Equality Act 2010
Torfaen County Borough Council is committed to ensuring that all children and young people have the opportunities they need to fulfil their potential, including the right to learn in a safe and protective environment free from bullying or discrimination of any kind.
Too many pupils suffer from bullying at some point during their time in school. Certain groups of pupils are at a higher-than-average risk of being bullied, including those with protected characteristics as defined in the 2010 Equality Act.
Under the Equality Act 2010, new duties on schools and other public bodies came into force in April 2011. The Act strengthens and simplifies existing equality legislation. It brings together existing duties not to discriminate on grounds of race, disability and gender which schools are already bound to comply with, and it extends these to include duties not to discriminate on the grounds of age, sexual orientation, religion or belief, and gender re-assignment. It places a requirement on governing bodies and school personnel to eliminate discrimination and promote equal opportunities, some of which they will already be doing. It applies to school policies for tackling prejudice based bullying. The Equality Act 2010 replaced 116 different equality and anti-discrimination statutes with a single Act. The majority of the Act came into force on 1 October 2010. The nine main pieces of legislation that were merged into the Act were:
- the Equal Pay Act 1970;
- the Sex Discrimination Act 1975;
- the Race Relations Act 1976;
- the Disability Discrimination Act 1995;
- the Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003;
- the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003;
- the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006;
- the Equality Act 2006, Part 2; and
- the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007.
The Act creates anti-discrimination legislation covering nine 'protected characteristics', which are:
- gender reassignment;
- marriage and civil partnership;
- pregnancy and maternity;
- religion or belief;
- sex; and
- sexual orientation.
The Welsh Language in Wales is not a protected characteristic but has equal standing (Welsh Language Act 1993 and the Welsh Language Measure 2011).
The Act requires local authorities and other public bodies, including schools, to have due regard for the need to:
- eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation and other conduct that is prohibited by the Act;
- advance equality of opportunity between people who share a relevant protected characteristic and those who do not; and
- foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not.