Your Child and School

Are there any national guidelines for promoting diversity in schools?

Yes - Unity and Diversity is the document which provides guidance on opportunities to promote race equality, and ethnic, cultural, linguistic and religious diversity in the school curriculum in Wales. It can be found on the Welsh Government website at:

gov.wales/topics/educationandskills/publications/guidance/unity-diversity-eia?status=open&lang=en

Do schools have to promote diversity and equality?

Yes - Schools have a crucial role to play in creating a learning environment that is characterised by respect and racial and religious tolerance. A Single Equality Duty applies to all schools and they must have due regard to the need to:

  • eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation
  • advance equality of opportunity
  • foster good relations.

Often the Single Equality Plan can be accessed on the school website. Ask to see a copy if it is not available on the website.

Will my child learn about diversity and equality in school?

Yes - for example, personal and social development, well-being and cultural diversity is at the heart of the Foundation Phase for children aged 3–7 years old. 

All schools in Wales also have a responsibility to plan and deliver a broad, balanced programme of Personal and Social Education (PSE) that meets the needs of their pupils. A key aim of the PSE Framework for 7–19 years old in Wales is to, "promote self-respect, respect for others and for diversity". For more information visit:

www.wales.gov.uk/personalandsocialeducation

Identity and culture is one of the themes of education for sustainable development and global citizenship (ESDGC) and provides children and young people with the chance to explore and discuss issues related to diversity. For more information see the information document Education for Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship: A Common Understanding for Schools (Welsh Government, 2008) gov.wales/topics/educationandskills/allsectorpolicies/europeanandinternational/sustainabledevelop/?lang=en

You can find out more what your child learns about diversity and equality by talking with him/her about their schoolwork, or by talking to teachers at the school.  

What are the school’s responsibilities?

All schools must have effective approaches in place to deal with incidents of prejudice, bullying and harassment (in relation to the Equality Act 2010). Your child’s school will have an equality policy which should explain:

  • how they promote equality and the protected characteristics
  • how they promote good relationships between all groups within the school
  • how they eliminate discrimination and how they will deal with discrimination when it happens.

 

 

You have a right to see all school policies, so don’t be afraid to ask for a copy if they are not available on the school’s website

The school can do many things depending on the nature of the incidents. Sanctions can range from talking to the child/children involved to giving a suspension or exclusion from school for a more serious incident or if they are repeatedly involved in discriminatory behaviour against someone.

Schools have a legal responsibility to make a written record of any racist incident which takes place on their premises. Schools should also report all racist incidents to their local authority. Schools should also report the incident to the Police if asked to do so by the victim or their parent. 

Specific rules exist for dealing with sexual harassment and discrimination, particularly if the victim is under 16, as this may be a child protection issue. In these circumstances, schools are required to share information they have about sexual harassment with the Police and social services.

Contacting your child’s school

If you think your child is experiencing prejudice, harassment or discrimination in school arrange to see your child’s class teacher in primary school or their Head of Year in secondary school. Discuss the problem with the teacher as it may be something the school can resolve.

Meeting suggestions

  • Decide what you would say and what you’d like to achieve from the meeting.
  • Stay calm even though you may feel emotional.
  • Don’t blame the teacher – he or she may be unaware of the situation.
  • Give specific examples of how your child is being discriminated.
  • Ask to see the school’s equality policy.
  • Discuss what action the teacher will take.
  • Arrange to meet again within 2 weeks to discuss progress.
  • If the situation does not improve, or you are not satisfied with the way it is being dealt with, arrange to see the head teacher, the Chair of the school’s Governing Body or you can contact your Local Authority.