Equality Policy

Introductory Statement:
This policy document was drawn up in November 2012

To ensure equality of access to all pupils and staff in the school environment
To ensure that no condition be allowed hinder a persons participation in school life

Policy formation was a collaborative exercise between staff, Board of Management, parents and children.

The policy was re-drafted because;

The existing policy was originally drafted in 2000 and required updating
Legislation in relation to equality of access has been activated , such as the
o Employment Equality Act 1998
o Education Act 1998
o Equality Status Act 2000
To promote the principles of justice and equality for all in accessing and participating in the curriculum as provided by Scoil Naomh Abbáin / Adamstown NS.

Links to School Ethos:
Scoil Naomh Abbáin / Adamstown NS endeavours to enable every pupil to actively participate in all school activities regardless of physical disability, gender, race, religion or learning disability.  We also commit to preparing each and every pupil for life by promoting value and respect for all.  The schools mission statement promotes the spirit of inclusiveness and the principles of equality.

Aims and Objectives:

To instil a sense of pride in our own culture whilst simultaneously cultivating an understanding of the value of cultural diversity
Ensuring compliance with all requirements of legislation
Promoting equal opportunities in an environment where diversity is respected valued and celebrated

Organisational Procedures

All pupils are welcome to enrol regardless of race, religion, gender, family status, disability or whether or not they are a member of the ‘Travelling Community’.  Arrangements are made on enrolment for families who do not wish their children to participate in religion, R.S.E or other curriculum areas.

The Board of Management is an equal opportunities employer as per the Equal Status Act 2000, and the Employment Equality Act 1998.  No discriminatory questions on the grounds of gender, sexual orientation, family status etc. will be asked during the interview process.  Correct procedures for promotion will be strictly adhered to as per the CPSMA handbook and fair and equitable measures in relation to post of responsibility, maternity leave, career breaks, etc.

While the school has a very low percentage of foreign national children, verbal contact with parents of these children is the preferred mode of communication.  The staff is also made aware of the different cultural practices of these parents/children through verbal communication.  The school does not have an anti-racism charter at this point in time.

The school has a policy of communicating with both parents on pupil progress where divorce or separation is an issue, unless a court ruling prescribes differently.

Input of Parents:
The Parents Association of the school have an input into the formulation of the Equality Policy.  The BoM and Parents Association refers all parents to the Education Welfare Act 2000 at regular intervals through newsletters which highlight issues such as;

School attendance, the Education Welfare Board and absenteeism
Multi-culturalism, drug awareness, obesity etc. through organising talks for parents

The school will also identify parents on low income who are unable to afford books/ uniforms/school outings/P.E. and provide assistance where it is deemed appropriate.

Induction and Teaching:
The school infant enrolment form gathers all the information the school will need to address issues of inequality, such as family background, medical concerns and learning or physical disabilities.  This enables the school to access relevant supports such as language teachers, SNA’S and teaching materials.  There is regular communication between the class teacher and parents prior to and during the child’s early school life.  All teaching materials acquired are chosen and used in a manner reflecting diversity.

All teachers share information which is updated annually.  The school promotes non-academic activities such as hurling, football, camogie, rounders, athletics etc in a manner which is favourable to all sexes, races and religions.  Classes are split (where necessary) on a non-academic, basis.  Special efforts are made to avoid stereotyping when designating tasks and presenting classroom materials.  Each teacher also conducts formal sessions on equality and gender equity.

Curriculum Access:
The school endeavours to enable all pupils to access all curriculums which shall enable pupils to engage in appropriate intellectually stimulating work.  All children are given an opportunity to engage in integration and appreciate other cultures and languages.

Special arrangements are made for children of non-nationals and children with specific learning difficulties in relation to the teaching of Irish.  Exemptions are sought for children of non-nationals who enrol in after their 9th birthday and for children with a psychological report recommending exemption from Irish, subject to parental consent and in keeping with the professional recommendation of the class teacher.

SESE offers many areas where diversity and differences can be celebrated.  Geography lessons will focus on people, food and the physical features of other countries.  S.P.H.E strands such as ‘Myself and Others’ are also used to celebrate different cultures.

Special Needs:
The school has a complement of a full-time General Allocation Resource Teacher, a part-time resource teacher with 1an allocation of 10.2 hours, 1 full time SNA and 1 part-time (infant hours) SNA.  Children with special needs in mainstream have access to learning support and resource hours in addition to full time mainstream integration.

Evaluation of Policy:
The policy is subject to continual review under the following;

All pupils accessing the curriculum at a level appropriate to their needs
Increased awareness of difference and acceptance of same
Maintaining a happy school atmosphere
Staff and parental satisfaction
Improvement in pupil attainment level in academic and social areas

This policy was ratified by the Board of Management and implemented immediately.  It will be reviewed on a yearly basis.

Board of Management ratification
Signed: Fr. Robert Nolan
Chairperson, Board of Management

Date  24th January 2013