Kidderminster College seeks to secure genuine equality of opportunity in all aspects of the life of the College so that everyone is treated fairly.
The College is therefore committed to policies and practices which encourage equality of opportunity and eliminate unfair discrimination. The College aims to ensure that no one is unfairly discriminated against on the grounds of race, colour, religion, belief, nationality, marital status, gender, age, sexual orientation, criminal record, disability or trade union activity.
This commitment applies to all learners, employees, governors and others having contact with the College including other customers, visitors and members of the public.
The College will not tolerate discrimination by word, act or demeanour on the grounds of race, colour, religion, belief, nationality, marital status, gender, age, sexual orientation, criminal record, disability or trade union activity unless the discrimination is lawful and justified within the relevant legislation.
Complaints of unfair discrimination will be treated seriously and action will be taken against individuals, or groups whose behaviour is shown to be against this policy. This may result in action being taken under the relevant College Disciplinary Procedure.
To ensure that the College's commitment is implemented, the College will pursue the achievement of the following principle objectives:-
- To ensure that no learner, customer, employee, Governor, visitor or member of the public experience discrimination on the above grounds.
- To ensure that, when decisions are made regarding an individual (including assessment) the only personal characteristics taken into account will be those which, as well as being consistent with relevant legislation, are necessary for the proper performance of the work or on the course in question.
- To create an accessible institution and extend opportunities in education, training and employment to those groups identified as under-represented or under-achieving in employment, further and higher education.
- To encourage and promote positive attitudes towards Equality of Opportunity throughout the College and ensure that it is central to the efficiency and development of the institution as an employer and as a provider of education and training.
The College believes that all members of the College community comprising Governors, employees and learners have a responsibility to ensure that the College's commitment to equal opportunities is upheld. With this in mind, the following groups have the responsibility indicated:-
- The Governors will ensure that the overall educational character and direction of the College’s activities, programmes and employment policies reflect the College’s commitment to equality of opportunity.
- The College Senior Management Team will ensure that this policy is implemented and will monitor activities to ensure that it operates effectively.
- An Equal Opportunities Committee will be established with a Constitution that includes representatives of the learner body, managers, employees and others with an interest in equal opportunities such as trade union representatives. It will have a particular brief to monitor the operation of this policy and to promote equality of opportunity throughout the College. It will be chaired by the Principal or the relevant member of the SMT and accountable to the Senior Management Team.
- College employees will each have a responsibility to act in accordance with this policy and training will reinforce this.
- College learners will each have a responsibility to act in accordance with this policy and this will be reinforced in the Learners Handbook, in induction, in tutorials, in the learners learning agreement with the College and in the College Charter.
5.0 IMPLEMENTATION PRINCIPLES
Although a whole College approach will apply to equality of opportunity, the following individual areas of work and activity each justify a particular approach:-
- Teaching and Learning
- Business Development and other provision
- Support to Learners
- Employment Policies
5.1 Teaching and Learning
In order to ensure equality of opportunity takes place within Teaching and Learning the College will undertake to:-
- Operate admissions and assessment arrangements that will offer information, guidance and assessment taking into account the particular needs of individual learners. In particular, take into account the full range of study options and facilities available when informing learners of their potential learning programmes.
- Offer an Accreditation of Prior Learning service where appropriate including recognition of qualifications from other countries.
- Ensure that those involved in recruitment, assessment, enrolment and teaching programmes guard against pre-conceived expectations of different age groups, religions, beliefs, ethnic backgrounds, disability, gender and sexual orientation.
- Encourage the integration of different groups where mutually beneficial.
- Ensure that tutors acknowledge that applicants may have family commitments and provide, where necessary, a flexible programme of study within existing and proposed courses/programmes.
- Provide outreach/off-site facilities where appropriate and take account of the potential of online teaching and learning.
- Provide support systems to all learners taking into account their particular needs and learning styles.
- Regularly review teaching and learning materials and activities to ensure they portray positive images and concepts which are consistent with this policy.
- Ensure that the learning environment is sensitive to the needs of all groups and individuals.
- Ensure those prospective learners with learning difficulties or disabilities are given an opportunity to visit the College so that they can make an independent decision as to whether the environment is suitable.
- Undertake to provide support and guidance about alternative provision where the College is unable to meet the needs of prospective learners.
- Work towards improving access to all parts of the College and ensure teaching and learning resources are available for all learners. Seek to provide an inclusive learning environment for all learners.
- Identify language barriers and offer support.
- Provide for learners from all cultural backgrounds guidance on the full range of study options available and access to all courses from which they will benefit in relation to their prior knowledge and achievements.
- Provide a differentiated curriculum which meets the individual needs of learners within a group on all courses of study.
5.2 Business Development Marketing and other Provisions
In order to ensure equality of opportunity takes place within its Business Development, Marketing and other provisions, the College will undertake to:-
- Ensure that the provisions related to teaching and learning as set out above are reflected in the generation of new business.
- Encourage organisations for whom the College is providing services to operate within the provisions of this policy, so far as is reasonably practicable.
- Respond to and encourage activities that are culturally diverse.
- Encourage local community groups to make use of College facilities and expertise and forge closer links with members of local communities.
- Ensure that publicity material is consistent with the principles of this policy
5.3 Support to Learners
In order to ensure equality of opportunity takes place within its support to learners, the College will undertake to:-
- Provide an effective information, advice and guidance service that acknowledges the needs of individual learners including possible language differences.
- Provide an equitable and transparent system of financial support.
- Provide and publicise child-care facilities and structure them to the needs of learners.
- Provide facilities for a learner union that responds to the needs of all learners.
- Seek to ensure that all learners’ social activities support the philosophy of equality of opportunity.
- Provide an enrichment programme for learners that reflects their needs.
- Provide an effective system of tutorial support for learners that reflects their personal and academic needs.
- Provide a sensitive framework for dealing fairly with inadequate learner academic performance
- Provide catering/refreshment facilities that acknowledge the needs (including dietary needs) of learners and the flexibility of their attendance, so far as this is practicable.
- Ensure that the College’s counselling arrangements for learners reflect the individual needs of learners.
- Provide appropriate support and facilities for learners with learning disabilities.
- Ensure that the needs of learners with disabilities are resolved, so far as is reasonably practicable.
- Provide appropriate support for learners whose first language is not English.
- Ensure that learners understand the Equality of Opportunity policy.
- Ensure that an effective system is in place to progress and monitor complaints from learners, potential learners and other customers and visitors.
5.4 Employment Policies
In order to ensure equality of opportunity takes place within its Employment Policies the College will undertake to:-
- Provide effective and fair employment policies that meet the demands of legislation and comply with the principles and spirit of this policy.
- Provide training and staff development opportunities for employees in the operation of these policies and specifically in terms of this Equality of Opportunity policy.
- Ensure that the employment policies of the College reflect the personal and family circumstances of individuals, so far as this is reasonably practicable.
- Analyse the College’s staffing profile to ensure consistency with this policy. Monitor the impact of recruitment and selection activity in terms of any of the grounds referred to in this policy.
- Develop a policy to deal with issues related to the harassment of staff.
- Provide an effective arrangement for dealing with the occupational health needs of staff including stress management.
- Ensure effective and sensitive staff disciplinary and grievance arrangements are in place.
- Take whatever action is necessary, within the consultative and negotiating process, to ensure that terms and conditions of employment are not unfairly discriminatory and are in accordance with this Policy.
- Ensure that implementation of terms and conditions of employment and the resultant working arrangements will be applied fairly to all employees.
- Review, on a regular basis, its employment policies and procedures to ensure that they are consistent with this Equality of Opportunity Policy.
- ch policies and procedures will be revised and developed, as necessary.
- Recognise that training and development are an important factor leading to equality of opportunity at work. Where training needs are identified that are appropriate to the employee’s work and/or the business needs of the College, development opportunities and solutions will be sought. No employee will receive less favourable treatment with regard to training or development on any of the grounds identified within this policy.
- Regularly review its criteria and processes for training and development opportunities (e.g. staff development scheme) to ensure that they do not directly or indirectly discriminate against employees.
- Ensure that equal opportunities will be part of the induction for all new staff.
6.0 THE QUALITY SYSTEM
The operation of this policy will have the following implications for the College’s quality system:-
6.1 Service standards should reflect the spirit and content of the Equality of Opportunity Policy.
6.2 The quality assurance arrangements will need to reflect the Equality of Opportunity Policy.
6.3 The policy will influence the contents of the Staff Development Programme.
7.0 MONITORING, EVALUATION AND REVIEW
7.1 The success of any policy depends on the degree of commitment of all employees. In order to measure the effectiveness of its Equality of Opportunity Policy, the College will ensure that relevant data is collected and analysed.
7.2 In addition to the monitoring detailed earlier, the College will ensure that an effective MIS is in place to monitor and evaluate learner take up of programmes and the extent to which programmes are meeting individual and group needs.
7.3 The Equal Opportunities Committee and the Senior Management Team will receive regular reports on the learner and employee profile of the College to provide them with an overview of equal opportunity issues. This information will include :-
- The composition of the College learner and employee numbers
- Job applications, including those shortlisted and appointed
- Staff Promotions/Turnover
- Learner applications by gender and ethnic minority
- Participation in training and development opportunities and the effectiveness of that training
- Disciplinary, Complaints and Grievance numbers
- Retention and Achievement Targets to give appropriate focus to the needs of particular groups of learners who have been identified as a priority.
7.4 These reports will also be presented to the Joint Negotiating Committee, involving trade union and management representatives, and the Learner Consultative Committee, for consideration.
7.5 The Equal Opportunities Committee will make recommendations to the Senior Management Team, as appropriate, concerning equality of opportunity policy and practice.
7.6 The Senior Management Team will instigate any necessary action to address issues arising from the analysis of such information.
7.7 The policy itself will be the subject of annual review.