Equality and Diversity

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1. Identify the current legislation and codes of practice relevant to the promotion of equality and valuing of diversity.

There are several current pieces of legislation relating to equality and diversity, including • UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (see……) • Every Child Matters
• Children’s Act 1989
• Children’s Act 2004
• Human Rights Act 1998

The most recent act is the Equality Act 2010. Previous to this, equality legislation in this country was somewhat fragmented. The purpose of the new act was to harmonise and strengthen all previous equality legislation (eg The Equal Pay Act 1970, Sex Discrimination Act 1975, Race Relations Act 1976, Disability Discrimination Act 1995). It sought to promote equality, by clarifying the definitions of direct and indirect discrimination, victimisation and harassment. It identified nine groups of people to be protected from discrimination, referred to as ‘protected characteristics’. These are:

• Age
• Disability (both physical and mental)
• Gender reassignment
• Marriage and civil partnership
• Pregnancy and maternity (pregnant women, women on maternity leave, and breast feeding women) • Race (not just colour, but also nationality, ethnic or national origin) • Religion and belief (including those with lack of belief ie Atheists) • Sex

• Sexual orientation

It states that there is a public duty to eliminate harassment (“unwanted conduct which has the purpose or effect of violating someone’s dignity, or which is hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive”), discrimination and victimisation “treating someone unfavourably because they have taken or might take action under the Equality Act, or supporting someone else to do this”). It calls on public bodies (including schools) to advance equal opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and people who do not, and to foster good relationships between people of all...
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