Equality & Diversity

At Benton Park School, we share a commitment to equality, diversity and community cohesion across all sections of our school community.  Under the provisions of the Equality Act 2010, it is unlawful for a school to discriminate against a student or prospective student by treating them less favourably because of their:

  • sex;
  • race or racial group (including colour, nationality and ethnic origin or national origins);
  • disability;
  • religion or belief;
  • sexual orientation;
  • gender reassignment;
  • pregnancy or maternity.

Benton Park School is committed to providing an environment free from discrimination, bullying, harassment and victimisation where all members of its community are treated with respect and dignity. The school aims to create a culture of diversity within its community, providing a dynamic working and learning environment, where all members are valued for their contribution. Our aim is to ensure that these commitments, reinforced by our values, are embedded in our day to day working practices with the school community.

At Benton Park School we are committed to building a cohesive, collaborative school community in which we:

  • tackle all types of discrimination;
  • celebrate the diversity within our school and the wider world;
  • promote equality of opportunity;
  • build good relationships between people of different groups;
  • contribute to the cohesion of the local community and wider society;
  • promote fundamentally the British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect for and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs and for those without faith;
  • meet our statutory duties under the Equality Act 2010.
In accordance with the Equality Act (2010) and our Equalities Policy, we have published a series of Equality Objectives. 
  1. To develop and embed curriculum-based work on addressing all types of discrimination, supported by staff training and the use of external expertise as appropriate;
  2. To reduce, and ultimately eliminate, behaviour incidents linked to homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, race, faith, gender and/or disability, by increasing students’ awareness, understanding and empathy;
  3. To increase community engagement in our work related to equality, diversity, social justice and global citizenship;
  4. To continue to narrow the gap in achievement between students from different learner groups
This year we are delighted to announce that we are working with the Red Kite Alliance to complete the RED (Respect, Equality, Diversity) Award.

 

This award provides:

  • a framework within which schools can evaluate their current provision in terms of equality, diversity, respect for individuals and community cohesion
  • a route map to help schools to build on what they already do well, to plan actions to strengthen their provision and to embed a cohesive, inclusive, respectful ethos across the entire school
  • a vehicle for schools to celebrate the richness and diversity of the whole school community, as well as the school’s collective achievements in this area of its provision
The intent of our work is to:
  • Help to embed a harmonious culture of mutual respect across the school community
  • Establish effective leadership for equality and diversity to develop, and implement, the policies, practices and systems
  • Provide students with the knowledge, understanding and experiences they need to develop as respectful, open-minded and compassionate global citizens
  • Offer the best possible educational provision, and achieve the best possible outcomes, for all students
We eliminate discrimination by:

• Employing strategies which create a respectful, inclusive culture with a zero-tolerance approach to incidents motivated by prejudice or discrimination and where all members are valued for their contribution to the school environment. We aim to ensure that this commitment, reinforced by our school values, is embedded in our day to day working practices within the school community.

• Providing regular equalities training to staff which supports them to deal with prejudice-based incidents, understand their role and statutory duties and enables them to actively promote Equality and Diversity with our students. This year this has included training for staff on ‘Autism’ by STARS; a session on Hate Crime and Discrimination led by STOP HATE UK; ’Attachment and Trauma’ training delivered by AC Education support and training led by Alice Minett, Teacher of the Deaf to support the teaching of hearing-impaired students.

• Systematically recording all incidents which are discriminatory in terms of race, gender, sexuality, religion or disability, and ensuring that these are sanctioned appropriately through the school’s Attitude to Learning Policy. We adopt a robust response to all forms of bullying and harassment, in accordance with our “Anti-Bullying Policy”.

• Engaging with the ‘Voices for Equality’ Anne Frank Trust workshop, which trained a group of KS3 students to act as Equality Ambassadors. Delivering an Assembly led by Women’s Health Matters focused on healthy relationships, sexual harassment and consent to Year 10 students. Providing STOP HATE UK year group sessions which explored issues related to hate crimes and discrimination, promoting tolerance and endorsing a better understanding of ways to support inclusion within our communities.

• Ensuring that our school curriculum is representative and diverse, avoiding stereotypes and tokenistic representation of groups. This includes the study of texts such as ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog’ and ‘Noughts and Crosses’ in Drama; Protest songs in Music; Women and Disability in Tudor England in History; Fairtrade, Global Equity and Human Rights in Geography and issues regarding Transgender athletes in PE. The PHSE curriculum is planned and delivered to showcase a diverse and wide range of cultures and heritages within lessons from KS3 to KS5, while assemblies this year have covered topics such as Human Rights Day; World Religions Day; Diversity week; Misogyny and Masculinity; and International Woman’s Day.

• Achieving the RED Award Certificate of Commitment to Equality and Diversity as part of our link with the Red Kite Alliance and continuing to work towards full accreditation of the RED Award through our self-evaluation and action plan: this award actively seeks to eliminate discrimination. Presentations to staff, governors and assemblies to students have promoted our commitment to these aims and our zero-tolerance approach to any acts of discrimination or prejudice. Our RED Award pledge, written with students, reiterates ‘our aspiration is to promote an environment where everyone’s school experience is inclusive, equal and diverse.’

We advance equality of opportunity by:

• Promoting a culture where all students are encouraged and supported to be the ‘best they can be’ by encouraging them to have a positive self-image and high self-esteem. Fortnightly ‘Aspiration for All’ lessons have included sessions on Enterprise, Charity fund-raising events, Career aspirations, discussion of world events such as the conflict in the Ukraine and media bias and propaganda concerning ethnic and racial groups.

• Supporting the personal development of all our students through extracurricular clubs such as our LGBTQ+ club, Rock Solid club; Book clubs and reading groups; Sports and Music clubs; participation as school leaders and as members of the school council or on KS5 mentoring schemes In subjects such as PE, teachers wore rainbow laces to support LGBTQ+ role models and across the school, subject displays promote a range of equal opportunity figures and suggested reading around topics such as black history, women in science and computing and multi-cultural literature.

• Providing Career Advice through targeted meetings with our Careers Advisor which explore a wide range of opportunity. This year a group of Year 7 girls have continued to take part in the ‘E for Engineering programme’ run by the Leeds University Outreach Project to support girls’ interest in engineering careers and STEM subjects. This has included two in-school sessions with visiting postgraduate women and one on campus visit. Students are given tasks that reveal the multifaceted scope of engineering and are challenged to work efficiently, effectively and collaboratively. We also participated in the Cyber First Competition run by the National Cyber Security Centre, a coding competition which aims to support girls in a career in cyber security. Our C&K Careers Advisor prioritises guidance meetings for those with SEND, Disadvantaged and CLA students and also attends any review meetings for EHCP students in order to provide a careers guidance aspect to these meetings.

• Offering enhanced provision for the transition of EAL, SEND and transgender students through supported induction sessions in the Hub, bespoke personalised timetables and teacher and student mentoring. Further staff training and guidance has allowed better understanding of key needs and individual requirements for these cohorts. Specific training for our staff during the last academic year has included:

o Teacher of the Deaf CPD for all staff within the classroom followed by specific training for Hub staff on supporting students with hearing impairments
o STARS Autism training Level 1 for all staff followed by Level 2 training for our Hub staff
o Whole school trauma and attachment training for all school staff
o Fortnightly SEND briefing with a focus on key individual students/SEND.

• Promoting staff and governor recruitment which supports the school’s commitment to equality, for example, support is given to staff with disabilities through the use of height adjustable desks, lift access and specialised equipment such as chairs and risers. Staff at any level are able to make a training request to support their role and development needs. Our school PHSE Lead has also completed the ‘Proud Leadership’ programme which aims to promote more diversity and encourage the promotion of LGBT+ teachers into leadership positions in schools.

We foster good relations by:

• Enabling all members of staff to contribute to the delivery of an inclusive and diverse curriculum through effective staff training, sharing of resources and discussion. Our ‘Aspirations for All’ and the ‘Big Read’ programmes encourage teachers and support staff to have discussions with students on topics such as identity, culture and belonging while our PHSE curriculum helps students understand their legal and moral rights and responsibilities.

• Giving students opportunities to experience and value cultural diversity through events such as ‘Diversity Week’ (June 2023) which reminded students of the need to be inclusive and respectful of others’ diverse needs and reiterated the rights of all citizens as protected through the Equality Act. Through British Values teaching in Geography, RSP and MFL lessons, students explore subjects such as Fairtrade, Global Equity, Religion and Belief and Human Rights, while in Politics and History, Democracy and the Rule of Law is studied.

• Supporting local community and national events which encourage solidarity with others and promote messages of equality and diversity such as our commitment to our chosen school charity ‘Yorkshire Cancer Research’ where a series of fund-raising events is leading to a whole-school Enterprise Day run by the students themselves, which raised over £10,000 in donations.

• Creating opportunities for students to engage with a range of positive role models from diverse backgrounds, including lunchtime Careers Talks from women in engineering and Construction industries; a STOP HATE UK sessions to students about ways to prevent discrimination and varied trips and visits to universities and colleges which promote a wide range of opportunity in inclusive and varied settings. This included prioritising KS4 disadvantaged students to participate in work-based work experience visits, and a visit for SEND students to the SEND Careers Fair at Leeds Arena. Careers Trips and Events this year were extended to increase a wider participation of all students and included a HGS Oxbridge Conference, First Event Careers Talk, Digital Recruitment Careers Talk, Bradford College Assembly, LSS Sports Presentation and a talk delivered by the UK Ambassador to Russia.