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Last reviewed on 18 November 2021
Ref: 3423
School types: All · School phases: All

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

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 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 - see section 84 of

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