Protected Characteristics at Sevenoaks Primary School
As part of our School Improvement Plan, Sevenoaks Primary are committed to developing pupil understanding and appreciation of diversity, celebrating what we have in common, and promoting respect for the different protected characteristics as defined in law.
The protected characteristics listed under the Equality Act of 2010 are:
- Gender reassignment
- Religion or belief
- Marriage or civil partnership
- Sexual orientation
- Pregnancy and maternity
How We Promote and Embed the Protected Characteristics at Sevenoaks Primary School
Equality and inclusion are at the core of the SPS ethos. We promote respect for the protected characteristics through:
- Assemblies, which are reactive to current global, national, local, and school events
- Our School Values of Perseverance, Kindness, Love of Learning, Creativity, Team, and Courage
- Promotion of the British Values (democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty, mutual respect, and tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs) throughout school life
- A praise-first atmosphere, celebrating the children’s talents and attributes
- Our Thrive relational policy, which recognises and celebrates our differences
- Our CPOMS behaviour logging system - with categories including bullying, racial, and homophobic incidents - where any incidents are seen as an opportunity to reflect, learn, and make better choices next time
- Our bespoke PSHE curriculum, actively promoting inclusion and respect
- Our RE curriculum, helping us to understand and celebrate all major world religions
- Our SMSC calendar, highlighting important events and their links to the protected characteristics
- Our extra-curricular opportunities, immersion days, Big Book Days, educational visitors, speakers and trips
- Adult role modelling within the school community
- Our inclusive employment policy
It is also vital that we support the children’s love of reading to include diverse authors and protagonists. We are constantly adding new age-appropriate books to our class reading areas. Broad representation in the books we enjoy is vital. Firstly, it teaches children with one or more protected characteristic that they are not alone, and that their characteristics are to be celebrated. Secondly, it teaches children outside of those groups to appreciate the differences and commonalities they share with the heroes in their favourite stories.
Recent Additions Include:
Red - A Crayon's Story - Michael Hall
My Mummy Is A Firefighter – Kerrine and Jason Bryan
Baby Goes To Market - Atinuke
Lubna And Pebble - Wendy Meddour
Our Diversity Makes Us Stronger – Elizabeth Cole
Tusk Tusk - David Mckee
What Happened To You? – James Catchpole
How Frank Helped Hank - Suzanne Hemming
Migrants - Issa Watanabe
I Am Not A Label – Cerrie Burnell
The boy in the dress - David Walliams
The Pirate Mums – Jodie Lancet-Grant
As we develop our curriculum, SPS will:
- continue to expand the school’s book corners with relevant material and reading lists for each year group, ensuring positive representation across the protected characteristics
- consider the protected characteristics in assemblies, providing follow up lesson materials and discussion opportunities
- ensure that the protected characteristics are built into the curriculum and extra-curricular activities
- ensure that all children have been taught about all of the protected characteristics by the time they leave SPS
The Protected Characteristics Project
This year, I will be raising the profile of the protected characteristics at SPS through a long-term project.
In addition to the above, I intend to:
- map the protected characteristics to our entire curriculum (for example, pregnancy and maternity may come up in Science lessons) to evaluate our current provision and identify any gaps.
- add the protected characteristics to my existing bespoke PSHE plans, so that they can be highlighted and discussed when relevant.
- plan and resource one ‘Big Book Day’ per year, with a focus on the protected characteristics. This follows the success of my ‘Every Night Is Pizza Night’ Big Book Day, which was very popular with children, staff, and parents and carers - introducing many children to new foods from a wide range of different cultures.
- look into including members of the wider community within our daily school life. For example, inviting grandparents into the school for a special afternoon, and booking speakers from different backgrounds, to help engage children with the diverse and wonderful world they are growing up in.
Research shows that a lack of representation in media can lead to lower wellbeing for children with identities that aren’t represented, or are represented negatively. Exposure to negative representations can undermine children’s sense of self - while high-quality representation promotes more positive attitudes, interactions, and well-being. It is therefore important to get our representation of the protected characteristics right. We will measure the impact of our protected characteristics initiatives through pupil voice surveys, parent and community consultation, PSHE discussions, in the children’s learning, and in the children’s Thrive well-being profiles.
To view our Protected Characteristics Action Plan, please click here.
We welcome any feedback and suggestions, so please get in touch if you have a particular interest or idea you would like to discuss!
PSHE Co-ordinator and Protected Characteristics Lead