Equalities and Diversity

Equality and Diversity

Why are adults called by their first names?

We decided, after much deliberation, that all people within our school community should be called by their first names and this meant that adults stopped being known by their titles (Mr Cooper etc).

This decision was made after we questioned a long-standing belief that good behaviour/discipline was based on formal, authoritarian relationships and that the use of surnames was fundamental to creating respect for adults. We see things differently. At St Luke’s, behaviour is excellent and we enjoy strong and caring relationships which we feel are mutually respectful. The use of first names confers trust in this.

At St Luke’s Primary School we aim to give the best possible education to all children and make sure everyone feels equally welcomed and valued. Learning about equality issues (race; culture; disability; religion; gender; family types; sexuality) threads across the entire curriculum and assembly programme and staff are committed to these themes as central to our ethos. We actively celebrate and normalise differences. To this end, staff use language thoughtfully – for example, we talk about ‘grown ups’ not ‘mums and dads’ to ensure all family types feel included when we talk about adults at home.

“Pupils act with obvious and deep-seated respect for each other at all times. The school ethos of equal opportunities and valuing of diversity ensures that pupils treat people of all types and from all backgrounds with equal respect.”  Ofsted

 

The Equality Act 2010 requires schools to publish information to show how we are working to:

  • Eliminate discrimination
  • Advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic* and people who do not share it
  • Foster good relations between groups of people

*Protected characteristic is the term used in the Equality Act to describe a range of different groups, including:

Disabled pupils and those with special educational needs
Gender, including gender reassignment and transgender pupils
Minority ethnic pupils
Pupils for whom English is an additional language
Sexual orientation
Gypsy, Roma and Traveller children
Religion or belief

Other groups of pupils we consider important to consider are:

Looked-after pupils
Young carers
Pupils who have been or are eligible for free school meals

This forms part of our published information and is designed to show information that will be most useful and interesting to our families. On the school website, there is also our Equality Policy; our Equality Action Plan; our Access Plan; our Equalities Language Code; our Anti-Bullying Policy and our PSHE (Personal, Social and Health Education) Policy

At St Luke’s Primary School we strive to treat each member of our community as an individual; to make each individual feel valued and to teach our pupils to do the same. Trying to achieve this involves us all learning what we all have in common as well as valuing our many differences. We think that children will learn better in a school where everyone feels equally safe and welcome. We believe everyone has the same rights but may have different needs and so sometimes making school ‘fair’ for everyone is not about giving everyone the same things.

As well as teaching the children about equality and diversity generally through the curriculum and particularly through our PSHE curriculum, we also regularly discuss these ideas with the children in assemblies and aim to reflect these values in our day to day interactions with the children.

We never tolerate put downs; we educate children about them and our playgrounds are very safe places to be (never perfect, but children are confident they will be looked after if things go wrong). Peaceful Problem Solving Skills and ‘Learning with Others’ Skills are taught throughout the whole school. The equality message is loud and strong and we involve the children in ensuring that this remains so. We have (in the Junior department) an ‘E Team’ (Equalities Team) of children who help adults keep this a living project.

“The school is zealous and successful in its efforts to promote equality of opportunity and tackle discrimination. Everyone is valued and supported to achieve their best, irrespective of social, faith or ethnic group.” Ofsted Nov 2010

While we do work hard to achieve our aims, we also ask for your help/comments/ideas where you see anything we can do to make our Equalities vision happen more effectively. Please contact Kay Watson (Junior deputy head) with any ideas or for more information.

Gender Equality @ St Luke’s Primary

What this means to us:

Girls and boys are different in many ways and the same in many ways. Girls and boys should always be treated as individuals.

Stereotyping means expecting girls and boys to behave or look a particular way. We recognise that there is still incredible pressure in society for us to conform to gender specific roles / looks and we need to teach children about this.

We value individuality and this includes individuality in children who don’t want to act or dress in a way that is ‘typically like a boy’ or ‘typically like a girl’
How do we promote gender equality?

Staff use language carefully to reflect gender equality (for example: we wouldn’t say ‘ladies first’, we would teach the children about letting each other through a door as a polite thing to do; we would talk about fire-fighters not firemen; police officers not police men or women; nurse not male nurse which suggests a man as a nurse is unusual)

Teachers don’t ask children to get into boy and girl groups / teams in PE

We do run girl-friendly sports clubs because we recognise that girls sometimes find it hard to get a fair game in mixed gender teams – boys can join should they wish
We make sure that there is a gender balance to our pupil surveys; school councils etc so that we hear the voice of boys and girls equally
We teach the children about stereotyping within the curriculum and we occasionally undertake a ‘Stereotype Trail’ – checking toys / displays / book corners!
We analyse all our data by gender to check if there is an issue we need to address (eg improving the attainment of boys in writing)
Our work promoting gender issues with junior children is featured in a Stonewall Good Practice Guide. Allsorts (a group supporting LGBTU young people) workshops are part of the Year 6 curriculum to teach children to support each other whatever anyone’s gender or sexuality

What we avoid/don’t tolerate:

We don’t tolerate put-downs (for example: calling a boy ‘a girl’ to make him feel bad; calling a girl a tomboy because she plays football)
We try to make sure reading books reflect our gender equality policy. If you find a book that you think gives the wrong message, please tell your child’s class teacher – we won’t be offended (some may slip through the net and we will be able to use them to teach children about gender equality). We do have books that are obviously aimed at girls or boys and we know these appeal to children – we are more worried about stories that give stereotypical messages about girls’ or boys’ roles in the world

How we would like to improve our Gender Equality work

We want to create more sporting opportunities for girls and in particular competitive team events. Emma Liles (Infant SENCo and PE Coordinator) has taken on the role of championing girls’ sports within the school

Family Equality @ St Luke’s Primary

What this means to us:

We value all family types as equally special and recognise that children need to be taught that other children’s families can be different to their own family type.

How will we make all families feel equally valued and help children from different family types get on well together?

We will celebrate families in special ‘Family Weeks’ regularly over your child’s time in our school and within the PSHE curriculum. Our hope and experience is that celebrating family diversity encourages children to share and therefore educate other children about the variety of family types in our community
We use the term ‘grown ups’ as a general term rather than ‘mums and dads’ to refer to children’s significant adults so that children who live with one parent; 2 mums; 2 dads; foster parents or who live with extended family don’t feel that their own family make-up is not included. We ask club providers to use this language too. Not only do we avoid certain language, we also actively talk about different family types and children regularly hear all family types recognised in our language. We buy books that include a variety of family types.
In sex and relationships education, we teach the children that babies are conceived in different ways (conception teaching formally happens in key stage 2 but questions can begin before then and will be answered in an age-appropriate way) – a parent/carer meeting always takes place before sex education lessons
We recognise that children who are adopted or fostered often have specific needs and may need additional care. Staff are trained in attachment theory and we are also sensitive to areas of the curriculum / the calendar year that may affect children (eg we don’t celebrate Mothering Sunday; we are careful to talk to parents/carers before naming ceremony RE lessons or conception sex education lessons; we know birthdays or anniversaries can be a time of stress). We can offer a key adult attachment support for children and encourage conversations with parents/carers to help us deal with sensitive issues. We know that change and transition are sensitive times for children with attachment difficulties and will work with parents/carers to support this. We can also celebrate fostering or adoption days if children would like to do so

What we avoid/don’t tolerate:

We don’t tolerate any put downs about families and deal with them seriously – we take any put-down as an opportunity to educate children about diversity and equality
We teach children about homophobia and homophobic put-downs. The casual use of ‘gay’ as a negative adjective is never tolerated and children are taught why this can never be acceptable
We never leave children out of trips because their grown-ups can’t afford to pay for them and we try to provide free places in fee-charging clubs

How we would like to improve our Family Equality work

We think we need to improve our communication with both parents if parents do no live together. At the moment, we feel we could give a better welcome to a parent whose child does not reside with them for most of the time

Disability Equality @ St Luke’s Primary

What this means to us:

We celebrate different abilities in many ways while also recognising supporting the specific difficulties children may experience. We teach children to celebrate difference and that difference is not about lack or less but about rights, needs, attitude and access. We teach the children that equality is not about everyone getting the same but about everyone getting what they need.
If your child is joining our school and has a disability we recognise that you will need additional time with school staff so you can tell us about your child’s needs (you are the expert) and for us to explain how we will work towards meeting your child’s needs
We recognise that helping your child be equally included may need specific support and we will work with you and other agencies to ensure we do this well
Disabilities can affect a child’s achievement or social experience in very different ways. Although achievement is a major factor, we also are clear that a child’s social experience is vital to a good education and can help your child achieve a positive social experience in a variety of ways

How do we promote disability equality and help all children get on well together?

·         We teach children about disability equality through the curriculum via specific units of work as well as our general language and attitude

·         Adults with learning disabilities visit our school to teach Makaton twice every week (and others for specific lessons) and this has helped the children break down barriers and build relationships with people with disabilites. We recently worked with a local special school and a disability arts group to create an animation and we are now building a long term relationship with the special school

·         Occasionally, and only with parental consent/involvement, we will teach the peers of a disabled child about his/her specific needs to enable children to support and understand that child better. Children respond to this incredibly well. Difference is often obvious to children and this can need to be accepted openly to support positive relationships. Children have become so confident about their differences that they have been enabled (as older primary children) to talk to their class or the school about their own disabilities (eg severe dyslexia or autism) and this has always had a positive impact

·         All children at St Luke’s have equal access to all of school life. This includes clubs (your child may need support to attend and we can provide this) and trips including residential trips in Years 5/6

·         Children may become diagnosed with a learning disability during their time at St Luke’s (eg dyslexia). We have clear pathways to diagnosis of specific learning difficulties / disabilities and parents/carers will be involved with this process and given information about support offered as a result. You are welcome to discuss any concerns about your child’s development at any time and will receive information about additional support at least twice a year. Please come and talk about anything you don’t understand or anything about which you would like more information

What we avoid/don’t tolerate:

We talk to the children about different skills, achievements and abilities. We know that children/people can be competitive and seek to avoid the ‘top/bottom group’ classroom set-up via our ‘learning with others’ practice – this means that children experience learning with all children over time in mixed attainment groupings. They are specifically taught how to include every one and how to listen to each other’s ideas respectfully
We treat put downs related to ability/disability seriously. These can include put downs pertaining to high attainment (eg: geek; nerd) or low ability / attainment (eg: thick; stupid). Such put downs are unusual

How we would like to improve our Disability Equality work  

See our separate access plan

We would like to find out more about parents/carers’ access needs so we can make them feel more included and welcome

Race and Heritage Equality @ St Luke’s Primary

What this means to us:

We value all our children as individuals and value the diversity of racial and cultural heritage within our community. As a school with a small ethnic minority community, we feel it is especially important to value not only the races and cultures represented within our community but those that are not currently represented.

How do we value all the children’s cultures and help children from different communities get on well together?
Through our Global Citizenship planning, we find as many opportunities as possible within the curriculum to teach the children about other cultures and ethnicities (eg All Around the World topic in Reception)
We teach children about Gypsy, Roma and Traveller cultures in the curriculum and assemblies and include trailers / vans in discussions (and play resources) about ‘homes’. We have books about GRT culture for the children to read. We hold assemblies to celebrate Gypsy, Roma and Traveller month
We make sure toys, displays, books etc reflect a range of people from different cultures and avoid stereotypes
We have Refugee Week assemblies and teach the children about refugees as part of the curriculum
We celebrate Black History Month in assemblies
We hold regular Language Weeks in which we celebrate all the children’s languages and invite members of our community to come and talk about their cultures. We try and use children’s languages regularly (eg in answering the register)
Our school buys in the Ethnic Minority Achievement Service (EMAS) to train and guide our support for children with English as an additional language as well as sometimes to provide bilingual support assistants
We formed a Multiculturism Group made up of parents and staff to look at ways to develop the school’s multiculturism. One of the actions of the group was to agree the relevant section of the school’s Language Code  – we prefer the term ‘other ethnic groups’ rather than ‘black and ethnic minority’ but also believe we should ask parents/carers how they prefer their children’s ethnicity to be referenced

What we avoid/don’t tolerate:

We teach children about GRT insults (pikey; chav being the most common) and do not tolerate their use; racist comments / put-downs are never tolerated

How we would like to improve our  work

·          Developing more curriculum time to teaching children how to respond to hurtful comments (aimed at themselves                 or a peer

·          We are considering the use of persona dolls to support multi-cultural understanding in our youngest children

·          To integrate more learning opportunities within the curriculum so we no longer need to celebrate special months,                 weeks or events (eg GRT/Refugee/Black History Month)

Religious or Belief Equality @ St Luke’s Primary

What this means to us:

We value the diversity of religious belief and other philosophical beliefs (eg humanism) within our local and wider community. We also respect the right to have no religion or belief

We believe that religious/belief education plays an important role in helping to keep our community a tolerant and inclusive place in which to live

How do we value all the children’s beliefs and help children with different beliefs get on well together?

Our Religious Education curriculum gives young people the opportunity to develop an understanding of their own and other people’s beliefs and therefore helps young people live in a diverse society
We regularly invite representatives from different faiths communities to speak in our RE lessons. Children also make regular visits to different places of worship within our community
Our assemblies programme includes exploration of important ideas and stories from different faiths
Children are encouraged to ask questions and explore the big ideas raised in stories from a range of faiths within our Philosophy for Children (P4C) lessons
We use language carefully and have an agreed Language Code. For example: we don’t refer to ‘Christian names’; we use BCE (Before Common Era) /CE (Common Era) alongside BC/AD; we would always say “some people believe …..”
We respect the right of families to celebrate key religious festivals and authorise absences accordingly
We respect the religious wishes of families regarding participation in school celebrations (for example Christmas performances and birthday assemblies)
We have no school uniform and recognise that the wearing of religious dress and symbols can be an important expression of an individual’s religious identity

What we avoid/don’t tolerate:

·         Put-downs related to belief or religion are never tolerated

How we would like to improve our  work

We would like more members of our school community to come and talk about their faith and how this affects their way of life

English as an Additional Language

We welcome children from a wide variety of cultures and countries. Many children have English as an additional language and we celebrate our bilingual children regularly (eg Languages Week; displays or using class languages for taking the register). We ensure the curriculum reflects and celebrates the diversity of our community.