal Opportunities Policy is consistent with all of the College’s policies, including the Admissions Policy, Behaviour Management, Exclusions, Anti-Bullying Policy, SENDA Policy, Accessibility Plan.
2 Policy statement
2.1 Scope: This policy applies to all members of the current and prospective College Community. There is also an Equal Opportunities Policy for Staff in the Staff Handbook.
2.2 Policy aims: Through the operation of this policy we aim to:
- communicate the commitment of the College to the promotion of equal opportunities;
- promote equal treatment within the College for all members;
- create and maintain an open and supportive environment which is free from discrimination;
- foster mutual tolerance and positive attitudes so that everyone can feel valued within the College;
- be alert to the early signs of needs that could lead to later difficulties, and respond as appropriate;
- remove or help to overcome barriers for students where they already exist;
- ensure that there is no unlawful discrimination against any person on any ground listed at paragraph 1.2;
- make it clear that, and ensure, that all discriminatory words, behaviour and images are treated as unacceptable;
- take reasonable steps to avoid putting disabled people at a substantial disadvantage (the ’reasonable adjustments’ duty).
3 Forms of discrimination
3.1 Types: Discrimination may be direct or indirect and it may occur intentionally or unintentionally.
3.2 Direct discrimination: Direct discrimination occurs when a person is treated less favourably due to one or more of the grounds set out in paragraph 1.2 above. For example, rejecting an applicant of one race because it is considered they would not ‘fit in’ on the grounds of their race could be direct discrimination.
3.3 Indirect discrimination: Indirect discrimination occurs where an individual is subject to an unjustified provision, criterion or practice which puts them at a particular disadvantage because of, for example, their sex or race.
4.1 Applicants: The College accepts applications from, and admits pupils irrespective of their gender, race, disability, sexual orientation, religion or belief or special educational needs and will not discriminate on these grounds in the terms on which a place is offered, subject to section 8, below. The College will treat every application in a fair, open-minded way.
4.2 Selection: Every application will be considered on its merits within the School’s criteria for selection on grounds of the pupil’s ability and aptitude, but this will not be done as a way of excluding pupils with a disability or special educational needs, subject to section 8 below.
4.3 Admissions Policy: The College’s Admissions Policy reflects the College’s approach towards equal opportunities and is consistent with this Policy.
5 Education and associated services
5.1 Equal access: The College will afford all students equal access to all benefits, services, facilities, classes and subjects, irrespective of their gender, race, disability, sexual orientation, religion, belief or special educational needs, subject to considerations of safety and welfare.
5.2 Positive action: The College may afford students of a particular racial group, or students with a disability or special educational needs, access to additional education or training to meet the special needs of the students in that group, for example, language training for groups whose first language is not English.
5.3 Exclusions: The College will not discriminate against any student by excluding him or her from the College, or by subjecting him or her to any other detriment, on the grounds of his or her gender, race, disability, sexual orientation, religion, belief or special educational needs, subject to section 8 of this Policy.
5.4 Teaching and College materials: Efforts are made to recognise and be aware of the possibility of bias (for example gender or racial), so that this can be eliminated in both the College’s teaching and learning materials and teaching styles. Materials are selected for all areas of the curriculum so as to avoid stereotypes and bias.
5.5 Student interaction: All students are encouraged to work and socialise freely with, and have respect for, all other students, irrespective of their gender, race, disability, sexual orientation, religion, belief or special educational needs, subject to considerations of safety and welfare. Positive attitudes are fostered through the curriculum and ethos of the College, and students will be encouraged to question assumptions and stereotypes.
5.6 Bullying: The College will not tolerate bullying or cyberbullying for any reason. Specific types of bullying include bullying relating to race, religion, belief or culture, bullying related to SEN, learning difficulties or disabilities, bullying related to appearance or health conditions, bullying relating to sexual orientation, bullying related to home circumstances, sexist or sexual bullying. See the College’s Anti-bullying Policy for more details.
6 Student Dress
6.1 There is no school uniform requirement, but students are expected to dress with consideration for others.
6.2 Symbols of faith: Students are not discouraged from wearing symbols of faith, providing these do not transgress Health and Safety requirements.
7 Religious belief
7.1 Religion: The College’s ethos is non denominational and all are expected to respect the rights and freedoms of the College Community as a whole and considerations of safety and welfare.
8 Disability and special educational needs
8.1 Our approach: We are an inclusive College which welcomes members of the College Community with disabilities and special educational needs. At present, our facilities, physical and otherwise, for the disabled and those with special educational needs are limited. However, we will do all that is reasonable to ensure that the College’s curriculum, ethos, culture, policies, procedures and premises are made accessible to everyone.
8.2 Definitions: Students have ‘special educational needs’ if they have a learning difficulty which calls for special educational provision to be made for them. A disability is a ‘physical or mental impairment which has a substantial, long-term, adverse effect on day-to-day activity’ (Disability Discrimination Act 1995, as amended).
8.3 Reasonable adjustments: The College has an on-going duty to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ for disabled students with special educational needs in respect of the education and associated services provided to ensure that such students are not placed at a substantial disadvantage in comparison with others. This is a broad expression that covers all aspects of college life, for example: the curriculum, classroom organisation and timetabling, access to college facilities, activities and visits, sports. Reasonable adjustments may typically include:
- making arrangements for a prospective student in a wheelchair to attend an interview in an accessible ground floor room;
- allowing extra time for a dyslexic student to complete an exam;
- providing examination papers in larger print for a student with a visual impairment;
The College is not legally required to make adjustments which include:
- physical alterations such as the provision of a stair-lift or new ground floor facilities, or a new library;
- auxiliary aids and services such as a loop for children with hearing aids; large LCD screen computers and disability trained classroom assistants.
If parents are willing to pay for auxiliary aids and services, the College will carefully consider any proposals and will not unreasonably refuse any requests for such aids and services to be provided.
8.4 Informing the College: In accordance with the College’s terms and conditions, parents of students must notify the Principal in writing if they are aware or suspect that the student (or prospective student) has a disability or if they (either parent), the student (or prospective student), has a learning difficulty. Prospective parents must give details of their child’s disability when applying for a place at the College. Parents must provide copies of all written reports and other relevant information upon request. Providing the College with such information will enable the College to support the student as much as possible. Confidential information of this kind will only be communicated on a ‘need-to-know’ basis.
8.5 Admission of students with special educational needs and/or a disability:
Applications for a place at the College will be considered on the basis that ‘reasonable adjustments’ (see definition below) have been made by the College in order to cater for the student’s special educational needs and/or disability. The College will not offer a place if, after reasonable adjustments have been made, the College will not be able to provide adequately for the student’s physical and educational needs. The College shall inform the parents of their decision and give details of the reasonable adjustments they are going to make or give reasons why an offer of a place has not been made.
8.6 Existing students: Where the College becomes aware of a disability or special educational need of an existing student, the College will do all that is reasonable to assist the student whilst at the College, which may include making ‘reasonable adjustments’. Parents will be asked to withdraw the student, without being charged fees in lieu of notice and with the acceptance deposit returned, if in the professional judgement of the Principal, and after consultation with the parents and the student (where appropriate), the College cannot provide adequately for the student’s physical and educational needs after all reasonable adjustments have been made. The College will do what is reasonable to help parents to find an alternative placement which will provide their child with the necessary environment and level of teaching and support.
8.7 Access: The College will monitor the physical features of its premises to consider whether disabled users of the premises are placed at a substantial disadvantage compared to other users. Where possible and proportionate, the College will take steps to improve access for disabled users of the premises.
8.8 Dyslexia Coach: The College’s tutor is Maggie Whitehead and coaching sessions are charged separately and in addition to college fees.
9. Students with English as an additional language
9.1 Students with English as an Additional Language (EAL) who are not part of the International Study Centre will receive additional learning support if necessary. The College has appropriate welfare support for all such students through its supportive culture.
10 Provision for students with particular religious, dietary, language or cultural needs
10.1 The College will consider all requests from students with religious, dietary, language or cultural needs and will make reasonable efforts to accommodate these requests where appropriate.
11.1 All members of the College Community are expected to comply with this policy and therefore to treat others with dignity at all times without regard to their gender, marital/civil partnership status, race, disability, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, religion, belief or age.
11.2 Overall responsibility: The Principal and Trustees has overall responsibility for the effective operation of the College’s Equal Opportunities Policy and for ensuring compliance wit the relevant statutory framework prohibiting discrimination. The Trustees have delegated to the Principal day-to-day responsibility for operating the policy and ensuring its accessibility, availability, maintenance and review.
11.3 Management: Those working at senior management level have a specific responsibility to set an appropriate standard of behaviour, to lead by example and to promote the aims and objectives of the College with regard to equal opportunities.
12 Monitoring and review
12.1 Monitoring: To ensure that this policy is operating effectively with respect to admission and selection, and to identify those sections of the local community which may be under-represented in the College, the College monitors applicants’ gender, race, disability and religion or belief as part of the Admissions procedure.
12.2 Review: The Principal is responsible for the ongoing monitoring and reviewing whether the aims of this Policy are carried out throughout all areas of the College and taking appropriate action where necessary. This policy is reviewed annually by the Principal.
Recommendations for any amendments should be made to the Principal.
13 Reporting and recording incidents of discrimination
13.1 Questions about this policy: If you have any questions about the content or application of this policy, you should contact the Principal.
13.2 Complaints: If you believe that you have received less favourable treatment on any of the unlawful grounds listed in paragraph 1.2 above, or if you feel that this policy has been breached in any way to your detriment you are encouraged to raise the matter through the College’s formal Complaints Procedure. A copy of the Complaints Policy is available on request. Allegations regarding potential breaches of this policy will be treated in confidence and investigated in accordance with the complaints procedure.
13.3 Enforcement: We will treat seriously and urgently investigate every complaint and report. Disciplinary action may be taken against any member of the College Community who is found to have acted in contravention of this policy.
13.4 Record: All reported breaches of this policy will be recorded and this record will be reviewed annually by the Principal.
14.1 This policy will be available on the College’s website and on request from the Admissions Manager or Principal’s PA.
Review date: August 2013