What’s ATL’s Position?
ATL believes in:
- An education for all - Protected characteristics or economic disadvantage should not present barriers to education, attainment or inclusion.
- A diverse workforce - An education sector that is truly reflective of society and staff that represent their student population.
- An inclusive curriculum - Equality, diversity and inclusion should be embedded across the curriculum. The curriculum should reflect the diversity of teachers, students and the communities they teach in.
- Classrooms free from discrimination - Enabling every teacher and student to reach their full potential free from prejudice regardless of their race, faith, age, disability, sexual orientation or gender.
- A whole school approach –Equality, diversity and inclusion are collective responsibilities. It takes a commitment from the entire community to create an inclusive environment.
- Beyond tolerance – Tolerance is limited. Respect, acceptance and appreciation are positive values to aspire to.
What does it mean?
Equality is not about treating everybody the same; treating someone fairly can mean considering their individual circumstances so that they have the same access to opportunities as everybody else and help close the gaps between people with and without protected characteristics.
Giving everybody the same does not put everybody on a level footing, making sure everyone starts from the same place does. This is equality in practice, levelling the playing field so everybody has access to the same opportunities and a continued support for those who need it.
Diversity is the mix of different people. Diversity recognises, respects and values individual and group differences to ensure everybody’s needs and requirements are met. Diversity aims to create an inclusive culture for all. Embracing and celebrating difference goes beyond tolerance and puts a positive value on diversity.
Inclusion If diversity is the mixing of different people, inclusion is getting the mix of people to work well together. Inclusion is not just different people sharing the same learning space, it means everyone is part of it. True inclusion builds enduring and respectful relationships across different cultures and creates shared values and beliefs that connect people.
Inclusion has the potential to stop discrimination, eradicate prejudice and equip students and teachers with the skills to build cohesive communities in and out of the classroom.
Why is it important?
Everyone should have the same access to opportunities. Having a protected characteristic should never be a barrier to participation, representation or career progression.
Equality, diversity and inclusion lead to more innovation, more opportunities for everyone, better teachers and happier classrooms. Working with people from different backgrounds and with different experiences promotes a culture of questioning, knowledge, respect, and acceptance.
Equality, diversity and inclusion enhances learning environments, heightens learning experiences and allows learners to develop their own identities and sense of place in the world. In short, equality, diversity and inclusion help us to remain relevant and dynamic.
ATL’s commitment to equality means always considering diversity when we develop policy, programme CPD or build campaigns. Considering how we can prevent discrimination, promote equality or enable inclusion helps us to build diversity into our work.
ATL works with a range of best practice organisations to raise awareness about equality issues, promote opportunity for all and build inclusive learning environments, ensuring we continue to lead the way on equality, diversity and inclusion issues affecting teachers and students.
What can you do?
Policy Network Groups
One of the purposes of the network is to help us evaluate educational policies and initiatives in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland with regard to their impact on equalities issues. Based on our members' experiences, the network will also identify any gaps between policies designed to promote equality, dignity, fairness and justice and their implementation in practice, and suggest areas for development of union activity.
The network also encourages members to broaden their knowledge of equalities issues, respond to surveys and get involved with ATL's campaigning on equalities issues. If you would like to find out more, to join the network or to get involved in any of ATL's equalities campaigns, please email ATL equality.
If you would like to help shape ATL's equality policy please contact ATL researcher Monique Lowe.