Creating a fairer Britain
The Equality Act came into force on 1 October 2010. Some of the information on this page may be out of date.
Education providers must comply with anti-discrimination and human rights legislation and have a duty to promote the wellbeing of pupils or students. That means that they should actively seek to eliminate all forms of discrimination and harassment - whether towards students or staff.
In general, this should first be dealt with through your own disciplinary policy, but in all circumstances the safety, well-being and support needs of the victim should be your first priority.
Find out about the legal definition of discrimination.
Education providers have a legal responsibility to make a written record of any racist incident which takes place on their premises. Schools should also report all racist incidents to their local authority (education authority in Scotland).
Certain racist incidents may also be criminal offences in England and Wales under the Crime & Disorder Act 1998. These include:
The police (not education providers) are responsible for investigating and dealing with any racist incidents where criminal offences may have been committed. All racist incidents of this kind should be reported to the police as soon as possible.
Education providers should also report the incident to the police if asked to do so by the victim or their parent.
In addition to the general principles for dealing with discrimination or harassment, specific rules exist for dealing with sexual harassment and discrimination, particularly in the following instances: