Equality and Equity
No child or young person should be disadvantaged or denied the opportunity to fulfil their potential due to their family circumstances, health, gender or ethnicity. Sadly, sometimes these factors can lead to challenges in the relationship between home and school. However, by working in partnership with other organisations, families and the local community, schools and early learning and childcare settings can help to reduce the impact of some of the challenges by building connection and understanding.
What is Equality and Equity?
The Equality and Human Rights Commission describes equality as: ‘Ensuring that every individual has an equal opportunity to make the most of their lives and talents.’ In other words, equality means ensuring everyone has equal opportunities, receives fair, non-discriminatory treatment and the support they need to fulfil their potential.
Equity is a policy principle that supports equality principles and is increasingly focussed on poverty and financial hardship.
Why should we think about Equality and Equity?
Every school community involves families from many different backgrounds. An Equality and Equity Policy, which is accessible to all, will highlight the importance of everyone’s obligations under the Equality Act (2010) and the need to involve and engage parents of all backgrounds in the school community and their children’s learning.
An Equality and Equity Policy:
- highlights the importance of mutual respect and the fact that all families have something to bring
- recognises that some groups may face extra barriers or be more likely to experience discrimination
- can reflect the legal duty on public bodies to actively promote equality, eliminate discrimination and foster good relations between people with different characteristics.
The Equality Act enables schools to take action (known as positive action) to tackle the particular disadvantage, different needs or disproportionately low participation of a particular group of pupils or families, provided certain conditions are met.
Equality and Equity Toolkit
The Toolkit has been designed to help school communities (parents, pupils, staff and others working alongside and with the school) to think about equality and equity and how they can work together to support these principles in their school community. It looks at the background and meaning of equality and equity, and how they impact on different people.
Additional case studies are available on Connect’s website.