Equality, diversity and inclusion in work with children and young people
Working with young children requires knowledge of legislation in relation to equality, diversity and inclusive practice.
1.1Current legislation and codes of practice relevant to the promotion of equality and valuing of diversity.
Legislation and codes of practice
Disability Discrimination Act 1995
This law protects the rights of disabled people.
It is against the law to treat a disabled child/person less favourably than a non disabled person for a reason regarding to their disability.
In schools procedures must be put in place to ensure that all individuals have equal access to services.
Disability Discrimination Act 2005
The law requires schools to make reasonable adjustments, change policies/procedures to prevent disabled pupils or staff members being discriminated or harassed based on their disability.
SEN and Disability Act 2001
The SEN code of practice states that is unlawful for education providers to discriminate against children that have learning difficulties. The SEN code sets out principles to support an inclusive education (a child with SEN should have their needs met, the child’s point of view should be taken into consideration and parents of a SEN child should be supported and kept up to date regarding their child progress)
Race Relations Act 2000
This act states that you must always regard the needs of every individual, to be able to eliminate unlawful racial discrimination and to promote equal opportunities between people of different racial groups.
Human Rights Act 1998
This act states that all individuals are equal and through its policies/codes of practice allows individuals to take actions when their rights have been affected.
According to this act, us as individuals are entitled to rights and freedoms like:
-civil and political rights
-right to life and liberty
-freedom of thought and speech
-equality before the law
-right to work
-right to access education
Children Act 1989
This act states that children’s welfare and developmental needs are met, including the need to be protected from harm. It is the duty of local authorities to provide services that will ensure the safety and welfare of children. Authorities (schools included) must help families protect children’s rights and create an environment where they can grow and reach their potential.
Children Act 2004
This act is not replacing the previous one from 1989 being only a revised version of it after the death of Victoria Climbie.
Victoria’s death was responsible for changes in child protection law including the formation of the programme named Every Child Matters designed to improve the lives of children .
Education Act 1996
This act sets out the schools responsibilities towards pupils with special needs making sure that they are treated equally and have access to all school facilities like everybody else (resources, equipment,building access)
Equality Act 2010
This act sets out the responsibilities of authorities and schools to provide equal opportunities for all individuals.
This act have nine protected characteristics:
-age (act protects employees of all ages against discrimination and allows them to justify direct discrimination)
-disability( the act states that it is unfair to treat a disabled person unfavourably because of something connected with a disability)
-gender reassignment ( the act states that is discriminatory to treat people who decided to start or have already completed a process to change their gender)
-marriage and civil partnership (the act protects employees who are married or in a civil partnership against discrimination)
-pregnancy and maternity (the act protects women against discrimination because they are pregnant or have given birth)
-race (the act protects individuals against discrimination based on their race,nationality,ethnicity or national origin)
-religion or belief (act protects people against discrimination based on their religion or belief including lack of any belief)
-sex (act protects both women and men against discrimination on the ground of their sex)
-sexual orientation (the act protects against discrimination based on individual’s sexual orientation- bisexual,heterosexual,gay or lesbian)
Codes of practice are a set of rules that explains how a set of laws should be implemented and how people working in a specific profession should act.
Codes of practice( or guidelines) that support schools to implement the legislation:
-The Special Educational Needs Code of Practice 2001 contains details of legal requirements that must be followed and explains the duties of schools/authorities to provide for pupils with special needs.
-Code of practice on the duty to promote race equality 2002 was designed to impose positive duties on authorities to promote racial equality and prevent discrimination regarding jobs,training,provision of goods ,services, housing etc.
-Removing barriers to achievement (government strategy for SEN) 2004 is a government strategy for SEN. This strategy focuses on children with special needs and disabilities and has four key areas:
*early intervention- to ensure that children with learning difficulties receive the support they need from school and that their parents/guardians have access to proper childcare
*removing barriers in learning
*raising expectations and achievement by developing teachers skills to be able to meet the children’s needs.
*delivering improvements in partnership
-Disability Equality Scheme and Access Plan requires schools to implement a system that will enable those with disability to have better access to facilities, services provided and can participate in the curriculum.
-School policies provide guidelines for schools, students and teachers and focuses on creating a safe environment ,a place that supports learning and development .The policies should include informations regarding expectations about students behaviour (inside the schools or on school grounds) , responsibilities for safety and well-being and procedures for dealing with incidents.
1.2 Describe the importance of supporting the rights of all children and young people.
It’s important that children and young people have the same opportunities regardless of their personal background. It is also important that they receive the support they need to participate in all activities and have equal access to all resources.
Including children in all activities and making sure they are treated equally are the first steps in supporting their development. Inclusion is about ensuring that all children and young people have access to learning opportunities whatever their disability and that they have the support they need (helping them to work to the best of their ability). Equality is not about treating everyone equal is more about giving equal opportunities to very different individuals so they can all reach their best potential.
For example if a child uses a wheelchair, during outdoor activities (like gardening) rather than excluding him the staff needs to make sure that there is suitable access to the garden and to provide
an adapted area so the child can participate fully.
If a child with special needs or one that came from another school (city /country) is accepted as it is: a unique individual with skills of its own, with needs that have to be met, is included and treated equally it will develop and grow to become a reliable pillow in tomorrow’s society.
Being included in all activities and having equal chances of study will maximize the personal achievement of children helping them to develop properly.
Children loose interest in learning if they are unable to relate to the subjects they are studying and because children have different learning styles or are at different levels of learning they can be very often discriminated.
All children have the right to access a balanced curriculum no mater what background,religion, race, gender or disability they might have. To be able to help children’s rights all schools have codes of practice and policies based on legislation. In schools policies on inclusion and equality of opportunities can help to raise achievement promoting self identity through participation of all pupils.
All children have the right to:
learn in their own rhythm /pace
make mistakes and not be judged or punished but understood and helped
be able to learn through exploration, trial and making errors
learn to take care of their own personal needs (going to the toilet, helping themselves with a glass of water)
to be encouraged to grow but not comparing him/her with others but mostly with their own previous achievement and receive praises for that achievement
learn that everyone in an individual with its own talent, characteristic and opinions
not be discriminated and included in all activities.
For all of these rights to be achieved schools need to :
help pupils develop a sense of identity
improve relationships between individuals and groups
1.3 Describe the importance and benefits of valuing and promoting cultural diversity in work with children and young people.
Living in a divers society that is constantly changing I think is important we teach children that it doesn’t matter where we come from, what colour is our skin or what our religious beliefs are. It is important that children understand that we are all equal and we deserve the same opportunities as everyone else. By doing so children will be encouraged to value everyone preventing stereotyping, discrimination contributing to a happy environment to grow and develop.
Promoting cultural diversity will benefit children because they have the chance to learn about other cultures, places and traditions.
Very often in schools are celebrated different moments that are important for only few of the pupils (like Chinese New Year, Diwali) making the children feel included among their classes.
2.Understand the impact of prejudice and discrimination on children and young people.
2.1Describe ways in which children and young people can experience prejudice and discrimination.
Prejudice and discrimination can affect children as much as it affects adults. Children are not sheltered against discrimination and that can affect their self esteem,social and emotional development,learning progress and relations with others. A child might be discriminated for any reason : because of their skin colour, body shape or size, religious beliefs or ethnic traditions.
Children are more likely to discriminate against other children for example refusing to play with a child with a disability or pushing away a child based on his clothing or physical appearance.
Types of discrimination:
Direct discrimination-when an individual is treated differently from others for specific reasons (age,disability)
Associative discrimination-based on association with another person belonging to a relevant protected group (minority,ethnic group)
Discrimination by perception- unfair or unfavourable treatment of a person because they are thought to have a particular protected characteristic (being gay or being foreigner)
Indirect discrimination-when policies or rules which applies to everyone in the same way, have a worse effect on some people than other
Indirect discrimination can be :
Harassment-unwelcome behaviour which is meant to create an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment
Victimisation-setting someone aside for unjust and cruel treatment (physical abuse,bullying or verbal abuse))
2.2Describe the impact of prejudice and discrimination on children and young people
The children who suffer prejudice will be demoralised and feel rejected which will eventually destroy their self-esteem and confidence having a negative effect on their education ,social and emotional development.
Discrimination can affect the live of an individual later in life. A person discriminated and rejected won’t be able to form relationships and will feel out of place, will lack in motivation and will find it hard to hold down jobs.
2.3Assess how own attitudes, values and behaviour could impact on work with children and young people.
Our own backgrounds can have a major affect on how we view people around us. Our own experiences with certain groups of people(or even individuals) may reflect on our behaviour so we must be sure that we do not pass our attitude onto the children. Children often tend to copy the behaviour of the adults around them (family members or teachers) so we need to be respectful of other’s beliefs and to be professional in our attitude in class or around the school. As practitioners displaying a supportive and helpful attitude ,using good manners such as “thank you, please , will you be so kind to…” will help children to learn how to behave and by including everyone in activities will discourage discrimination.
2.4Describe the importance of promoting anti-discriminatory practice in work with children and young people
Discrimination should never be ignored or taken lightly because it is as damaging to an individual as much as a physical abuse. Not dealing with a discriminatory attitude we are condoning the actions of the “abuser” by accepting the fact that is alright to speak or to behave in a specific manner.
By understanding how hurtful discriminatory behaviour is it will help us to promote a changed attitude toward targeted subjects of discrimination. As practitioners we need to educate children and help them understand the many different cultures, faiths and disabilities surrounds us and encourage them to think of other peoples feelings (to try to put themselves in that person’s place).
2.5Describe how to challenge discrimination
Depending of the child’s age I think discrimination can take many forms. A small child (in EYFS) might say hurtful things making remarks without understanding the impact that their words/actions might have on their colleagues. In that case talking and explaining about the consequences of hurting someone’s feelings or making someone sad will usually resolve the issue.
It is very important we consider how we deal with difficult situations and knowing school’s anti-bullying and discrimination policies will help us be impartial and prepared to manage any situation.
If the discrimination continues we must address the teacher describing the situation and to try to deal with the issue in class. If the discriminatory attitude continues our superiors must be informed and measures to be taken .(the child can receive a warning and if the discriminatory attitude doesn’t stop measures like moving the child to another classroom or even school can be implemented but always keep parents updated).
3.1Describe what is meant by inclusion and inclusive practices
Inclusion by definition is the act of including someone or something as part of a group. Inclusive practice is valuing every child that comes into classroom, valuing their diversity and unicity and to make sure that everyone has the same learning opportunities (no matter if they have disabilities) making sure they are involved. To be able to understand better the issue of inclusive practice we must study and understand the medical and social model of disability.
The medical model states that a child must adapt to the environment and promotes the atmosphere of dependence. This model is concentrated on the individual stating that:
-the individual cannot be equal to an non disabled person
-the individual cannot make decisions about its life
-the individual is the problem
The social model’s view of disability is concentrated on the child and works to empower children and young people. This model states that:
-every individual is equal
-society is the one that puts barriers in place
-society is the one that prevents opportunities
Schools are required by law to make adjustments to remove any barriers so all children can be part in any social and educational activities by providing any support necessary.
This adjustments are related to:
For example a child with an additional need like sight problem must be kept closer to the board to help him see better or make sure that always writing on that board is enlarged. A child with hearing impairment must be encouraged to take part in dancing lessons or “wake-up shake-up” dancing moments in the mornings by putting the speakers on the floor and let the child dance being able to feel the vibrations of the beat of music. Also is a good practice to adapt the equipment at play time for all children to be able to play, toys placed at a reaching level accessible for everyone ensuring that there is enough space for a child in e wheelchair to move free. All schools should have a special toilets for children and people with disabilities and provide easy access in the building (ramps, lifts, etc.)
Children with disabilities like visual or hearing impairments require that information is provided in writing adapted for their needs (Braille for the blind, texts printed larger, audio format information, card symbol system) and for children with dyslexia keyboards with high contrast. Each school need to ensure that for children who speak a different language and for who English is a second language, there is support provided for them.
To ensure that all children have the same access to information, schools must adapt the curriculum by providing touch-screen boards, software, headphones, colourful printout sheets to work on, displays with timetables, alphabet, grouping pupils on same level tables to ensure they have the appropriate resources and help from a teacher or teaching assistant.
As a practitioners we need to inspire children, motivate them, help them improve by using adequate curriculum. Being positive and creative we will help them focus, grow and develop to the best version of themselves
3.1 Describe features of an inclusive setting for children and young people
Schools are like beehives. When you enter a school you will see a lot of activities and even though schools are a very busy place, you feel welcomed as soon as you enter the door. At the reception you are welcomed with a smile, there are a multitude of displays on the walls with useful informations. Corridors are decorated with children’s work, looking a little bit like a wall of fame that school is very proud of.
An inclusive school will have the following features:
focus on children potential not on their disability
recognise barriers, try to remove them, or at least minimise them
staff knows all policies and procedures, being up to date
ensure that children are feeling listened to
ensure that staff and pupils are feeling respected
everyone feels welcomed
keeping strong partnerships with governors, parents, therapists, etc.
3.2 Describe how inclusion works in own sector of the children’s workforce
Focusing on children and aiming to provide an caring, rich safe, stimulating environment, should be the main goal of schools. Schools should help children grow develop, being able to reach their full potential. Everyone that works with children must understand the principles and features of inclusion.
Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)
Provide quality and consistency, making sure that no child is left out but helped to reach its full potential, making progress every day.
Provide a secure foundation promoting equality, opportunity and support for children with disabilities or learning difficulties.
National Curriculum Inclusion Statement
Schools must ensure participation of children and achievement by providing a specific curriculum.
Schools must recognise barriers to be able to remove them, being able to respond to children diverse learning needs.
To raise standards, schools are adapting their learning system by personalising it. In a system where every child is important regardless of their special education needs, culture or background personalised learning narrows the gap of educational achievement.
Promoting well-being trough
an inclusive curriculum
The main goal of the schools is to provide top quality education through its curriculum, but also to ensure that physical social emotional well-being of children is reached.
Every Child Matters
This act was designed to improve the lives of children.(after the death of Victoria Climbie) This legal framework included few important requirements for all services to work closely forming a team that have a common database and assessment so they’ll be able to identify a need earlier than before. Also included requirements to set an support system for parents who are experiencing problems.
No matter of the circumstances children find themselves in, or their background, they need support to:
enjoy and achieve
make a positive contribution
achieve economic well-being