The Equality Act 2010 is a piece of legislation passed in October 2010. This Act replaces a number of previous legislations concerned with discrimination including the Sex Discrimination Acts of 1975 and 1986, the Race Relations Act 1976 and the Disability Discrimination Act 1995. The consolidation of many Acts has been implemented in order to streamline the legislation and make it simpler and more consistent.
The Act relates to nine characteristics that it is unlawful to discriminate against. These are as follows; age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation. Its aim is to protect people with any one or more of these characteristics from discrimination, harassment or victimisation.
This legislation supports quality in an early education and childcare setting as it falls in line with the National Care Standards published by the Scottish Government, particularly with regards to Standard 8, which states that any service users “will be treated equally and fairly”(2005, p. 21). This standard goes on to explain how staff members will treat all service users, parents and carers fairly, showing respect for their requirements and characteristics. This standard also relates to the staff members themselves being treated fairly.
The Equality Act 2010 promotes inclusion and reflects children’s rights in relation to the United Nations Convention on Rights of the Child ratified by Great Britain in 1992. Article 2 of this legislation is concerned with protecting children from discrimination of any kind.
The Act also supports quality in a nursery setting by helping to ensure that no “indirect discrimination” takes place. According to the Centre for Studies on Inclusive Education “indirect discrimination occurs when treating all pupils in the same way results in putting pupils with a protected characteristic at a disadvantage”. Daly et al...