The School of the Sword is committed to the provision of equality for all, valuing diversity across all the dimensions of difference. This is set out in the School’s Equality and Diversity Policy Statement.
In the furtherance of this objective, the School has developed this Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy including procedures to be followed in implementing them, to ensure everyone who studies and teaches here does so free of discrimination.
This document was first produced in 2018. Copies were circulated to all staff and also made available to students via email and the school website.
Vision, Aim and Approach
We are a Martial Arts School that is proactively committed to creating a safe, stimulating teaching and learning environment that values diversity, fairness, mutual respect and inclusion. We are dedicated to realising the potential of our staff, students and local community we believe that diversity enriches our individual and collective experience, performance and achievement.
Our aim is to:
- Develop diversity and inclusion as a widely recognised area of competitive strength.
- Effectively integrate and mainstream diversity and equality into policies, academic curriculum, teaching delivery, assessment methods, learning environment and management practice.
- Continue to be at the forefront of the access and widening participation agenda.
- Create an inclusive environment where differences are celebrated and everyone is valued and respected.
The drive and commitment to diversity and equality at the School will ensure that:
- We are adequately equipped to meet the diverse needs and aspirations of staff, students and wider community.
- We create an inclusive environment that promotes dignity in class and mutual respect.
- We set the standard within the HEMA community and are recognised as an example of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) good practice.
The School is committed to equality of opportunity. Equality of opportunity means working to ensure that no student or member of staff receives less favourable treatment on the basis of their ‘protected characteristics’. This means on the grounds of age; disability; gender reassignment; marriage and civil partnership; pregnancy and maternity; race; religion or belief (or no belief); sex; sexual orientation.
In complying with the Equality Act 2010, the School will:
- Promote good relations among its staff and students and will create conditions which contribute to the full development and potential of everyone.
- Create a climate where staff and students are given confidence to challenge acts and behaviour which contravene the School’s Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Policy and the law.
- Treat fairly and appropriately each applicant, assessment, progression or promotion decisions at the School.
- Equality is about creating a fairer society where everyone can participate and has the same opportunity to fulfil their potential. Equality is backed by legislation designed to address unfair discrimination based on membership of a particular protected group.
- Diversity comprises of a mosaic of people from all walks of life, who bring a variety of backgrounds, styles, perspectives, values and beliefs as assets to all those with whom they interact.
- Inclusion is the complete acceptance and integration of all students and employees regardless of diversity background that proactively leads to a sense of belonging, engagement and full participation within and across the School.
The majority of the Equality Act provisions became law in October 2010. It replaces previous
legislation (such as the Race Relations Act 1976 and the Disability Discrimination Act 1995) and ensures consistency in what public sector organisations need to do to make the workplace a fair environment and to comply with the law.
The Act is intended to simplify, strengthen and harmonise the current legislation and to provide the UK with a new discrimination law that protects individuals from unfair treatment and promotes a fair and more equal society.
The Act streamlines discrimination law, making it easier for people to understand their rights and responsibilities. In addition, the Act contains wide positive action provisions which offer special encouragement to those from disproportionately under-represented or otherwise disadvantaged groups.
The nine main pieces of legislation that have merged are:
- 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
- the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007
The protected characteristics are age; disability; gender reassignment; marriage and civil partnership; pregnancy and maternity; race; religion or belief (or no belief); sex; or sexual orientation.
Other Key Provisions of the Equality Act
- Eliminate discrimination, harassment and victimisation
- Advance equality of opportunity
- Foster good relations
Positive Action provisions also permit the School to take proportionate action to overcome disadvantage, meet needs and tackle under-representation.
We have adopted a comprehensive approach that seeks to embed equality, value the multiple dimensions of diversity and mainstream inclusion. This means that we are committed to ensuring that this agenda is fundamental to the development and delivery of our policies and effectively integrated into the very fabric of our practice.
Leadership and Management
The School’s Board will set the pace providing leadership at all levels to champion equality, diversity and inclusion, monitor progress against planned activities and respond effectively to the School’s statutory requirements and legal obligations.
Access and Inclusive Learning
The School will provide an accessible environment for people with disabilities and from different cultures to study. Applications from groups currently under-represented in HEMA will be positively encouraged.
Staff Development and Training
Equality, diversity and inclusion training in relation to legislation, employment, leadership, the student experience; cultural competence and how to put equality and the core principles of diversity into practice will be provided for all instructors.
In accordance with the Equality Act, positive action may be used as a vehicle to address under-representation. All instructors will be given access to staff development, and where appropriate additional development, to enable them to fulfil their potential and to progress within the School.
Curriculum and Skills Development
The School will promote understanding, pay due regard and respect for all cultures
The Student Experience
The School is committed to:
- Ensuring and promoting equality through teaching and learning, and also in the enrolment, assessment and progression of students.
- Providing appropriate student support and guidance which reflects the diversity of students’ needs.
This means that no student will receive less favourable treatment on the basis of their protected characteristics. Support and guidance for students will be linked to their particular needs. It also means the School aims to promote equal respect for all people in a multicultural and diverse society.
Publicity and Promotions Policies
The School seeks to ensure that publicity and promotion practices encourage applicants from under-represented groups. There is careful scrutiny of publicity and promotion materials and marketing related activities to ensure that brochures, advertisements, applications forms and display materials reflect the diversity of students at the School.
This means materials do not contain socially, racially biased or stereotypical terminology, information or illustrations which contravene this policy. It also includes a proactive approach towards marketing to under-represented groups which is designed to enhance the overall image of the School as an institution with a determination to reflect and implement its EDI commitment. Publicity and promotion of the School may include:
- Placing advertisements in non-traditional outlets.
- Establishing links with the publicity networks of local community groups and other organisations.
- Providing detailed information about the range of opportunities open to mature people.
- Undertaking monitoring exercises on the above to determine the most effective means of contacting people from under-represented groups.
Access and Educational Opportunities for Under-Represented Groups
The School is committed to working towards providing additional training opportunities for under-represented groups. Methods to achieve this aim may include the following:
- An increase in the number of courses designed to be particularly attractive for these groups, taking advantage wherever possible of any external funding available and working closely with local and national bodies, which seek to extend educational opportunities for under-represented groups.
Delivering an Inclusive Environment
The School will provide an inclusive environment that promotes equality of opportunity and diversity and is free from unlawful discrimination, harassment or victimisation of any kind. This also includes bullying, harassment and unlawful behaviours towards trans students and staff (transphobia) and/or bisexual staff or students (biphobia).
All staff (including external instructors ), students and other users of the School services will be made aware of behaviour which amounts to discrimination, harassment or victimisation and that such behaviours may result in disciplinary action and/or amount to a criminal offence.
The School will do this by:
- Taking appropriate action against any student or member of staff who does not comply with the policy. The School has engaged in disciplinary action against both staff and students who have breached the School’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy and in some cases this has led to permanent removal from the School.
- Ensuring promotional materials present appropriate and positive images relating to all the dimensions of diversity and equality.
Striving to challenge behaviour which does not accord with the School’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy. Considering appropriate measures to overcome under- representation.
- Responding positively and competently when issues relating to equality, diversity and inclusion are discussed. Ensuring that all students and staff know how to raise complaints and that the School provides a timely and sensitive response.
If a member of staff or a student believes that they have been discriminated against, they should seek the advice of a mentor or a senior student or instructor.
Responsibilities for Equality and Diversity
It is unlawful for anybody to discriminate on the grounds of age; disability; gender reassignment; marriage and civil partnership; pregnancy and maternity; race; religion or belief (or no belief); sex; or sexual orientation. This also includes discriminating against trans people (transphobia) and/or bisexuals (biphobia). Responsibilities for approving and monitoring this Policy lie with the Board.
- To ensure that the School fulfils its legal responsibilities.
- To provide adequate scrutiny in monitoring the implementation of the policy and associated action plan.
- The Board will monitor this policy in relation to instructors.
The senior instructors
- To take responsibility for the implementation of the policy.
- To provide active visible leadership on equality, diversity and inclusion.
- To ensure that related aims and objectives of the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy are effectively implemented.
- To ensure that all are aware of their individual and collective responsibility and accountability.
- To exhibit and role model SotS core Values.
- The Equality and Diversity Officer (Master/Mistress of Peace & Justice) is responsible for drawing up an annual action plan and raising staff awareness of their responsibilities under equality, diversity and inclusion legislation.
- Take ownership of equality, diversity and inclusion by implementing the policy and its related action plan.
- To ensure staff understand equality, diversity and inclusion issues and how to report any perceived discrimination or unequal opportunity and that all training and development opportunities are allocated objectively, fairly and without discrimination.
- To practically demonstrate the core principles of equality, diversity and inclusion by treating others with dignity and respect.
- To effectively identify and challenge discriminatory behaviour and attitudes.
- To speak out and report if they witness or are a victim of any form of discrimination, bullying, unfair treatment or harassment.
- To maintain an awareness of equality legislation by attending staff development programmes.
- To exhibit SotS’s core Values.
- To actively participate and contribute to creating an inclusive learning environment that values difference.
- To ensure that equality and diversity is effectively integrated into the practice of teaching, research and class delivery.
- To speak out, or report it, if they witness or are aware of discrimination, bullying, unfair treatment or harassment and not assume that it is someone else’s responsibility.
- To effectively challenge any form of discrimination.
- To take equal responsibility in ensuring that we create a learning environment where people are valued and respected.
- To express opinions constructively with sensitivity and respect.
- External instructors working in School premises are expected to act within the requirements of the law and the terms of the School’s Equality and Diversity and Inclusion Policy.
Protected Characteristics Definitions
Where this is referred to, it refers to a person belonging to a particular age or range of ages
A person has a disability if s/he has a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on that person’s disability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. This has extended to cover people who have had a disability in the past.
The process of transitioning from one gender to another. The definition of gender re- assignment has been extended to cover people who have proposed, started or completed a process to change their sex, but are not under medical supervision.
Marriage and civil partnership
Marriage is defined as a ‘union between a man and a woman’. Same-sex couples can have their relationships legally recognised as ‘civil partnerships’. Civil partners must be treated the same as married couples on a wide range of legal matters.
Pregnancy and maternity
Pregnancy is the condition of being pregnant or expecting a baby. Maternity refers to the period after the birth and is linked to maternity leave in the employment context. In the non- work context, protection against maternity discrimination is for six months after giving birth, and this includes treating a woman unfavourably because she is breastfeeding. After six months a breastfeeding mother is protected through the sex discrimination provisions in the Equality Act.
Refers to a group of people defined by their race, colour, and nationality (including citizenship), ethnic or national origins.
Religion and Belief
Religion has the meaning usually given to it but belief includes religious and philosophical beliefs including lack of belief (e.g. Atheism). Generally, a belief should affect life choices or the way a person lives for it to be included in the definition.
A man or a woman.
Whether a person’s sexual attraction is towards their own sex, the opposite sex or to both sexes.