Equalities at Beechen Cliff

Like all public sector institutions, the school has a duty under the Equality Act 2010 to have ‘due regard’, when making decisions and developing policies, to the need to:

● Eliminate discrimination, harassment, victimisation and other conduct that is prohibited by the Equality Act 2010;
● Advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and people who do not share it; and
● Foster good relations across all protected characteristics – between people who share a protected characteristic and people who do not share it.

This is a duty which we not only wish to fulfill to comply with the law, but because it is central to realising our vision for our pupils and students to achieve their aspirations and become well-rounded, confident and compassionate individuals who go on to live fulfilled lives and make a positive contribution to society.

These outcomes for pupils and students are built on our four core values – aspiration, compassion, independence and respect – all of which align with our equalities work. Every individual in the school is included in this vision and we recognise the need to be proactive in our work with those who belong to a protected group in pursuit of equality of outcome. There are close links between our equalities work and mental health and well-being (See Related Pages below).

Pledge of Respect

The school’s approach to respecting others is encapsulated in our ‘Pledge of Respect’, a visual display in the school of the commitment of pupils and students, staff, governors, parent representatives and partners (such as sports organisations, the Police and community groups) to a set of beliefs and principles, including the Equality Act (2010). This shared responsibility for respecting difference and tying it to the school’s core values can be found physically located at the heart of the school. The pupil-written Pledge document can be found in downloads below.

Our 2023 OFSTED inspection report states:

“Respect is central to the school’s ethos. Pupils sign up to the ‘Beechen Cliff Charter’ which sets out the importance of equality and diversity. The school aims to give everyone the same opportunities and rights.”

Student Leadership

What was particularly exciting about the Pledge of Respect, when first launched, was that students and pupils wrote the Pledge document and shared it with their peers through assemblies and a ceremonial unveiling. Student leadership is central to young people believing in, and taking ownership of, equalities issues and thus enabling them to make a positive contribution to a more tolerant and respectful society. The school has an active pupil e-Team, led by members of the Sixth Form, who shape the school’s work. There is helpful advice on setting up an e-Team on the BANES website:

Each year the Pledge is updated by students and all students take part in a ceremonial commitment to the Pledge.

A further example of our student leadership is through our Mental Health and Equalities Prefects. They were integral in producing a video in partnership with Boys in Mind (Girls Mind Too) about Equality at Beechen Cliff which was launched in June 2022 and which is available here.

In addition, in October 2023, our Equalities Prefects produced PowerPoint slides celebrating the achievements of inspirational people for Black History month. These were displayed on the screen in the school refectory for the month and are available to view here.

Equalities Strategy

To promote the equalities agenda, we undertake a range of activities. These include, but are not exclusive to:

● A termly equalities focus, covering all nine protected characteristics over the course of a year, communicated and explored through assemblies and tutor time;
● ‘Flagship’ events championing protected groups, such as marking International Women’s Day, Pride and Black History Month;
● Teaching about difference and diversity through PSHE;
● Adhering to clear protocols for tackling discriminatory language or behaviour, including working with the Police and Local Authority if required
● Training for staff from external organisations; and
● Publishing an annual equalities action plan to meet the Specific Public Sector Equalities Duty. This can be found in Downloads below.

British Values

The Government requires schools to support UK democratic values, including individual liberties within the law, equality, mutual tolerance and respect. Beechen Cliff School promotes these  values (commonly known ‘British values’) through themes such as citizenship and community in assemblies, tutor time and PSHE. The values align closely with our school values which are explored in our Character Programme; this programme enables pupils to reflect on their own values (including reference to British values), beliefs and enactment of these. Promoting British values also enables the school to safeguard young people by helping to prevent them being drawn into extremist or violent views. The DSL and Deputy DSLs and all staff are ‘Prevent trained’ proportionate to their role and the school liaises closely with the Local Authority if there are cases of concern about radical or extreme views by pupils or students.

Race Equality Charter for Schools

We have signed up to the Bath and North East Somerset Race Equality Charter. More details can be found here – https://beta.bathnes.gov.uk/race-equality-charter-schools