Equality Act 2010

Schools have specific duties under the Equality Act 2010. Be clear on how the Act protects people and what your duties are.

updated on 7 November 2022
School types: All · School phases: All
Ref: 3423
Contents
  1. The legislation
  2. Protected characteristics
  3. Unlawful behaviour under the Act - real examples
  4. General exceptions for schools
  5. Your duties under the Equality Act
  6. Reasonable adjustments
  7. The Public Sector Equality Duty

The legislation

The Equality Act 2010 replaced the Race Relations Act, Disability Discrimination Act and Sex Discrimination Act. It protects everyone in England and Wales, so it applies to all schools, regardless of type.

The Department for Education (DfE) has published non-statutory advice on how schools can fulfil their duties under the Equality Act 2010, which relates specifically to discrimination in an educational setting. We refer to it several times in this article.

Protected characteristics

The Act covers the following protected characteristics:

  • Sex 
  • Race
  • Religion or belief
  • Sexual orientation
  • Gender reassignment
  • Pregnancy and maternity
  • Age
  • Disability
  • Marriage and civil partnership

This is also true for protection based on marriage and civil partnership, which applies to employment but not to pupils –