Equality and Diversity Policy

1. Policy Statement

Colchester Institute aims to provide a welcoming environment in which all learners and employees are encouraged to realise their full potential, where every individual is valued and offered equal opportunity to progress.

To this end, the College aims to ensure that all actual or potential learners and employees are treated in an equivalent fashion, regardless of: age, disability; family responsibility, marital status, race, colour, ethnicity, nationality, religion or belief, gender, sexual orientation, trade union activity, and any other irrelevant criteria.

2. Key principles

  • The College believes that all forms of prejudice and discrimination* are   unacceptable.  In recognition of the fact that they can take a variety of forms, depending on the group against whom they are directed, the College will adapt/develop policies embodying the issues specific to discrimination on the grounds of the following protected characteristics:
    – Age
    – Disability
    – Gender
    – Race
    – Religion or Belief
    – Sexual Orientation
    – Gender Reassignment
    – Pregnancy and Maternity
    – Marriage and Civil Partnership
  • The College will seek to challenge inequality, prejudice and discrimination.
  • The College will seek to advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not.
  • The College embraces diversity in all its aspects, and aims to have a workforce, governing body and learner population which reflects, at every level, the community it serves.
  • The College will treat all employees and learners with respect and dignity, and seek to provide a working and learning environment free from harassment, discrimination and victimisation.  The College will not tolerate any form of discriminatory behaviour against its employees and learners either from other employees, learners, or members of the public and will work to eliminate bullying and harassment in all its forms. Prompt and considerate action will be taken to investigate incidents of bullying and harassment.
  • In seeking to achieve a balanced workforce and learner population at all levels, the College will ensure that no employee, learner, job applicant or candidate for promotion will be disadvantaged, or treated less favourably because of conditions or requirements that are not related to the job or programme of learning.  Reasonable adjustments will be made to arrangements and premises to ensure equal access for people with disabilities.
  • In order to ensure that all staff and learners and potential staff and learners are treated with equality and fairness at all stages of employment and the learning programme, and that their treatment is based solely on objective and job/programme of learning related criteria, the College will ensure that equality issues are embedded into all its policies and procedures.
  • The College will seek to actively promote equality and diversity throughout the College. For learners we will ensure it is adequately covered within student induction, the group tutorial process and embedded fully into the curriculum.
  • The College will establish links and contacts with local community groups and other relevant organisations, which will include the Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) community sector, working in partnership, where appropriate, to encourage and facilitate access to education, training and employment.

3. Structures

  1. The Vice Principal for Quality and Support will have delegated responsibility for equality issues.  The designated person will ensure that regular reports are made to the Corporation. The Learner Services and Equality Manager will have the remit to promote Equality and Diversity across the College and support teams and individuals.
  2. The embedding of Equality and Diversity in the Curriculum will be reviewed and monitored through Teaching and Learning Observations, and through other Quality processes, including Boards of Study the Self-Assessment Review.
  3. A standing agenda item to discuss issues relation to Equality and Diversity will be included in College meetings.

4. Monitoring

  • The College undertakes to conduct comprehensive and effective monitoring of all aspects of staffing and the learner population.
  • The College is committed to the collection of statistics, analysis of data and presentation of data, as well as monitoring on an ongoing basis and as policies and practices change. Equality and Diversity will also be monitored as part of the Course Review and Self Assessment Review processes.
  • The main forms of monitoring used by the College will be the composition of the existing workforce, governing body and learner population, the recruitment processes, learner retention and achievement with particular reference to ethnicity, age, disability and gender.
  • Action plans will be drawn up to address any imbalances and in particular to narrow any identified achievement gaps between groups of learners identified as a result of monitoring and reviewing this data.
  • An annual Equality and Diversity report will be produced to summarise all monitoring data, analysis of feedback including any complaints and the annual review of the Equality Objectives.

5. Positive action

The College undertakes to follow positive action measures allowed by law to rectify disadvantages in employment and learning revealed by monitoring.

In particular to promote equality as detailed in the College’s Equality Objectives.

6. Training

Equality and diversity training will be provided to all staff as part of the induction process, including mandatory completion of the on-line Equality and Diversity Essentials modules. Specific training will also be provided for throughout the year on different aspects of equality and diversity as appropriate.

A review of Equality and Diversity related training, including attendance will form part of the annual Equality and Diversity Report.

7. Raising concerns

  • If an employee believes they have not been treated fairly within the scope of this policy they may raise the matter through the College’s Dealing with Bullying and Harassment at Work or Grievance Procedures.
  • Similarly, if a learner believes they have not been treated fairly within the scope of this policy they may raise the matter through the College’s Dealing with Bullying and Harassment at College or Complaints Procedures.

8. Publicising the policy

The College’s commitment to equal opportunities and the Equality and Diversity policy will be communicated widely to employees, learners, work placement providers and the public at large through:

  • College prospectuses and annual Equality and Diversity report
  • employee and learner induction programmes
  • copies available throughout the College, and visible on posters
  • through the College web site and Portal
  • copies of the policy provided to work based learning and work placement providers, with a requirement for them to adopt the Policy if they do not already have one in place.

9. Review

This policy will be reviewed on a regular basis in accordance with legislative developments and the need for good practice.

10. Supporting policies/procedures

  • Dealing with Bullying and Harassment at Work
  • Dealing with Bullying and Harassment at College