At Okehampton College, we believe in promoting equality, valuing diversity, and working inclusively. We adhere to the Equality Act 2010 by not discriminating against students, staff, volunteers or anyone else who works with or is involved with the school. And we do not tolerate bullying, harassment or victimisation of any kind. We are vehement in our determination to uphold the law, as defined by the Equality Act 2010 — which places both general and specific duties upon all public bodies, including schools and academies— and ensure that there is no discrimination against anyone because of the following 'protected characteristics', and moreover that there is no discrimination against anyone who is associated with someone who has a protected characteristic (for example, a family member or friend):
Being married or in a civil partnership.
Being pregnant or on maternity leave.
Race including colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin.
Religion or belief.
Our Equalities Audit
Our Equalities Audit was undertaken in 2018, further to the latest update to the Equality Act 2010, and is under constant review (the latest update will follow and be published here shortly). Our staff receive Equalities, Diversity and Inclusion Training and we positively and proactively promote the nine protective characteristics -- adopting an unashamedly zero tolerance approach against homophobic, racist, or mysoginistic actions. We encourage all members of our community to report any such actions, and support anyone who does so, i.e., anyone who complains about discrimination or who has supported someone else’s claim.
Diversity in the College
We have a relatively low number of Black and ethnic minority students (BME) attending the College, and students with English as an Additional Language (EAL). The proportion of our students from minority ethnic backgrounds is significantly lower than for secondary schools across the country, with 92% of our students being of white British origin compared to 68% nationally (and 90% in Devon). We are cognisant and mindful of the community we serve and are committed to fulfilling our duty to reflect 21st Century multicultural Britain. We are supportive of our BME and EAL students and provide opportunities for our students who are of white British origin to experience multiculturalism that they may not otherwise experience. We are also aware that being in a religious, racial or sexual minority can often lead to bullying. One of our four CORE values is ‘Respect’ and to reiterate we take a zero tolerance approach towards racist, sexist, homophobic and disablist language.
Celebrating Diversity with our students
Inclusion underpins our values and those of our Trust, and together we celebrate both that which we have in common and that which makes us different. By promoting equality, diversity and inclusion we create greater opportunities for our students to fulfil their potential, irrespective of their background or circumstances. We are committed to working with our students to drive change and ensure that we create a learning environment that is accessible, reflects the diversity of the modern world, and that provides pathways for all. By raising awareness of all aspects of diversity, of how we can eliminate discrimination, promote equality of opportunity and foster good relations, we are preparing our students to become socially responsible global citizens, and to appreciate and celebrate the diverse society in which we live. As such, we aim to help all students feel included and represented, providing opportunities for students to consider how they treat others who they perceive to be different, by celebrating diversity and inclusion through our curriculum and through the extra curricular opportunities we provide, including:
Assemblies celebrating diversity and inclusion, and communicated our anti-discrimination message.
Student speakers in assemblies.
Tutor time activities to celebrate equality, diversity and inclusion, and communicate our anti-discrimination message.
Parent 'coffee mornings' to celebrate equality, diversity and inclusion, and communicate our anti-discrimination message.
The development of an Ethos calendar of scheduled activities for the academic year.
Celebrating diversity through the school environment and display.
Activism through student groups including our Student Council, Anti-Racism group, and Pride Alliance group.
Student voice activities, including with our LGBT+ student group.
Civic engagement, through participation in events such as Exeter Pride (14 May 2022).
Training for staff.
Embedding Diversity in strategic planning.
Quality assuring our commitment to diversity and inclusion.
With specific regard to racism, we:
Work with a group of students on how best to tackle racism.
Take suggestions from students via Student Council and student voice activities (e.g., Principal's Breakfasts).
Provide opportunities for students to input into staff development.
Work with Devon Development Education on drop down sessions targeted at students in Y8 and Y9.
Develop an anti-racist curriculum.
Provide staff training on how to deal with racist incidents in the classroom.
Apply sanctions where appropriate and provide educative support for any student who has used racist language.
With specific regard to LGBT issues, we:
Are working towards the Rainbow Flag award which promotes LGBT+ inclusion (the first section of our work has been accredited).
Run a Pride Alliance group, set up to support LGBT+ students and to combat homophobic and transphobic bullying. (The group, the first at a secondary school in Devon, has been running for 8 years, and provides social support to LGBT+ students. This work has been recognised by the LGBT+ charity the Intercom Trust as an example of good practice in their publication 'Setting up an LGBTQI+ Straight Ally Alliance Group in an Educational Setting'.)
Support individuals with regards to their sexuality and gender with regular sessions with a worker from the Intercom Trust.
Provide staff training on how to deal with homophobic and transphobic incidents in the classroom.
Apply sanctions where appropriate and provide educative support for any student using homophobic and transphobic language.
Celebrating Diversity through our curriculum
We celebrate diversity and inlcusion in our subject curricula to help all our students feel included and represented in their learning, but also to help our students appreciate the achievements and impact on our own culture and indeed globally had by people with dsabilities, of different ethnic or national origin, with different religion or belief, and with different sexual orientation. For example:
We celebrate diversity through our curriculum in Mathematics by:
Observing the one of the most influential mathematicians of the 19th and early 20th centuries David Hilbert’s statement that ‘mathematics knows no races or geographic boundaries; for mathematics, the cultural world is one country’.
Exposing our students to a diverse group of mathematicians, incuding contemporary mathematicians.
Teaching students about the history of mathematics from classical antiquity via the enlightenment to the modern day.
Challenging the Euro-centric view of mathematical discovery and development.
Teaching students about the Indo–Arabic origins of our numeral system.
Sharing the first systematic solution of linear and quadratic equations by Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi, etc.
We celebrate diversity through our curriculum in Languages by:
Teaching students about the traditions, customs, and cultural aspects of the country of the target language (France or Germany).
Exposing students to traditional music, celebrating ‘zouk’ and French African culture for example, or German rap music — with students hearing contemporary examples, authentic materials.
Comparing and contrasting the French, German and English political and education systems, focussing on the concept of secularism in France, and including the exploration of women in politics, voting, and striking.
Exploring the diversity present in Paris and Berlin.
Teaching vocabulary in the target language to describe LGBTQ+ relationships.
Introducing students to the idea of laws surrounding diversity and equality in France and Germany, for example, civil partnerships in France, and the ‘mariage pour tous’ law.
Considering social issues in France and Germany, and in countries where these languages are spoken, for example, poverty, homelessness, equality of life chances, multiculturalism, and discrimination in French society, including racism, homophobia, transphobia, ageism.
We celebrate diversity through our curriculum in Art by:
Teaching students about the history of Art throughout the curriculum.
Completing a 'Shared Views' project in KS3 that looks in depth at Aboriginal culture and traditions.
Considering issues around race through a 'German Expressionism' project and teaching students about how the trials artists faced influenced their artwork.
Completing a ‘The Day of the Dead’ project around MExican celebration and teaching students how other cultures deal with loss and the traditions they embrace to turn this into a celebration of life.
Completing a ‘Disguise’ project at GCSE about identity and aspirations, addressing issues of gender, the media and self-perception.
Quality Assuring our Provision
We are wholly commited to improving the lives of all the young people that we serve, and ensure that we actively monitor and evaluate our provision through internal processes and processes external to the school. Our internal monitoring and evaluation activities include, for example, gathering feedback and opinion from students through our Anti-Racist group, our Pride Alliance group, through surveys, and through student voice activities, and monitoring school-level data around attendance, behaviour and suspensions, bullying, and achievement. We also actively seek to have our work independently audited, reviewed and assessed, and we are currently working, for example, through a year-long process of self-assessment and ongoing monitoring towards achieving the Rainbow Flag Award, an external quality assurance framework for schools and colleges that focuses on positive LGBT+ inclusion and visibility. The Rainbow Flag Award encourages a whole organisation approach to LGBT+ inclusion, as well as developing strategies to effectively challenge and combat LGBTphobic bullying. This whole organisation approach to LGBT+ inclusion covers 6 key areas: Skilled Teachers, Supportive Governors and Parents, Effective Policies, Inclusive Curricululm, Pastoral Support, and Student Voice. Once we have secured the external validation of our LGBT+ provision, we have planned further activities to embed our commitment to diversity and inclusion, including working to the Diversity Mark framework in education for achieving more inclusive outcomes. This is even more important given the evidence that such issues have exacerbated in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic (for example see Lander et al. 2021, and The Mental Health Foundation 2021).
We strongly encourage anyone to report any incident of discrimination that they may have experienced, witnessed or are aware of. Remember, it is against the law to discriminate against anyone because of the protected characteristics specified above. Moreover, we strongly encourage anyone to inform us if they experience any discrimination in our College so that we may provide support and take action accordingly. Under the Public Sector Equality Duty, we will act if we are aware of the use of racist language or other prejudiced language that targets students or school staff because of a protected characteristic.
If you believe a crime has been committed against someone because of their disability, transgender-identity, race, religion or belief, or sexual orientation, then this should be reported to the police as a hate crime. Hate crimes can be reported online here, or of course, if a hate crime is in progress or if someone is in immediate danger you should call 999.
We have set up an online 'Reporting Discrimination' form for anyone — our students, their parents, or members of the public -- to use to provide us with information about any discrimination they have either personally experienced, witnessed or are aware of. This form will be monitored daily. Otherwise, parents and carers may prefer to contact us using the details provided in the 'Contact Us' section of this website. Any of our students who are experiencing discrimination may prefer to speak directly with a member of staff (Tutor, Head of Year, or member of our Safeguarding team), or contact us via the 'Need to Talk' email address (our safeguarding team will monitor and triage any communications received via this route to ensure appropriate support is provided).