Whickham school has a longstanding commitment to equality of opportunity in all of its forms. Where equality of opportunity exists all staff and pupils work in a more rewarding and less stressful environment, one free from prejudice and harassment and one more likely to enhance their performance and achievement
The three key areas where the school strives to ensure equality of opportunity are:
- Pupil admissions
- The curriculum
The school is required to demonstrate that we comply with our equality objectives and the public sector equality duty. In doing so we follow the advice from the Department for Education on The Equality Act 2010 and Schools. A copy of our full Equal Opportunities Policy is available on our Policies Page
- Gateshead LA has been retained as our admissions authority through its coordinated admissions scheme. Our admissions policy follows the LA model policy which in turns follows our legal guidance and requirements from the schools admissions adjudicator.
The Curriculum & Pupil Experience
- The Public Sector Equality Duty applies to curriculum delivery and not content. Nevertheless we strive to make our curriculum content inclusive and positive about diversity. We hold an annual diversity week and have recently reviewed our curriculum to ensure that it is broadly respresentative (for example following the Black Lives Matter protests of 2020).
- Equality is a key theme of our citizenship programme. We run a Rainbow Society in school, becoming recognised as a model of good practice across the region promoting both pupil and staff diversity. Strong evidence includes pupils who have transferred into our school via the fair access panel from other schools because they recognise Whickham School’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.
- We employ an Achievement Team to help identify and resolve any visible or hidden barriers to learning. This includes support to remove temporary barriers.
- The school takes all concerns about discrimination and harassment seriously. Incidents are closely monitored (termly) by governors. As a school we seek to embed restorative practice and principles. Over time this has resulted in fewer issues arising. This has helped to foster good relations across all characteristics and between people who share a protected characteristic and people who do not share it.
- Within assessment we work hard with our Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) team to ensure all pupils have equal opportunity to perform to the best of their ability in their examinations. Our exam access arrangements have expanded significantly in the past 5 years.
- Our school beliefs and values on diversity and inclusion are strongly represented in our recruitment material and adverts.
- Recruitment statistics are analysed through equal opportunities monitoring data to help ensure there is no hidden bias.
- We view staff requests for flexible working positively. A significantly larger than national average proportion of our staff benefit from flexible working arrangements. For example nationally in secondary school 17% of teaching staff work part-time. At Whickham School in 2020 this proportion was 26%.
- Pupil and staff dietary requirements are routinely considered and a range of meal options provided, including for staff before Parents’ Evenings.
- Equality issues are considered prior to making key decisions which affect staff