At West Suffolk College everyone has a right to be treated with respect and dignity, learners, staff, visitors or service user. It is our aim to provide an inclusive working and learning environment where everyone in the College community is fully respected and supported.
The College will make sure that you are not treated unfairly for reasons which cannot be legitimately justified. West Suffolk College is proud of and values the contributions made by the rich diversity of all who work and learn here.
This page and the documents within contain information about how equality and diversity is managed at West Suffolk College and how we aim to meet our duties arising under the Equality Act 2010.
Click below to view our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Centre
What is equality?
Equality is about making sure individuals or groups are treated fairly and equally and no less favourably, specific to their needs, including areas of race, gender, disability, religion or belief, sexual orientation and age. By promoting equality, we can remove discrimination in all of these areas. Bullying, harassment and victimisation are also considered as equality and diversity issues.
What is diversity?
This means recognising, valuing and taking account of peoples' different backgrounds, knowledge, skills, needs and experiences – to contribute and realise their full potential by promoting an inclusive culture for all staff and students.
Public Duties and Action Plan
Public Duties and Action Plan
Our intent is to use education as a catalyst for positive social change and prosperity for the community we serve, leaving no one behind, which we intend to do in the following ways:
Leading by example, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) is part of everyday life, rather than a legal requirement.
Building on the benefits of diversity within our leadership, teaching and support teams we will take an inclusive pedagogy approach to the teaching of our curriculum; to encompass the diversity of thought, life experience and identity.
Ensuring that our statutory responsibilities in relation to equality and diversity are more than just met – they are exceeded and integrated fully into our shared services and everything that we do.
The Equality Act places a special legal duty on public bodies which requires us to:
- Eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation and any other unlawful conduct defines in the Act.
- Advance equality of opportunity.
- And foster good relations across the protected characteristics.
In practice, we need to ensure that we:
- Consider the needs of people with different protected characteristics and the impact our activities could have on them.
- Take appropriate steps to remove or minimise anything that could disadvantage them.
- The aim of the Duty is to ensure that we, and all other public bodies are able to recognise, understand and meet the needs of the diverse range of people we exist to serve. Here’s what we are doing to fulfil our responsibilities:
Eliminate discrimination, harassment and victimisation
Instances of discrimination, harassment and bullying are treated seriously and dealt with vigorously in line with Eastern Colleges Group policies so that our students become active and informed citizens of the world who have been educated to take informed actions when faced with situations in their workplace and/or higher education setting.
- To develop and implement systems relating to the capture of information and data on the membership of the protected characteristics within our student and staff communities.
- To monitor student voice to identify any emerging issues pertaining to discreet groups with the intention of instigating appropriate remedial action including staff training where appropriate.
- Embed ECG values incorporating British Values into the curriculum and raise staff understanding across the group.
- We will raise awareness and embed EDI into all aspects of the student journey commencing from application and interview stage and including induction, classroom practice, industry placements tutorials and via delivery of the curriculum.
- We will work with Curriculum and Welfare managers to develop opportunities to raise awareness and deliver workshops using the EDI toolkit through subject lessons and tutorial time. This will include working with the Knowledge and Libraries team to develop of resources for each of the nine protected characteristics to be used group wide from September 2023.
- In conjunction with the Safeguarding Board, we will implement restorative justice methods, to resolve incidents of bullying and harassment, this will include a focus on the promotion of microaggression and harassment incident reporting, and staff training where appropriate.
Advance equality of opportunity
We support positive action by everyone to increase diversity – students, staff, managers and governors and we promote a culture that gives equal value, access, treatment and service to all.
- To monitor the degree to which our workforce is representative of the changing local population.
- To promote equality, diversity and inclusion themes in the curriculum and into adult learning.
- To identify any barriers to success for our discrete groups and to develop actions to address these.
- To improve the confidence of all staff in with their interventions with students where these relate to equality, diversity and inclusion themes.
- We will seek to recruit EDI leads across the ECG, providing leadership diversity and development training where necessary.
- We will receive regular curriculum reports updates highlighting EDI activity which evidences the practice of embedding themes and best practice recommendations.
- We will review the EDIM reports, once these have been scrutinised at the Quality Board, to develop and implement actions in response to any emerging issues.
- We will continue to include EDI themes and workshops in the PD Days across the ECG and allow opportunities for staff to engage in these across the year, working with teams to promote and staff to have follow up training to ensure learning moments are used across the ECG group.
- We will work with the Work Placement team to secure industry experience for our EDI leads and ambassadors.
- In conjunction with the Health and Safety team, we will create and develop an EDI Student and Staff H&S Advisors team to review our facilities and estates from an end-user perspective on a quarterly basis.
- Our Adult learning centres support the recruiting and promotion of EDI leads to develop and ensure multi faith rooms are allocated on all sites.
Foster good relations
Equality, diversity and including everybody is central to the work of senior leaders and governors and feedback from those that work, learn and support at ONE sixth from college is used to drive improvement.
- To enable managers across the ECG, to contribute to an inclusive College that celebrates diversity and provides a safe and supportive environment in which to learn and work.
- To ensure that our advocacy, allyship and sponsorship supports all protected characteristics.
- To maintain staff confidence in the PREVENT agenda and to minimise any negative outcomes (perceived or otherwise).
- To increase opportunities for cross college student and staff participation in EDI events and showcases, to advance understanding of differences.
- Our managers and leadership teams will collaborate with the Group Head EDI and EDI leads, to ensure equality, diversity and inclusion is implemented effectively sharing best practices to ensure that all protected characteristics are widely represented.
- Our adult and apprenticeship teams will raise awareness of EDI themes across these provisions including providing opportunity for delivery of EDI courses in the future.
- Our tutorial teams will develop awareness of EDI themes active student engagement, through the delivery of tutorial sessions, but also via calendared events.
Our welfare team, pastoral support and curriculum managers will act upon any emerging issues pertaining to discreet groups, including attendance, achievement and progression
Policies and Monitoring
We collect and monitor data relating to staff and learners to understand and, if necessary, address the effects of our policies and procedures. We are collecting staff and student data to cover all of the protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010. Staff are actively encouraged by our HR department to provide more information about their protected characteristics.