Creating a fairer Britain
This covers everything you do in relation to admission arrangements including:
Information about you as a school and how to apply for admission should not discriminate by suggesting that applications from people with certain protected characteristics would not be welcome as this would be direct discrimination.
A school whose catchment area is inhabited predominantly by people for whom Bengali is a first language produces its prospectus only in English. This may suggest that only pupils for whom English is a first language are welcome at the school. If this resulted in Bengali parents not applying to the school, this is likely to be unlawful discrimination.
In relation to disabled people you should ensure that the information and application process is accessible to disabled people and make reasonable adjustments as necessary.
Although the use of admissions criteria is permitted you must ensure that the criteria you use do not discriminate, either directly or indirectly, against anyone with a protected characteristic.
Having criteria which exclude people with a particular protected characteristic will be direct discrimination. Direct discrimination is always unlawful.
Indirect discrimination may occur if admissions criteria exclude a greater proportion of pupils from particular categories unless you can show that your criteria are a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.
You should also ensure that disabled people are not discriminated against because of something arising in consequence of their disability, unless you can show it is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.
Reviewing your admissions criteria regularly will help you to ensure that they do not inadvertently exclude people with a particular characteristic.
You will need to have arrangements in place to deal with the reasonable adjustment needs of disabled candidates.
Examples of discriminatory criteria might include:
In England, Scotland and Wales
If you are an independent school, you can select pupils based on your own criteria which can include academic ability. If you are a selective school, you are not discriminating by applying these forms of selection to disabled children who apply but you still have a duty to make reasonable adjustments. This is explained in more detail below under the heading ‘permitted forms of selection’. As a selective school you must apply the selective criteria consistently to everyone who applies.
A selective school imposes a higher pass mark for applicants from an ethnic minority background, or to girls. This would be direct race or sex discrimination.
Local authorities (in England and Wales) and education authorities (in Scotland) also have a duty to ensure that there are sufficient places available for all girls and boys who meet the pass mark for selective schools.
If you are a selective school (as described above) you may use entrance exams or assessments (such as the 11+) to select your intake.
These tests, assessments or auditions must be objective and must not discriminate against applicants on grounds of any of the protected characteristics. Tests and assessments must be accessible to children with disabilities and you must comply with your duty to make reasonable adjustments for disabled people who are being assessed. This may mean making reasonable adjustments to the assessment process such as making the test material available in an adapted format, allowing extra time or providing a scribe, depending on the individual needs of the child (see Exceptions).