Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Essay
Equality, Diversity and Inclusion
1.1 Identify the current legislation and codes of practice relevant to the promotion of equality and valuing of diversity.
There is various legislation and codes of practice relevant to the promotion of equality and valuing of diversity in including:
Human Rights Act 1998 – Gives further legal status to the standards on Human Rights that was set out in 1948 with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This highlighted the principle that all humans have the same rights and should be treated equally. This act also sets out the rights of all individuals and allows individuals to take action against authorities when their rights are affected.
Every Child Matters 2003 – Every Child Matters was introduced for all organisations and agencies in order to ensure they work together to ensure that they support the children they work with, between birth and 19 years, fully in order for them to achieve the 5 outcomes they set out. The acronym SHEEP can help you to remember them:
Enjoy and achieve
SEN Code of Practice 2001 – The Special Education Needs and Disability Act (SENDA) 2001 was introduced to strengthen the rights of parents and SEN children into a mainstream education. It also made significant changes to educational opportunities that are available to children with disabilities and special educational needs which means that these children are more likely to be educated in mainstream schools.
UN Convention of Rights of the Child 1989 – The UK signed the legally binding agreement in 1990 which leads on from the Human Rights Act. This act sets out the rights of children to be treated equally and fairly without being discriminated against. This treaty was ratified in 1991 by the UK government and they ensured that all rights of children are protected through law. This legislation also makes their rights extensive making sure that all children have a right to an education and that their views are respected.
Children Act 1989 and Children Act 2004 (updated 2010) – The 1989 act sets out the duty of Local Authorities to provide services according to the needs of children and to ensure their safety and welfare.
The 2004 Act underpins the Every Child Matters outcomes in order to provide effective and accessible services for all children.
Education Act 1996 – This act sets outs the responsibilities towards children with special educational needs and also requires schools to provide additional resources, equipment and/or support to meet their needs.
Racial and Religious Hatred Bill 2005 – This bill makes it illegal to threaten people because of their religion or to stir up hatred against a person because of their faith.
Employment Equality (Religion/Belief) Regulations 2003 – This act outlaws discrimination (direct/indirect discrimination, harassment and victimisation) in employment or vocational training on religion or beliefs. Non-belief is also covered by these regulations.
Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003 – This act outlaws discrimination in the same way as the Religion/Beliefs regulations but on the grounds of sexual orientation. This act covers people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual and heterosexual.
Age Discrimination Act 2006 – This act makes it unlawful to discriminate against anyone based on their age. The act covers all forms including that of young and older pupils.
The Equality Act 2010 – The Equality Act 2010 brings together the following pieces of legislation:
Human Rights Act 1998
Equal Pay Act 1970
Sex Discrimination Act 1975
Race Relations Act 1976
Disability Discrimination Act 1995
Together this legislation prevents services from discriminating against any group being race, gender or disability. It also requires schools to promote inclusion, disability and race equality for all. This act also made it illegal, whether directly or indirectly, to discriminate. Under this act schools must also actively promote equal opportunities and positive relationships between all groups of children and there is a statutory requirement on schools to encourage inclusion of children with disabilities into mainstream schools.
Special Educational Needs and Disability Act (SENDA) 2001 – This act prevents all educational providers from discriminating against pupils with SEN or a disability.
Code of Practice on the Duty to Promote Race Equality 2002 – This is a statutory code which supports the public authorities to meet the duties set out in the Race Relations (amendment) Act 2000. All schools must produce a written race equality policy and include information on practical ways in which schools will work to promote racial equality. Schools need to create policies which show they are working towards the following outcomes:
Reducing the gap of educational achievement between different ethnic groups Improving the relationships between different racial groups
Improving the behaviour of pupils
Promoting greater involvement of parents and community
Ensuring staff working in the school reflect cultural diversity of the
society Creating an admissions policy which does not discriminate
These policies must also include the strategies in which the school use to monitor the difference that the policies make to individuals and the school.
Removing Barriers to Achievement: the Governments Strategy for SEN (2004) – This provides framework for schools in order for them to remove barriers and raise achievement of children with SEN. This sets out the government’s vision for education of children with SEN and/or disabilities. The principles included are the need for:
Removal of barriers
Delivery of improvements through partnerships across services
Disability Equality Scheme and Access Plan – The Disability Discrimination Act 2005 builds on the 1995 act by requiring all schools to produce a DES. This sets outs the ways in which schools promote equality of opportunity and promote positive attitudes towards staff, pupils and others with disabilities. It must be an action plan which identifies how discrimination barriers are removed i.e. improvement to the physical environment such as ramps, lifts, room layout and lighting.
School Policies – School policies must include a mission statement which sets out the commitment of the school towards inclusion and equality of opportunity. They must have written policies which reflect the rights and responsibilities of those within the school environment. Also the policies must provide guidance for staff and visitors to the school for the ways in which they can ensure inclusive practice.
My setting, Hillbourne, has the following policies which relate to these terms: Racial Equality Policy
Child Protection Policy
Gifted and Talented Pupils
School policies must also include ways in which the school promotes rights and equality of opportunity for children and young people. The school must also monitor the strengths and weaknesses in their policies.
1.2 Explain the important of promoting the rights of all children and young people to participation and equality of access.
It is important as a practitioner that you ensure the children you work with are learning and playing in an inclusive environment as they all have a right to a broad and balanced curriculum. They also have a right to have equal access to the curriculum regardless of background, race, culture, gender, needs or disability. It is also imperative that you ensure you are aware of the needs of all the children you work with for example if they have EAL or SEN, if they are new to the school, if they have a different culture or ethnicity or if they are in foster care. You need to allow children to have equal opportunities as it is part of their human rights – all children have a right to play and learn together. It is important that all children are not discriminated against in any way – if this happens you need to make sure that the correct measures are used to deal with the problem and prevent it from happening again. It is essential that all children are allowed to participate in activities that will broaden their horizons i.e. school outings.
At my setting in Hillbourne, last summer Reception went on a school trip to Honeybrook Farm and there was a child, S. CD, in the class who had SEN. His mum had written a note to the class teacher to say that she wanted him to go on the mini bus with the other children and she would meet us at the farm. At the farm he stayed with his mum and his one-to-one up until lunch time. He had lunch with all the other children and after this he went home with his mum (as he only did mornings in Reception). After lunch we had a tractor ride so S and his mum went with the first group as they were going to go home – this was good because even though he had SEN he was able to participate in most aspects of the school trip just as much as the other children.
There is a dilemma when promoting rights of all children and young people as there can be times when they wish to undertake a task which you feel is not in their capabilities or not safe to do so but the children have the right to do activities that will broaden their experiences. While promoting the rights of children and young people, you should ensure that all children participate in as it can help to raise their achievement, self-identity and good relationships with their peers. It is important that you allow equal opportunities in education as children and young people are more likely to do better in inclusive settings, academically and socially. By promoting the rights of children and young people, they will feel like they belong and it will help improve their self-esteem. It is also important that where applicable you should ensure that all activities are always tailored so that all children can participate regardless of their needs.
1.3 Explain the importance and benefits of valuing and promoting cultural diversity in work with children and young people.
We now live in such a diverse society with different religions, cultures and a lot of people with EAL that it is important that we value and promote cultural diversity especially when working with children. It is important that we teach children that it doesn’t matter where you come from, what beliefs/views you have, what language you speak or what you look like, everyone is equal and deserves the same opportunities as anyone else – by doing this we encourage children to value everyone which in turn will help them have an open mind and be able tolerate differences more easily. It is also important to value and promote cultural diversity because it can help to prevent stereotyping, prejudice, discrimination and also reduce the risks od tokenism (where you only acknowledge different cultures/religions through posters or at certain times of the year).
Promoting and valuing cultural diversity benefits children in the following ways: They have the chance to learn about other cultures and views that are different from their own They may have minimum adjustment issues – learning about cultures and distinct features of places will add knowledge and if they travel to these places their adjustment to life there will be minimal and natural as they have grown studying and being around other cultures Helps children to realise that their cultures are just as diverse as others and that the other children are just like them Helps children and young people make sense of their learning with connections to their own lives
It is important that when we value and promote cultural diversity we understand and take account of the backgrounds and cultures of the children and young people in our care as it will help us build effective relationships with them and help us provide more effective support during their learning. Also by doing this we can help children feel like they are accepted – if we penalise a child because they come from a different background this can make them feel unwanted and this will also affect the way the other children in out care learn as they will pick up on the way we behave and they may think that it okay for them to behave this way. It is important that we get across that just because a child is from a different culture or can’t speak our local language doesn’t mean they don’t belong – they will eventually pick up the language and they have the same rights as any other child i.e. they all have a right to play and learn together.
By promoting and valuing cultural diversity we can live with freedom from bias because as we interact with people of different cultures on a daily basis there should be no scope for people to gather and from baseless prejudices or feelings of superiority. Valuing and promoting cultural diversity can help to promote patriotism as we can help children learn to compare other values, beliefs and cultures to their own and can help them to appreciate food/things from their on cultures whilst also respecting others.
Valuing and promoting cultural diversity can help with the education that we give to the children and young people we work with as they can learn about different cultures, habits and other things unique to a specific culture. It also helps to promote education through books but also by facing different cultural issues in the classroom and how to overcome them. At Hillbourne in Year 1 the TA, Mrs. C has bought in different things like artefacts and necklaces from different places she had been when it is relevant to a topic they are doing for the children to look at. This helps them to find out about things and objects that we don’t necessarily get in this country while learning about another country and can also compare the way things are made from that country to the way they are here.
At Hillbourne they also do topics on stories that are set in other countries for example in Year 1 they look at a book called Handa’s Surprise which is set in Africa and a story set in Australia called Wombat Goes Walkabout – the story set in Australia gave the children a chance to see pictures of animals that we don’t get the chance to see in this country. My other setting, Old Town School and Nursery, help value and promote cultural diversity by having a welcome sign, written in different languages from English and French to Arabic and Polish, outside the Reception classroom. Old Town show they are accepting of differences and promote and value cultural diversity as across the school from Nursery to Year 2 they have about 26 different languages spoken. In the main hallway Old Town have a poster showing the different first languages that are spoken by the children/staff.
By promoting and valuing cultural diversity you help everyone to celebrate each other’s differences, provide an enriching curriculum for the children and young people in your care and help to reduce prejudices and discrimination which can make a happy environment for everyone to play, learn and work in and also allows everyone to get along well with each other.
2.1 Explain ways in which children and young people can experience prejudice and discrimination.
It is important throughout our work as practitioners that we are aware of the fact that a child/young person will experience some form of prejudice and discrimination through their time in schools and also that as children get older prejudices and discrimination can get worse and have more serious consequences. Children and young people can experience prejudice and discrimination in many ways. Prejudice is when you have preconceived negative thoughts or beliefs about individuals who belong to a particular group and discrimination is led behaviour or actions motivated by unfair beliefs – this can be directly or indirectly. Direct discrimination can be: A child not being allowed to access part of the curriculum or school activities because of their race, gender or disability. Child not being allowed to join in because of their religion Child not being accepted because of special education needs
Children not playing with another child because of a specific reason (i.e. skin colour, hair colour, gender etc.)
Indirect discrimination can include:
Practice and procedures are applied without consideration to individual’s circumstances i.e if you plan a school trip where you may be required to wear a hard hat – this would discriminate against someone who wears a turban.
You can also have individual discrimination where policies and procedures allow practice which directly or indirectly discriminates against someone. Individual discrimination can be practised by individuals or groups. Mostly prejudice can occur because of a lack of knowledge and understanding in diversity which is way it is imperative that we value and promote this through our practice. Mainly discrimination occurs because of the differences between people – this could be because of age, gender, culture, skin colour, religious beliefs, ethic traditions or size. Children and young people can also experience discrimination through labelling of a group because of prejudice i.e. boys are expected to be noisy whereas girls are expected to be quiet. Prejudice and discrimination can also happen when a child does not receive equality of opportunity.
2.2 Analyse the impact of prejudice and discrimination on children and young people.
Experiences of prejudice and discrimination can affect children and young people in many ways. There are cases where the effects are minimal but there are also cases where the effects and consequences of such actions are very serious and will require a lot of support from staff that look after that child and possibly will need help from outside agencies depending on the situation. When a child experiences prejudice and discrimination this can mean they may have lack of motivation, they may feel angry, depressed and confused. Young children in particular could feel confused because they would think “Why are they picking on me? I’m no different to them” – they may not be fully aware of the fact that they may be different and this could be the reason for the child discriminating against them but then the child discriminating may not be aware that that is what they are doing so it important to teach children about discrimination and what to do if it happens making sure the teaching is appropriate with their age. With older children they are more aware of the ways in which they are different from their peers meaning that their actions could have more serious side affects on the person being discriminated against. One side affect could be a young person self-harming – this could happen when a young person is being discriminated against so often that it would be classed as bullying.
If a child or young person experiences prejudice and/or discrimination they will not feel like part of the group and they will not want to be in class. Feeling this way will affect them academically and socially. They will be affected academically as when in class they may know the answer to a question but may not feel brave enough to put up their hand and actually answer. Also they may feel they know an answer but then they may start to doubt their answer and then will not put their hand being too afraid they may get it wrong. Their learning will also be affected because they will not want to join in in activities with their peers so they don’t draw attention to themselves. They will feel worthless and like they are under achievers by outing themselves down meaning that they will withdraw from their education refusing to participate in activities and may decide that if they are under achievers they aren’t capable of doing any of the activities even if they have done it in the past.
Children and young people’s personal, social and emotional development (PSED) will be affected as they will find it difficult to form positive relationships with peers and the adults that work with them. Children will feel withdrawn socially and will not settle in while at school or feel happy which will impact on their learning as they will find it hard to concentrate meaning they may fall behind. Children and young people’s physical development (PD) will also be affected as their health and well-being will decline meaning that they will find it harder to be happy and play with others. Their self-esteem and confidence will be knocked and they will find it harder to open up about how they feel. They will feel that they can’t talk to the adults looking after them and could feel that they will share the same views as the children who are discriminating against them. With a feeling of low self-esteem children and young people will not feel valued as a person and if they are being discriminated against because of religion or ethnic background they will feel they don’t belong and may start to lose faith in their religion.
It is possible that while children and young people feel they can’t join in with the group they may sit in a corner by themselves as they will feel left out and their behaviour will be affected – someone who is normally quite happy and full of energy may suddenly have very negative behaviour towards other children and young people and possibly even the adults caring for them. This will lead to a very unsettled atmosphere in the setting and could impact on the other children as they will start to feel unhappy and then the adults in the classroom will have more problems to deal with meaning they could become stressed If the adults become stressed their behaviour could change meaning that all the other children in the class will start to feel like they don’t want to go school and they will be fewer positive relationships throughout the class.
This is why it is imperative that when prejudice and/or discrimination occurs we get to the bottom of it as quickly as possible and deal with the situation as professionally and sensitively as possible so that all the children in our care can be healthy, happy and safe and enjoy their learning while making good relationships with their peers.
2.3 Evaluate how own attitudes, values and behaviour could impact on work with children and young people.
As a practitioner you have a legal duty to protect the rights of all children and young people you work with therefore it is vital that you assess and evaluate your attitudes, behaviour and values regularly and make a point of looking at how they can affect your practice with the children and young people you work with. Your attitudes, values and behaviour can impact on your work with children and young people in both positive and negative ways for example if you make a point of finding out and learning about the backgrounds, interests, abilities and individual needs of the children and/or young people you work with this will help you to provide more effective, appropriate personalised support as you will have a broader range of knowledge of the different cultures and customs of the children and/or young people meaning you will be able to talk and act in the appropriate way towards them and they will know that you care about them and are interested in what they do – this will help you to build positive relationships with them and they are more likely to want to and be happy to talk to you when they have problems or are worried about certain things as they know you will listen and take what they say seriously.
Generally my behaviour is appropriate and professional when I am working with the children in my care but sometimes I can get a bit annoyed when children come to ask me something, this is normally if I am busy with a job the teacher has given me for example if it’s gluing in pupils work or sorting out sheets to be laminated. If I am busy with this and children come to ask me something or tell me that someone has been mean to them I can get annoyed as they have disrupted me from what I was doing. This can have a negative impact on the children as they may start to feel that I don’t care about what they have to say or that I don’t want to listen to them. I need to make sure that even if I am doing a job I still need to be approachable so that the children know I am happy to help them when they need it and that they can talk to me about anything if there is something worrying them – I need to remember I am there to care of them and make sure they are happy and safe and not be a reason they may be unhappy just because of the way I spoke to them.
It is important that you remember that children will take in any information you give them which is why it is important to surround them with positive messages about their peers and own importance in society and to raise them with a strong sense of self-worth. You need to make sure that you don’t let your own values and beliefs affect your practice and the ways in which you support pupils. If you respect others beliefs and values they are more likely to return the favour meaning everyone can get along and the support you give will be more efficient. This is also important in the case of SEN children – you can’t decide to not support a child because they have SEN and you think they should be in a special school, it’s not just up to you. If they school are able to adapt to meet the needs of the child and the SENCO and other professionals from outside agencies who may come to see the child are happy that they are doing well enough in mainstream education then they have the right to be and this is something you should respect. SEN children have just as much of a right to an education as all other children therefore it is important that you give them the same attention and support as you would any other pupil.
However, you need to make sure that you don’t just spend time supporting those with additional needs. If you only spend time with children who have additional needs this can affect them as well as the other children or young people in your care. The children and young people who have additional needs may feel you are crowding them all the time and feel like they can’t do anything without help, it is okay to help them but you need to know your boundaries and know that sometimes they just need help starting something off and then they can carry on themselves.
Spending all you time with children who have additional needs also affects the other children and young people in your care as they will feel that you don’t care about them or the work they are doing, even with children who often don’t need support it is important that you acknowledge the work they do and push them in their work when you feel it is appropriate i.e. you might give them some extra work to do if they finish the first task set fairly quickly. At Hillbourne in Reception, the teacher Mrs. B did a similar thing for two children. She took a group of children to do a maths activity with them, a student who is training to be a teacher took a group and another volunteer took a group as well but she gave two children, M. S and E. C a challenge to complete independently. When I got back to classroom I asked M and E what the task was they had been set – they told me they had to try and fill up some boxes and see how many things (they were using small pebbles and little plastic frogs) they could get in the boxes. They had a whiteboard and pen to help them remember what they found out. I sat with them watching what they were doing and they were telling me about which box would the most and least.
It is important to think about the ways in which your practice can be affected by your values, attitudes and behaviour so that you can ensure you provide effective and professional support for the children and young people in your care whilst remaining true to yourself and your beliefs.
2.4 Explain how to promote anti-discriminatory practice in work with children and young people.
It is important that you promote anti-discriminatory practice in your work with children and young people in order to create an inclusive environment where everyone can enjoy and achieve. This is defined as an approach that promotes: Diversity and the valuing of all difference
Self-esteem and positive group identity
Fulfilment of individual potential
In order to promote anti-discriminatory practice you need a message, a means of conveying it and an appropriate audience to spread the message. By promoting anti-discriminatory you can help to form a basis of an environment where there’s no discrimination towards individuals on the basis of race, ability, gender, culture or ethnicity. It is important that you take positive actions to counter discrimination. This includes: Identifying and challenging discrimination
Being positive in practice, differences and similarities between people
It is vital in your work with children and young people that you apply principles in the way in which you form relationships in school both with adults and children and also through acting as a role model. In order to have effective anti-discriminatory practice you need to have competent colleagues who are able to see discrimination when it happens and know the right ways of challenging it. It is important that you are racial aware – this means that you are aware of what words and actions you use are considered to be discriminatory towards individuals from ethnic groups. You also need to make sure that you aware of customs and norms for an individual and ensure that you are sensitive towards that individual.
Another way to promote anti-discriminatory practice is through eliminating stereotypes i.e. you could encourage boys to play with dolls and prams as well as girls. You could also have visitors or parents come in to do a talk with the children i.e. if they are from a different culture or background so the children can learn about other cultures which will help them to understand why some children may not be able to join in with an activity.
2.5Explain how to challenge discrimination.
Through your work with children and young people it is important that you challenge all cases of discrimination and take all of those cases seriously no matter how small and make sure you deal with them as quickly and professionally as possible. The school have a duty to follow the code of practice to promote race equality which requires them to monitor and report all racist incidents to the LEA. One important thing to do when challenging discrimination is that you recognise anti-discriminatory practice and make sure you require knowledge of policy, procedure and practice as this well help you feel more confident about what is good practice allowing you to deal with incidents more effectively when cases arise. It is important that when dealing with cases of discrimination you recognise that it can be intentional but can also be because of ignorance and lack of understanding.
It is also vital you take into account the age of the children as very young children may say something not understanding the implications and meaning of what they have said in which case you will need to explain to the child that their comments are not acceptable and that everyone should be treated fairly and equally. In cases involving older children you may need to take further action as they should know how to behave and treat people – further action may require recording and reporting it to a member of the Senior Leadership Team in your setting. It will help in your practice if you make a point of learning assertiveness strategies that will help you to recognise discrimination. It is important that you make yourself aware of the school’s policy when racism happens and when challenging discrimination it is important that you do the following: Explain what happened or what had been said that is discriminatory State the effect of this on the individual, group and others Suggest/model ways to ensure anti-discriminatory practice
3.1 Explain what is meant by inclusion nd inclusive practices.
Inclusive practice is not only about the way in which schools provide of children with SEN and disability. Inclusive practice is defined as: The process of identifying understanding and breaking barriers to participation and belonging Ensuring everyone feels valued
Having a sense of belonging
Recognising, accepting and celebrating of differences and similarities Understanding the medical and social model of disability
Inclusive policies should take account of needs of all pupils in the school. Inclusive practice is based on the social model of disability. The social model of disability is based on the assumption that a way the school operates, what barriers are present and how different attitudes can prevent individuals from participating in society. Legislation requires schools to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to remove barriers so children and young people can take part in educational and social activities within the school alongside the other pupils. The medical model of disability is based on the assumption that children must adapt to the environment – this can help to promote an atmosphere of ‘dependence’ and providing information i.e. worksheets in a larger print, audiotapes, alternative forms of communication.
Inclusion is ensuring that all children and young people no matter their background/situation are able to participate fully in all aspects of school life and providing the same opportunities and access in order for a high quality of education. It is important that you help children with additional needs as they often require extra support from a teaching assistant or school support worker. Inclusion for pupils isn’t only about providing additional support, it can also relate to adjustments being made to the school environment as well i.e. providing lifts, ramps, furniture at right height for children with physical disabilities.
3.2 Identify barriers to children and young people’s participation.
Baker. B, Burnham. L, (2010) Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools Harlow: Heinemann
Baker. B, Burnham. L, (2010) Supporting Teaching and Learning in Schools (Primary) Harlow: Heinemann