Introduction and background
Schools are required to have a range of policies which formally set out the guidelines and procedures for ensuring equality. Legislation in the UK and beyond, particularly since the mid-1990s, seeks to ensure equality for all citizens and the most recent example is the Equality Act which came into force from October 2010.
- The significance of legislation is in its outcomes and schools are expected to monitor equality of opportunity and inclusivity, which is also judged by Ofsted during school inspections. Legislation is amended regularly in response to inspection outcomes so, as a music educator, it is important that you are familiar with up-to-date policies and procedures in any settings in which you work.
- Music is often cited as an example of a subject area where it is possible to promote diversity and inclusion through the choice of musical materials that are used. As part of the way you develop your understanding of equality, diversity and inclusion in music education, read the following extract from legislation and guidance on education and the law.
It is unlawful for any education provider, including a private or independent provider, to discriminate between pupils on grounds of:
- gender reassignment
- pregnancy or maternity
- sexual orientation
Discrimination on these grounds (known as ‘protected characteristics’) is unlawful in relation to prospective pupils (admissions arrangements), pupils at the school including absent or temporarily excluded pupils and former pupils who have a continuing relationship with the school. There are some exceptions so as to allow for the maintenance of faith schools and single-sex schools; some disabled pupils and pupils with a statement of special educational needs may be segregated in special schools and schools may temporarily or permanently exclude pupils for disciplinary reasons.
As you work through this unit, consider whether you have observed any examples of discrimination in the context in which you work, or have worked, as a music educator.
It may also help you to think back to your own schooldays or experience of further or higher education or of taking part in music-making.