The Russell School

Equalities and Diversity

The Equality Act 2010 requires schools to publish information to show how we are working to:

Eliminate discrimination:

  • Advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic* and people who do not share it.
  • Foster good relations between groups of people.

The *protected characteristics – which relate to a primary school – are:

  • Disability
  • Gender reassignment
  • Sex
  • Sexual orientation
  • Race
  • Religion and  belief

Other groups of pupils we believe  it is also important to consider are:

  • Looked-after pupils and children who were previously looked-after
  • Young carers
  • Pupils eligible for free school meals or living in poverty

 

At The Russell School we strive to treat each member of our community as an individual; to make each individual feel valued and to teach our pupils to do the same. Trying to achieve this involves us all learning what we all have in common as well as valuing our many differences. We think that children will learn better in a school where everyone feels equally safe and welcome. We believe everyone has the same rights but may have different needs and so making school ‘fair’ for everyone is not about giving everyone the same things.

As well as teaching the children about equality and diversity generally through the curriculum and particularly through our PSHE curriculum, we also regularly discuss these ideas with the children in assemblies and aim to reflect these values in our day to day interactions with the children.

We teach children about ‘put downs’ and prejudicial language and our playgrounds are safe places to be (never perfect, but children are confident they will be looked after if things go wrong).  The equality message is loud and strong and we involve the children in ensuring that this remains so. 

Gender Equality at The Russell School

What this means to us:

  • Stereotyping means expecting girls and boys to behave or look a particular way. We recognise that there is still incredible pressure in society for us to conform to gender specific roles / looks and we need to teach children about this.
  • We value individuality and this includes individuality in children who don’t want to act or dress in a way that is ‘typically like a boy’ or ‘typically like a girl’.
  • We respect and support children’s gender identities whether they accept, question or want to  change the gender ascribed to them at birth.

How do we promote gender equality?

  • Staff use language carefully to reflect gender equality (for example: we wouldn’t say ‘ladies first’, we would teach the children about letting each other through a door as a polite thing to do; we would talk about fire-fighters not firemen; police officers not police men or women; nurse not male nurse which suggests a man as a nurse is unusual).
  • Teachers don’t ask children to get into boy and girl groups / teams in (for eg) PE.
  • We do run girl-only sports clubs because these sporting activities are often dominated by boys and so we positively discriminate.
  • We make sure that there is a gender balance to our pupil surveys; school councils etc so that we  hear the voice of boys and girls equally.
  • We teach the children about stereotyping within the curriculum and we occasionally undertake a resource audit to check toys, displays and book corners.
  • We challenge stereotypes through the books we read children; choices of images we present etc.
  • We analyse all our data by gender to check if there is an issue we need to address (eg improving the  attainment of boys in writing).

What we avoid/don’t tolerate:

  • We don’t tolerate gender put-downs (for example: calling a boy ‘a girl’ to make him feel bad; calling a girl a tomboy because she plays football).
  •  We try to make sure reading books reflect our gender equality policy. If you find a book that you think gives the wrong message, please tell your child’s class teacher – we won’t be offended (some may slip through the net and we will be able to use them to teach children about gender equality).   We do have books that are obviously aimed at girls or boys and we know these appeal to children – we are more worried about stories that give stereotypical messages about girls’ or boys’ roles in the world.

How we would like to improve our Gender Equality work:

  • We are creating more sporting opportunities for girls and in particular competitive team events.  Mr Ryan has taken on the role of championing girls’ sports within the school.
  • We want to support more boys to explore activities deemed typically ‘female’ (eg dance, textiles, choir, netball).
  • We are aiming to increase children’s understanding of gender stereotyping and sexism and begin  these discussions earlier, from the beginning of EYFS. This includes curriculum developments (every subject leader’s action plan aims to develop diversity within their curriculum area) and every day learning and teaching practice (eg resources; worksheets; powerpoint images; displays).

Family Equality at The Russell School

What this means to us:

  • We value all family types as equally special and recognise that children need to be proactively taught that other children’s families can be different to their own family type.
  • How will we make all families feel equally valued and help children from different family types get on well together?
  • We will celebrate families in special events regularly over your child’s time in our school and within the RSE and PSHE curriculum. Our hope and experience is that celebrating family diversity encourages children to share and therefore educate other children about the variety of family types in our community.
  • We use the term ‘grown ups’ as a general term rather than ‘mums and dads’ to refer to children’s significant adults so that children who live with one parent; 2 mums; 2 dads; foster parents or who live with extended family don’t feel that their own family make-up is not included. We ask club leaders to use this language too. Not only do we avoid certain language, we also actively talk about different family types and children regularly hear all family types recognised in our language. We buy books that include a variety of family types.
  • We are proactive in engaging both parents to engage with school if they are separated.
  • We realise that there are financial inequalities between families at The Russell School and aim to ensure no family or child is excluded from a school event or activity for financial reasons and that we do not add stress or embarrassment to families.
  • In Relationships and Sex Education, we teach the children that babies are conceived in different ways (conception teaching formally happens in key stage 2 but questions can begin before then and will be answered in an age-appropriate way).
  • We recognise that children who are adopted into families or fostered often have specific needs and may need additional care. We know that change and transition are sensitive times for children with attachment difficulties and will work with parents and carers to support this. We can also celebrate fostering or adoption days if children would like to do so.

What we avoid/don’t tolerate:

  • We don’t tolerate any put downs about families and deal with them seriously – we take any put-down as an opportunity to educate children about diversity and equality.
  • We teach children about homophobia and homophobic put-downs. The casual use of ‘gay’ as a negative adjective is never tolerated and children are taught why this can never be acceptable.

Disability Equality at The Russell School

What this means to us:

  • We celebrate different abilities in many ways while also supporting the specific needs children may experience. We teach children to celebrate difference and that difference is not about lack or less but about rights, needs, attitude and access. We teach the children that equality is not about everyone getting the same but about everyone getting what they need.
  • If your child is joining our school and has a disability, we recognise that you will need additional time with school staff so you can tell us about your child’s needs (you are the expert) and for us to explain how we will work towards meeting your child’s needs.
  • We recognise that helping your child be equally included may need specific support and we will work with you and other agencies to ensure we do this well.
  • Disabilities can affect a child’s achievement or social experience in very different ways. Although achievement is a major factor, we also are clear that a child’s social experience is vital to a good education and can help your child achieve a positive social experience in a variety of ways.

How do we promote disability equality and help all children get on well together?

  • We teach children about disability equality through the curriculum via specific units of work as well as our general language and attitude.
  • Occasionally, and with parental consent/involvement, we support disabled children to teach their peer group about their specific needs to enable children to support and understand those children better. Children respond to this incredibly well. Difference is often obvious to children and this benefits from being discussed and accepted openly to support positive relationships. Children have become so confident about their differences that they have been enabled (as older primary children) to talk to their whole class or the school about their own disabilities (eg dyslexia or autism) and this has always had a positive impact.
  • All children at The Russell School have equal access to all of school life. This includes clubs (your child may need support to attend) and trips including residential trips in Years 4, 5 and 6.
  • Children may become diagnosed with a learning disability during their time at The Russell School (eg dyslexia). We have clear pathways to diagnosis of specific learning difficulties or disabilities.  Parents and carers will be involved with this process and given information about support offered as a result. You are welcome to discuss any concerns about your child’s development at any time and will receive information about additional support at least twice a year. Please come and talk about anything you don’t understand or anything about which you would like more information.

What we avoid/don’t tolerate:

  • We talk to the children about different skills, achievements and abilities. We know that children/people can be competitive and avoid the ‘top/bottom group’ classroom set-up. Our pupils experience learning with all children over time in mixed attainment groupings. They are specifically taught how to include every one and how to listen to each other’s ideas respectfully.
  • We treat put downs related to ability/disability seriously. These can include put downs pertaining to high attainment (eg: geek; nerd) or low ability / attainment (eg: thick; stupid). Such put downs are unusual.

How we would like to improve our Disability Equality work:

  • To increase representation of disabled people in our school. This includes curriculum developments (every subject leader’s action plan aims to develop diversity within their curriculum area) and every day learning and teaching practice (eg resources; worksheets; powerpoint images; displays; (eg) historical / scientific contributions of disabled people).

Race and Heritage Equality at The Russell School

What this means to us:

  • We value all our children as individuals and value the diversity of racial and cultural heritage within our community. As a school with a relatively small ethnic minority community, we feel it is especially important to value and make visible not only the races and cultures represented within our community but those that are not currently represented – and to do this in a planned and proactive way.
  • How do we value all the children’s cultures and help children from different communities get on well together?
  • We find as many opportunities as possible within the curriculum to teach the children about other cultures and ethnicities and promote this learning through displays.
  • We make sure toys, displays, books etc reflect a range of people from different cultures and avoid stereotypes.
  • We have Refugee Week assemblies and teach the children about refugees as part of the curriculum.
  • We celebrate Black History Month in assemblies and have developed a more diverse / hidden history curriculum.
  • We hold an annual International Arts Week each year to celebrate art from around the world.
  • We try and use children’s languages regularly (eg in answering the register). 

What we avoid/don’t tolerate:

  • We do not tolerate the use of racist comments or put-downs.

How we would like to improve our work:

  • We are developing a proactive ‘everyday’ curriculum as well as specific lessons to explore skin colours and cultures (eg the use of persona dolls to support multi-cultural understanding in our youngest children. 
  • To increase representation of skin colours and cultures in our school. This includes curriculum developments (every subject leader’s action plan aims to develop diversity within their curriculum area) and every day learning and teaching practice (eg resources; worksheets; powerpoint images; displays).

 Religious or Belief Equality at The Russell School

What this means to us:

  • We value the diversity of religious belief and other philosophical beliefs (eg humanism) within our local and wider community. We also respect the right to have no religion or belief.
  • We believe that religious/belief education plays an important role in helping to keep our community a tolerant and inclusive place in which to live.
  • How do we value all the children’s beliefs and help children with different beliefs get on well together?
  • Our Religious Education curriculum gives young people the opportunity to develop an understanding of their own and other people’s beliefs and therefore helps young people live in a diverse society.
  • We regularly invite representatives from different faiths communities to speak in our RE lessons. Children also make regular visits to different places of worship within our community.
    Our assemblies programme includes exploration of important ideas and stories from different faiths.
  • Children are encouraged to ask questions and explore the big ideas raised in stories from a range of faiths within lessons.
  • We respect the right of families to celebrate key religious festivals and authorise absences accordingly.
  • We respect the religious wishes of families regarding participation in school celebrations (for example Christmas performances).
  • We recognise that the wearing of religious dress and symbols can be an important expression of an individual’s religious identity.

What we avoid/don’t tolerate:

  • Put-downs related to belief or religion are never tolerated.

How we would like to improve our work:

  • We would like to include more members of our school community to come and talk about their faith and how this affects their way of life.
  • We are aiming to make sure all religions and special religious festivals celebrated by our families are also celebrated in/through school.
  • We aim to plan more opportunities for children to talk about their own beliefs.