Discrimination and Equality Learning Environment

Table of Content

This assignment will research a range of methods to promote equality and diversity, discussing and analysing the benefit of equality and diversity on individual learners, groups of learners and their learning. The assignment will discuss and evaluate legislation with reference to the further education sector, making reference to employment regulations and codes of practice. There will be a critical analyse on the forms of inequality and discrimination on individuals and communities.

The assignment will research and discuss the promotion of equality and diversity and how it can protect learners from risk of harm. Finally the assignment will review approaches that I have employed relating to my own contribution in promoting equality and valuing diversity in lifelong learning. Methods of equality and diversity Ann Gravels (2012, pp. 53-60) promotes equality and diversity and discusses and analyses the benefits. She describes equality as the right of a student to access, attend and participate in their chosen learning experience, regardless of age, ability and circumstances.

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She describes equality as everyone being different, but having equal rights and diversity as about valuing and respecting the differences in student’s, regardless of age, ability and/or circumstances, or any other characteristics they may have, stating that two or more students creates diversity. She uses many different methods to promote equality and diversity, all to protect the learner. Her methods include using embracing, embedding and advancing all aspects of equality and diversity, and using pictures in hand-outs and on presentations that reflect different abilities, ages, cultures, genders and races.

She recommends organising the learning environment to enable ease of access around obstacles; this would help both abled and disabled students. She incorporates activities based around equality and diversity and the communities within which the students live and work, to help students become more understanding and tolerant of each other. Gravells said inclusive learning is about involving all students, treating fairly and equally, without directly or indirectly excluding anyone. She states that the teacher should promote a positive culture of equality of pportunity within sessions where students can attend, participate, feel safe and feel valued. Gravells says that using student’s names, eye contact and speaking personally promotes inclusion. She states six ways of promoting inclusion; identifying needs, planning learning, facilitating learning, assessing learning and quality assurance and evaluation. Bannermn (2010) says that embedding equality and diversity into everyday practice in further education and work-based learning provision has never been more important.

She says that it is becoming a requirement, and the consequences of not embracing equality and diversity can result in damaging litigation and/or a Skills Funding Agency notice to improve, as a result of an Ofsted inspection judgement of ‘inadequate’ for the overall effectiveness of provision. Bannermn highlights an issue with regards to equality in the employment of staff within the further education sector. There are issues of gender discrimination, for example women not being paid the same as men. There are issues of recruiting disabled teachers, only 2. 7% were disabled teachers with 14. 4% disabled learners.

The methods she uses to promote equality and diversity is; fair recruitment and selection of staff, training, development and promotion opportunities are open to all staff, course entry requirements are fair and inclusive, learners or staff with disabilities have the same access to work and learning as non-disabled learners and staff, a sensitive response to the religious needs of staff and learners, concerns, complaints and grievances can be expressed and addressed without fear of reprisal, data about engagement, performance, progression and attainment of learners and staff can be analysed by different protected characteristics to identify and address variation between different groups and finally new and existing policies and procedures undergo equality analysis to determine whether there are any unintended consequences for some groups and whether the policy are fully effective for all target groups. Some of these methods do contradict the employment of staff statistics especially with regards to disabled teachers, unless, of course, disabled people do not want to teach. Legislation in the further education sector

A teacher must be familiar with legislation in order to teach. As a teacher of further education you may be teaching young people under the age of 18 years. A child generally means every human being below the age of eighteen years and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) is a universally agreed set of non-negotiable standards and obligations providing protection and support for the rights of children. As part of the United Nations (UN), the United Kingdom conforms by law to conventions and must adhere to the legislative requirements of the UN. The charter states that every child has a right to education on the basis of equality (UN General Assembly CRC, 1989, Article 28).

This includes; making higher education accessible to all on the basis of capacity by every appropriate means, making educational and vocational information and guidance available and accessible to all children, taking appropriate measures to ensure that school discipline is administered in a manner consistent with the child’s human dignity and in conformity with the present convention, promoting and encouraging international cooperation in matters relating to education, in particular with a view to contributing to the elimination of ignorance and illiteracy throughout the world and facilitating access to scientific and technical knowledge and modern teaching methods.

As a teacher of higher education, you need to consider the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UNUDHR) (UN General Assembly UDHR, 1948, Article 26) which states technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit. It is on this basis that I question the inequality issues surrounding university fees, and in my opinion do not make higher education equally accessible to all based on merit. The Equality Act (HM Government, 2010) is legislation designed to ensure everyone is proactive in all aspects of equality and diversity, protecting nine characteristics; age, disability, gender, gender identity, race, religion and belief, sexual orientation, marriage and civil partnership and maternity and pregnancy.

Chapter 2 focusses on further and higher education and states responsible bodies of institutions must not discriminate on the grounds of enrolment, education, access, disabilities, victimisation, facilities and harassment. Everyone is to be treated equally and reasonable actions are to be taken to provide an adequate teaching environment for disabled learners. Many authors and publishers writing about equality and discrimination, including Gravels (2012), base their facts and theories around the Equality Act. Forms of inequality and discrimination Inequality and discrimination on individuals and communities can be found on the policies of the university fees in United Kingdom.

As previously stated, the UNUDHR article 26 says that higher education should be equally accessible to all based on merit, and the Equality Act (HM Government, 2010, p. 0) states that the responsible body of such an institution must not discriminate against a student in the way it provides education for the student and by subjecting the student to any other detriment. It is with regards to this that in my personal opinion, we as a nation, are contravening inequality, due to costs being the main factor of students attending university and not merit, as well as discriminating against English students. The BBC News website (2012) lists fees for universities and the majority are charging ? 8-9000 per term, however, universities in Northern Ireland remain at ? 3500, Welsh students are subsidised, Scottish are free (The Scottish Government, 2012) and students from EU countries pay the same as Northern Ireland students.

If an English student goes to Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales, they will be charged the full fees of up to ? 9000, this appears to be a gross misconduct of equality. The fees increase will have an effect on people in poverty, ? 27,000 over 3 years is a lot of money for poorer families, who may be cautious about taking on such a debt. Although families in hardship can get help, it may be the average income family that may struggle with debt. This is a diversity issue against English students, who are disadvantaged compared to EU non-UK, Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland students. So is higher education based on merit or is it about money, this contradicts the UNUDHR. On a personal issue, I helped a young person to gain entry to a University.

Although his background is working class, he is one of four siblings and his family struggle to cope with living standards, but as his Father earns a low but reasonable amount of money, this young person has to take on the University fee debt. He pays ? 9000 for tuition fees and has to cope with very little money to provide him with food and shelter, but he is coping. He had the opportunity in participating in a work placement in America, I had written a positive reference, and due to his hard work and experiences he was successful. What the authorities failed to tell the young person was the fact he would have to pay for the whole trip, including food and flights, which was to cost about ? 1500.

Unfortunately him, or his family could not afford this, so he has had to cancel, as a result, someone with the money will go. This is another example where on merit he deserved the opportunity to learn in a different environment, but due to inequalities, and the fact money wins, he loses, which contravenes UNUDHR legislation. He was terribly upset about the whole situation. According to the University and College Union (UCU), members are seeing their equality and employment rights being eroded (2013). They say that the lowest paid and unemployed are being used as ‘scapegoats’, and as they may be in receipt of state benefits there is a society of ‘skivers’ and ‘strivers’.

The UCU also stress their concerns at the rise of political parties, including UKIP, EDL and BNP, stating their misleading positions on immigration, leading to racism and discrimination, which occurs during times of high unemployment. The effect of underachievers and people not in employment, education or training (NEET) on the economy can be expensive, with campaigns, violence and the cost of support. To address situations like this and many others, colleges and universities promote equality, diversity and inclusion. Promotion of equality and diversity to protect In order to promote equality and diversity, The Equality Act (HM Government, 2010, p. 25) protects learners from harm by legislation; teachers must implement the policy.

The Act protects learners from; age disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religious or belief-related, sex and sexual orientation discriminations. The Equality Act also lists other prohibited conducts including harassment and victimisation. Alden et al (2011) gives an approach to being pro-active, which in some ways will protect learners from harm, including some of the acts that the Equality Act (HM Government, 2010, p. 25) lists. Alden et al states that careful thought needs to be underpinned about these concepts, and is dependent on the training situation, what is for sure is that all students are treated as fairly and equally as possible. The Learning and Skills Improvement Service (LSIS) (2010) list ten pedagogy approaches to equality and diversity.

LSIS state that co-operative learning values people’s contributions and can help to promote cross-cultural learning. Experiential learning involves the use of role play, videos and case studies so learners experience facing barriers or encountering discrimination, which can allow reflection and promote emotional responses. Differentiation is important so all diverse backgrounds of learners are valued, including culture and learning disabilities. For learners to reflect on their own learning experiences they can be encouraged to relate theory and practice. Assessment for learning allows reflection for learning and highlights areas for development. Using e-learning and technology can be effective.

Multimedia may include digital cameras, mp3 recorders, and electronic whiteboards which provide alternative methods for sharing and presenting information in an accessible way. The internet can open learning using blogs, advice groups, videos, case studies and materials. Learning conversations teaches participants to use different speaking and listening skills and can foster mutual respect by using reflection. Multi-sensory learning, using sight, hearing and touching, will suit a wider audience of learners. Lessons should include using pictures and real objects, use different voices from the group, and use videos and audio materials. Modelling by using positive use of non-verbal communication, active listening skills and challenging inappropriate behaviour, and promotes inclusivity.

Embedding Language, Literacy and Numeracy (LLN) will help prevent stigmatisation, and allow the teacher to implement coping strategies, especially for additional needs. The impact of the Equality Framework was measured by Lifelong Learning UK (2011), feedback was reviewed from a number of providers. They stated that the Equality Framework had a positive impact in the short term; increasing motivation, confidence and competence and encouraging ambition and the search for continuous improvements in the promotion of equality and diversity and inclusion strategies. They said The Equality Framework has proved that it has provided the further education sector with a holistic approach to equality and diversity that retains provider identity and ownership and encourages creativity in devising local solutions.

Otley College (Easton & Otley College, 2013) implements an equality, diversity and inclusion policy, which they state, drives the College to comply with anti-discrimination legislation as well as emphasising the positive benefits of diversity such as drawing on a wider pool of talent, positively motivating all employees and learners and meeting the needs of a wider customer base. All of their adverts, job descriptions and person specifications are checked to ensure they are free of any discriminatory criteria; that criteria is relevant and attracts a diverse set of applicants. Otley College (Easton & Otley College, 2013) also have a safeguarding policy to promote the safety of learners. They state that staff, Governors and volunteers are vetted and trained on recruitment. They say students have a right and should feel safe from; neglect, emotional abuse, physical abuse, domestic abuse/violence, sexual abuse and bullying.

In line with current issues they talk about cyber-bullying, using phones, email or internet. They give the name of internal staff members and external organisations for students to contact, should they need someone to talk to. The future on safeguarding is about to change, revised safeguarding guidance for professionals working with children (Department for Education, 2013) is to come into effect on 15th April 2013 after an impact study assessment. Criminal Record Bureau (CRB) checks have been replaced by the Disclosure Barring Service (DBS), whose primary role is to help employers make safer recruitment decisions and prevent unsuitable people from working with vulnerable groups including children (Home Office, 2012).

The DBS was established under the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 and merges the functions previously carried out by the CRB and Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA). With regards to information, Otley College (Easton & Otley College, 2013) has many different methods for communicating, including; website, mobile app, brochures, maps, TV, blogs, social network sites, email, telephone and mail. Many other colleges across the UK use similar types of communication methods for their information. By using all these different methods of communication, this allows learners to; apply for college, apply for information, get support, get information, get information on courses and read policies and procedures.

Careers Education and Information, Advice and Guidance (CE/IAG) is another service designed to help students before the end of compulsory school, to allow them to make suitable educational and employment decisions (Department for Education, 2013). Young people can obtain CE/IAG from their family, school, or Connexions services. My contribution to equality and diversity In my role as a Royal Air Force instructor, equality is particularly a major part of my role as a teacher. In a period of troubles in the Middle East it would be easy to blame Muslims for attacks and bombings. This could not be further from the truth and it is up to me, as a teacher, to promote good practice and explain that religion, culture or nationality has nothing to do with terrorism, it is simply people doing wrong.

I often promote my lessons with discussions of positive occasions in Middle Eastern countries, including the recent bravery of a young Muslim girl who stood up to the Taliban, the fact that Iraq is now quiet, democratic and rebuilding a strong and free society and the great work being done in Afghanistan with new schools and infrastructure. The approaches I take when promoting equality and diversity in lifelong learning are unusual, as I often lead and teach mountaineering. In my role as a mountain leader, I take groups with different abilities into the mountains. I ensure the whole group is included, by keeping a pace which is not too slow for the advanced group and not too fast for the learners. The faster students will be allowed to progress but are under strict instructions to wait at a pre-determined point.

I would lead from the back, to keep the slower walkers motivated, and in this position I have eyes on the entire group, for safety. To facilitate the learning I will ask different students, during the activity, to lead parts of the route. If a student is unsure about any skills, then I take time to teach at that point, ensuring others are still occupied. I will constantly ask questions on-route, assess each individual and discuss how they progress on to more advanced techniques, to prepare for mountain leadership. To address quality assurance and evaluation I will talk to the group about the activity, and evaluate the whole process. The students send me a report on the day’s activity and I produce a post report, looking for ways to improve.

In the classroom I will use different methods throughout the lesson, including briefings (audio), use of maps and compasses (kinaesthetic) and books (visual). Although I primarily take RAF personnel, if I was practicing in a civilian role I may have to look at easy tracks that wheelchair users could use, look at safety for visually and hearing impaired students, adjusting routes and teaching methods accordingly, to include the whole group. Conclusion In conclusion the assignment looked at a range of methods by Gravels and Bannermn in promoting equality and diversity, Gravels plays safe by quoting many facts similar to the Equality Act whilst Bannermn suggests there are issues in equality and diversity by quoting statistical information.

Both analyse the benefits and give many examples of good practice. The assignment discusses and evaluates legislation with regards to further education quoting from UNCRC and UNUDHR. The UNCRC discusses law and how every child has a right to education taking into account dignity, ignorance and illiteracy, as well as scientific and technical knowledge and modern teaching methods. The UNUDHR discusses the rights of humans being able to access both technical and professional education should be available on merit. The Equality Act states nine characteristics of people that need to be protected; these characteristics are quoted many times in various forms by other authors, including Gravels.

There is a critical analysis on inequality and discrimination using the quote from UNUDHR and the access to education on merit. The inequality is English students, who have to pay far more than their Scottish, Welsh and Irish counterparts and the discrimination seems to be the fact it is only English students who are penalised, compared to other countries, both in the United Kingdom and the European Union. There is also a personal account of how a young person struggling in University, gained a placement on merit but was unable to afford the placement to America, another inequality. There are concerns by the UCU on the erosion of equality due to high unemployment.

The assignment discusses the promotion of equality and diversity and how it protects learners from harm, by adhering to the Equality Act using nine characteristics as well as the two prohibited conducts; harassment and victimisation. It talks about promoting characteristics and challenging discrimination, although Alden et al says that we have to be careful as it depends on the training situation. The LSIS list ten pedagogy approaches that help and protect learners from discrimination and to aid learning and Lifelong Learning UK measures the impact of the Equality Framework using feedback from providers, stating we are getting it right. Otley College is used as a ‘typical’ college with all the different forms of communication and policies. There is a discussion on the importance of safeguarding and the implementation of DBS.

The final part to the conclusion is how I have reviewed approaches to equality and diversity, I discuss my role as a professional Royal Air Force teacher and how I am sensitive to culture, especially in the recent Middle Eastern campaigns where it remains paramount that blame to culture is not apportioned. I also discuss my current teaching role, a mountain leader, and the framework I use for groups of learners, and how this may change when I leave the Royal Air Force.


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