1.1 Identify the current legislation and codes of practice relevant to the promotion of equality and valuing of diversity.
All schools must have policies in place which set out guidelines and procedures for ensuring equality for staff, students and visitors to the school. At Brighton Hill Community School, we have a Single Equality Statement and a policy for Inclusion and External Support Agencies. Both policies must be adhered to by all staff and I have included them with this unit. On 5 April 2011 the public sector equality duty came into force in England, Scotland and Wales. This duty replaces the existing race, disability and gender equality duties and has three aims under the general duty for schools and they are written into the Single Equality Statement in place at Brighton Hill Community School. The aims are: To eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation and other conduct prohibited by the Act. Advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and those who don’t Foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not. The Equality objective at Brighton Hill Community School is: To make sure students who arrive at the school with lower than average attainment make at least the progress expected of them over 5 years.
The Human Rights Act 1998 sets out the rights of all individuals and allows them to take action against authorities when their rights have been affected.
The Children’s Act 1989 sets out the duty of local authorities to provide services according to the needs of children and to ensure their safety and welfare. This act was revised in 2004 and it was added that there is a duty to provide effective and accessible services for all children underpins the Every Child Matters outcomes. (Cross reference TDA 2.2 assessment criteria 1.1)
The Education Act 1996 sets out the schools responsibilities towards children with SEN (Special Education Needs.) It requires schools to provide additional resources, equipment and support to meet their needs. At Brighton Hill School, students with additional needs and on the SEN register, have additional support interventions in the form of group work or 1:1 sessions concentrating on a particular area of their need or may have equipment provided for them such as visual aids. For example materials with enlarged print or tinted reading rulers for students who have either a visual impairment or visual stress, hearing equipment (arranged in consultation with Hampshire County Council) in order for deaf students to access the curriculum. Students may have a reader or scribe for assessments and exams or may use a word processor to complete exams.
The Equality Act 2010 sets out the legal responsibilities of public bodies including schools, to provide equality of opportunity for all citizens. This act does not just apply to schools or other educational bodies but in all areas of life. The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 protects the rights of all those with disabilities. It also places a duty of care on schools to eliminate barriers to ensure that individuals can gain equal access to services. This act was revised in 2005 and the revision was that schools must produce a Disability Equality Scheme (DES) and an access plan and must encourage participation in all aspects of school life and eliminate harassment and unlawful discrimination. The Special Educational Needs and Disability Act 2001 makes it unlawful for educational providers to discriminate against pupils with a special educational need or disability. The principles are that early invention will be most effective, discrimination is reduced, raises levels of achievement and delivers improvements through working with partners across the different services in the county. The Race Relations Act 2000 outlines the duty of organisations to promote good relationships between people from different races. This in turn reduces the gap between the different ethnic groups, improves relationships between different racial groups and ensures that staff reflect the cultural differences of a diverse society. 1.2 Describe the importance of supporting the rights of all children and young people to participation and equality of access. All children have a right to education and schools have a duty to ensure that all pupils have equal access to the curriculum irrespective of their background, race, culture, gender, additional need or disability. The term ‘Equal opportunities’ does not mean that all children should be treated the same, but that all children are treated as individuals. The curriculum must be balanced so that it meets the needs of all students. Studies have shown that some groups of children do not meet expected levels of attainment. The groups which have raised particular concern tend to be black and minority ethnic groups and those who are vulnerable because of their economic or social circumstances for example those registered for FSM (free school meals) or Pupil Premium. Children are more likely to achieve their potential if they are encouraged to become independent learners. They can make choices and have a sense of control over their learning which in turn gives them the motivation to succeed. Some schools promote the 3Rs ethos (Rights, Respect, and Responsibility) which encourages staff and students to respect other people and their property, understand their rights within the school and take responsibility for their actions. This ethos prepares children for living within a diverse society and expands their thinking to be more accepting of others. This can assist in changing views of individuals from families whose views are not so accepting of others. 1.3 Describe the importance and benefits of valuing and promoting cultural diversity in work with children and young people. The word ‘culture’ means a shared way of life and includes aspects such as shared customs, language, beliefs, arts and music. It is not just restricted to learning about students from foreign origins but those from all backgrounds and includes children from Travelling Communities or those whose faiths and beliefs are different from what people term as ‘normal’. What is normal for one group of people, will not be normal for another group. Recognising and promoting the cultural diversity of individuals and groups within schools will enrich learning and promote the knowledge and understanding of all students. It is important that in order to widen a child’s learning, they have access to, or experiences of different cultures. This can be added to the curriculum in a number of ways for example: watching films, trips or taster days, listening to music from around the world, using drama, tasting or cooking dishes from around the world or simply working alongside children from different cultures or backgrounds. This will reduce prejudice and stereo-typing within the learning environment and it will ensure that students explore and understand cultures that are different from their own. However, in trying to promote diversity within schools, they must ensure that they do not fall into the trap of tokenism by only acknowledging cultural diversity at certain times of the year. School should also be a place where children learn more than academic skills. They should also promote understanding and cooperation among people, not prejudice.
2) Understand the impact of prejudice and discrimination on children and young people.
2.1 Describe ways in which children and young people can experience prejudice and discrimination.
Any child can experience prejudice and discrimination in some form. It usually occurs when people have a lack of knowledge and understanding of other cultures and diversity. Prejudices occur when people make assumptions about other people. A child may be discriminated against for any reason; because of their size, the fact that they wear glasses, the colour of their skin or their hair, religious beliefs or cultural or ethnic tradition. Children and young people are most likely to discriminate against other children because of the prejudice approach they may hold having learned this from a very young age; usually from parents, other children or other influential people. These may include not playing or associating with traveller children because it is believed that they are dirty or smelly or a assuming a physically disabled child has learning difficulties. There are two forms of discrimination; direct discrimination and indirect discrimination. Direct discrimination happens when children and young people are not allowed to access part of the curriculum or take part in a particular activity because of their situation such as gender, race or a disability. For example, boys may be prevented from playing netball in PE lessons because it is considered a girls sport and it is not offered as part of the boys PE curriculum. Indirect discrimination occurs when practice and procedures are applied without any consideration to individuals’ circumstances. A child may not be excluded directly, but will be unable to participate because of their personal situation. For example: A child has a stammer or stutter. The class are being assessed on oral presentation skills. This is likely to put the child at a particular disadvantage despite the written quality of the presentation because of the problems with speech which will result in poor marks which in turn may have an affect on the child’s emotional wellbeing.
2.2 Describe the impact of prejudice and discrimination on children and young people.
Prejudice and discrimination creates social and emotional tension and can lead to fear and anxiety and occasionally hostility and violence. It can undermine the self-esteem and self-confidence of those being ridiculed and make them feel unaccepted and unworthy. When that happens, their school performance often suffers, they may become depressed and socially withdrawn and childhood can become an unhappy time. It is critical that children deal with diversity in a positive way. From a young age, children are aware of differences among people, primarily in characteristics like appearance, language and names, but later they are aware of religious and cultural distinctions as well. To some extent, children begin to define and identify themselves through their understanding of these personal differences. These differences are not solely restricted to race, ethnic group or religion. I have witnessed prejudice amongst students at Brighton Hill Community School. On one occasion, a student was reluctant to attend his 1:1 sessions because his fellow students had ridiculed him about being thick because he was identified as needing extra support from an LSA. When I went to collect the student from the lesson he had gone to, the other students jeered at him making comments and noises. This made the student feel embarrassed, singled out and up for ridicule amongst his peers. They could not see the extra support as a benefit to his education or that his levels of attainment would increase. The class teacher immediately stamped on the silly noises and comments and explained to the students that such ridicule is disrespectful. On the other occasion, another student was being ridiculed because he has ginger hair, fair skin and freckles. There have been times when he has shrugged off the comments or called the antagonist a name, but recently, he is showing signs of upset and his confidence is dwindling and he is becoming withdrawn. I spoke to some of the students involved and asked them if they would like to be treated in the same way. They all protested at first but then agreed that it would make them feel upset if other students teased them about the colour of their hair. In both cases, it had not occurred to the students that their behaviour was discriminatory. They answered that they were “just having a laugh” but agreed that there were consequences to their teasing. This is a classic example of how lack of knowledge becomes discriminatory.
2.3 Assess how own attitudes, values and behaviour could impact on work with children and young people.
I believe that all people carry some sort of prejudice or make assumptions about others. Usually this is because they may feel threatened, afraid or awkward about a particular group in society they have little knowledge of. For example, discriminating against different races or cultures, people with different religious beliefs, special educational needs, disabilities or sexual preferences. It is important that people who work with children or young people do not make assumptions based on lack of knowledge. Students should not be labelled or pigeon holed because of their religion, culture, disability or educational needs or life choices. If I were to discuss my personal assumptions regarding a particular ‘social group’ with other students, I could be influencing them in a negative way. This would go against the school policy which promotes inclusion for all. My personal opinion on particular groups in society should not influence the opinions of the children I work with, unless they are positive opinions and demonstrate an inclusive attitude. It would not be right if I were to expect students to behave in a positive non-discriminatory manner if I did not behave in that way. I find the saying ‘practice what you preach’ appropriate with regard to this unit.
2.4 Describe the importance of promoting anti-discriminatory practice in work with children and young people.
As with assessment criteria 2.3, schools must demonstrate anti-discriminatory practice. It is a shared responsibility amongst staff to ensure that anti-discriminatory practice is promoted within the school. It is important that all staff are good role models and demonstrate anti-discriminative behaviour at all times. Staff should appreciate and promote diversity and individuality of all children by acknowledging their differences and all children should be treated as individuals as part of the Every Child Matters outcomes. It is important that there is a positive ethos towards individuality and inclusion within the school so that children are given confidence and skills to challenge prejudice or discrimination themselves.
2.5 Describe how to challenge discrimination.
Discriminating behaviour should always be challenged. Part of the role of an LSA and other staff within a school setting is to protect all children from discrimination. I believe an effective way of challenging discriminating behaviour with children and young people is to expand their knowledge and expose them to as many diverse cultures as possible, teach them to understand how certain behaviour or attitudes affect other people and to ‘normalise’ a diverse society. Rather than just telling students that discriminatory behaviour or prejudice is wrong, encourage them to work it out for themselves. Ask them questions like “How do you think it makes that person feel?” And “How would you feel in that situation?” It is important to talk about diversity and acknowledge that there are differences between all people. Ignoring discriminatory behaviour could be classed as condoning it. It is essential that all staff understand how to deal with discrimination. Discrimination may be intentional in some cases, but it is usually due to general ignorance from a lack of knowledge and understanding and it must be challenged by explaining what has been said or has happened, stating the effect on the individual and suggesting ways in preventing it from happening again.
3) Understand inclusion and inclusive practice in work with children and young people. 3.1 Describe what is meant by inclusion and inclusive practices. Inclusion is about eliminating unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation. Breaking down the barriers to ensure that every child feels a sense of belonging and is given the opportunities to participate in school life whatever their background or situation. It is important that all children are given the same opportunities and set on a path to success whether they require a differentiated way of learning to suit their needs or traditional methods. At Brighton Hill Community School, we have an inclusive policy and 2 years ago the Flexible Learning Centre (FLC) was put into practice. It is situated in a central area within the school and the staff in the FLC specialize in inclusion for all. The Learning Support Department falls under the umbrella of the FLC and is involved in providing interventions. Our department are responsible for providing support within the classroom as well the following interventions: 1:1 support to concentrate on areas of need identified from SATs, CATs or SEN testing. Dyslexia support and support for Spelling and Literacy.
A Friendship Group for students who have difficulties forming friendships and students who are on the Autistic spectrum. Reading comprehension groups.
Reading Ambassadors (groups of students who lack confidence with reading go to local primary schools to read to SEN students or those who struggle with reading). Booster groups providing additional support for maths and English. ELSA support groups for students requiring emotional support. SLCN groups for those with speech and language difficulties.
The FLC have very close links with external agencies and together they provide a wide range of support. Some of the agencies involved are: ELS-ED – this is an inclusion service and 2 members of staff from Ashwood provide 1:1 sessions with students. Relate – a counselling service
Catch 22 – drugs and alcohol support/counselling
YCP (Youth Crime Prevention)
Young Carers support
Winchester Prison run workshops
BCOT/QMC/Winchester University workshops
Taster days for new intake from local feeder schools.
EMTAS – providing support for families with EAL (English as an additional language) All of the interventions and means of support listed above are aimed at ensuring that all pupils whatever their background are included and catered for within our school. It is important that all students feel safe, valued and have a sense of belonging at school. Inclusion gives them a feeling of self-worth and the knowledge that their contribution matters. 3.2 Describe features of an inclusive setting for children and young people. An inclusive setting will recognize where barriers lie and will have an understanding of individuals and the diverse groups amongst students. Provisions are put in place to cater for students who need support in their area of need and focus is put on what the student can do rather than what they can’t. It is about being positive and allowing them opportunities to develop to their fullest potential. Although interventions benefit students, it is key to ensure that they do not miss too many of their timetabled lessons whilst they are attending the provisions set up for them as not only will they fall behind with their lessons, but there is also a risk of segregation away from their peers; which may have a negative effect. Instead, using an LSA for support within the classroom ensures the students are educated amongst their peers and careful timetabling is essential in preventing students from missing the same lessons frequently. Students should be given the opportunity to voice their opinions so that they can feel valued and confident that they are worth being listened to. 3.3 Describe how inclusion works in own sector of the children’s workforce. I have chosen to reflect on the inclusiveness of Brighton Hill School as the Mission Statement for the school is reflective of an inclusive setting. “Through understanding partnerships promoting life-long learning, we are fully committed to the concept of the outward-looking school, generating high quality education and wider attributes and knowledge in order to prepare them fully for life and work in the 21st century. We therefore challenge and support all of our learners to become resilient, adaptable, responsible and independent citizens. We believe that in a shared sense of purpose and the values of mutual respect, consideration for others and positive self-esteem”. Our school is unique in providing an inclusive provision such as the FLC (Flexible Learning Centre). It is the only school within the area with such provision and one that is accessible for all. All students and parents are aware that the FLC can be used regardless of the situation and all students will be treated as individuals. The staff work hard in ensuring that all students are catered for regardless of their background, ethnic group, ability or situation. It is a very positive environment and the emphasis is put on providing students with the opportunities to succeed and nurturing them to evolve into young adults with a positive attitude and a sense of pride over their achievements. The school ethos and tag line is “Always learning” and the intention is for all students to make at least the expected progress during their time at Brighton Hill School and to explore and experience a world outside their boundaries. It is important to show students that there are other avenues to explore and that they are worthy of reaching their potential. Some students are not nurtured and cared for at home resulting in feelings of unimportance and low self-worth. A positive environment providing opportunities to see their potential can increase confidence and emotional well-being for children and young people. The FLC provide many opportunities for students including taster days at Winchester University. The students invited are those who are unlikely to consider university. They may not feel they are academic enough, that their families would not be able to afford the fees or those who are likely to be the first family member to attend university. The aim is to show students that it doesn’t matter what their background, that higher education is accessible to them. A lot of students are referred to the FLC because of bad behaviour. These students are reprimanded for their actions and shown that there are consequences for them and are given the opportunity to improve on their behaviour. Where a pattern has emerged, the student may be referred to one of the external agencies or to a programme within school that will suit their need. The Learning Support Department work closely with the FLC in ensuring that all students are treated fairly and positively and given opportunities to succeed.
Information Sources used:
Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools level 2 textbook. www.barnardos.org.uk
Brighton Hill Community School Policies.
Discussions with FLC Staff.