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Covering the 9 Protected Characteristics in School

Access free Protected Characteristics Display Icons here.

The Picture News team are dedicated to educating children and young people about the world around them. This includes helping them become inclusive citizens. Featuring the 9 Protected Characteristics in our resources encourages young people to respect others, and helps you fulfil your responsibilities as an educator.

What are the 9 Protected Characteristics?
As part of the 2010 Equality Act, the term Protected Characteristics was coined. This followed campaigning from groups and individuals to promote and protect human rights.

There are 9 Protected Characteristics:

  • Sex
  • Sexual Orientation
  • Age
  • Disability
  • Gender Reassignment
  • Marriage & Civil Partnership
  • Pregnancy & Maternity
  • Race
  • Religion or Belief

It is against the law to discriminate anyone based on these characteristics.

People are protected from discrimination at work, in school, as a consumer, when using public services, when renting or buying property, or as a member of a private group, amongst other scenarios.

What is an educator’s role for Protected Characteristics?
As an educator, you are legally obligated to promote equality, and prevent and tackle discrimination related to the 9 Protected Characteristics.

It is your responsibility to ensure that all pupils have equal access to resources and opportunities, regardless of these characteristics.

These requirements may seem daunting to meet, however, the team at Picture News have compiled their top tips for covering Protected Characteristics in school.

Covering Protected Characteristics in school

  • Tune in to a Picture News Protected Characteristics Overview webinar

We regularly host webinars for educators and pupils about the 9 Protected Characteristics, including what they are and how they are reflected in the world around us.

Check out our events page and social media for future Protected Characteristics training for staff and pupils!

                 A Picture News British Values and Protected Characteristics Overview for Pupils in KS2.

Create a positive, welcoming culture in school

Covering the Protected Characteristics effectively starts with the culture of your school.

So that everyone feels welcomed and respected, create a school environment that values diversity, inclusivity and kindness.

It is important to teach children from a young age about respect, tolerance and understanding of others, so they may continue to show these values to others as they grow older.

Reinforcing these ideas within your school community will contribute to the upkeep of a positive culture!

For example, you could:

Celebrate awareness days and events that are diverse and inclusive. Acknowledging and exploring days will encourage children to think about people’s perspectives and experiences, and introduce new cultures, situations and ways of life.

Explore the news! Covering news stories in school is a great way to boost children’s cultural capital, and encourage them to use their voice and learn about life beyond the classroom.  

Hold stereotyping and bias sessions. Invite experts to educate your pupils and staff on what stereotyping and bias means, and explore how you can work together to prevent it. Awareness is key to ensure that we are inclusive to all.

Invite guest speakers! Hearing a variety of life experiences can encourage a welcoming and inclusive culture, as it makes children aware and respectful of a whole spectrum of experiences beyond their own.

  • Assess your curriculum and resources

Ensuring your curriculum is inclusive and representative of wider society will help you reflect and respect the Protected Characteristics in school.

Think about: are a diverse range of people reflected in the curriculum?

For example, to get started, assess the diversity of the books available in your school library. Do you represent a wide range of authors and characters?

Do the children in your school see themselves and others represented?

  • Supportive structures

So, you’ve made sure your school environment is welcoming and inclusive, you’ve sought out Protected Characteristics training, and you’ve assessed your curriculum.

Our next tip is to reflect your inclusive priorities in your school policies and procedures.

Ensure you have structures in place that protect children and staff from issues like bullying, harassment, and offer additional support for those who may require it.

Doing so will help you tackle discrimination in school, and allow you to strive to maintain your positive, inclusive culture.

  • Use Picture News for weekly links to Protected Characteristics!

Each weekly Picture News pack makes a meaningful link between what’s happening in the world and a Protected Characteristic.

For example, a news story about the election of Spain’s first parliamentarian with Down’s syndrome, Mar Galcerán, reflects the disability characteristic, and reminds children that nobody should be treated unfairly because of a disability.

Linking the news to the Protected Characteristics helps children think about them in a real-life context, which boosts their understanding and awareness of them.

What’s more – the work is done for you! There’s no need to research or plan how you will cover the Protected Characteristics. Our team of Education Consultants prepare the links for you, and offer a non-prescriptive teacher guide.

Check out a recent news pack (featuring a link to Protected Characteristics) here!

An example of a Picture News link between a news story and a Protected Characteristic.

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