School policies cover every aspect of school life. Below, listed in the Documents section, are some of our most important school policies for your reference.
If you want to know our policy on something that is not listed, please contact Sophy Parkin-Haig at firstname.lastname@example.org
Ridgeway Education Trust policies and information covering all our schools
Policies and information covering all schools within Ridgeway Education Trust can be found here:
Equality Information and Objectives
You can read the Ridgeway Education Trust Equality, Diversity and Inclusion statement by clicking here.
St Birinus School is committed to ensuring equality of education and opportunity for all its pupils, staff, parents and carers, irrespective of age, race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, marital or civil partnership status, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, religion or belief (as combined, known as protected characteristics), both as an employer and a service provider:
- We try to ensure that everyone is treated fairly and with respect.
- We want to make sure that our school is a safe, secure and stimulating place for everyone.
- We recognise that people have different needs, and we understand that treating people equally does not always involve treating them all exactly the same.
- We recognise that for some pupils, extra support is needed to help them to achieve and be successful, for example, those that fall within the protected characteristics.
- We try to make sure that people from different groups are consulted and involved in our decisions, for example through talking to pupils and parents/carers, and through our Governing Body.
- We aim to make sure that no-one experiences harassment, less favourable treatment or discrimination.
St Birinus School’s Commitment to Equalities
As a school we welcome our duties under the Equality Act 2010. The general duties are to:
- eliminate discrimination
- advance equality of opportunity
- foster good relations
We understand the work needed to ensure that those with protected characteristics are not discriminated against and are given equality of opportunity.
In order to meet our general duties, listed above, the law requires us to fulfil two specific duties to demonstrate how we meet the general duties. These are to:
- Publish equality information to demonstrate compliance with the three general duties
- Prepare and publish equality objectives
We also welcome our duty under the Education and Inspections Act 2006 to promote community cohesion.
We recognise that these duties reflect international human rights standards as expressed in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, and the Human Rights Act 1998.
The school recognises that new Positive Action provisions in the Equalities Act 2010 allow us to target measures that are designed to alleviate disadvantages experienced by, or to meet the particular needs of, pupils with particular protected characteristics. If we decide to use these we will ensure that it is a proportionate response to achieve the relevant aim.
The school has identified the following strategies that are designed to address equality issues:
- Establishing, maintaining and developing a school culture and ethos
The school opposes all forms of harassment, prejudice related incidents and discrimination and publicly celebrates diversity. The school also actively promotes good personal and community relations. Diversity is respected and inclusion is a strength of the school. Advancing diversity is integral to us in our drive to raise standards for all.
As part of the school’s embracement of the social, moral, spiritual and cultural aspects of our community, staff foster a positive atmosphere of mutual respect and trust among all pupils. The school also enables pupils and staff to celebrate festivals and other events relevant to their particular faith and actively encourages all pupils to understand these.
We also actively promote British values. These are embedded through a broad curriculum as well as in the school’s culture and ethos. For example, democracy is promoted through the pupil council and pupil questionnaires. Tolerance and respect for others is written into school policy and is an expected behaviour. Assemblies are used to address how British values are relevant to all pupils.
- Preventing and dealing effectively with bullying and harassment
We recognise that groups with protected characteristics are more vulnerable to bullying and harassment. Our Anti-Bullying and Prejudice Related Incidents policies set out procedures for staff to deal promptly and effectively with all incidents and complaints of bullying and harassment that may include cyber-bullying and prejudice-based bullying related to disability or special education need, ethnicity and race, gender, gender re-assignment, pregnancy or maternity, religion and belief and sexual orientation. We keep a record of all such incidents and notify those affected of what action we have taken. We provide training to all staff in relation to dealing with bullying and prejudice related incidents.
- Listening to pupils, staff, parents and others
We have a well-represented student voice that ensures pupils have a direct line of communication to discuss matters that relate to their concerns and overall well-being in school and immediate environment. The School Council is strong and articulate, as are individual House Councils, contributing to whole school decision making with pupils. We have a thriving school association, which represents families across all key stages. We regularly canvass feedback from parents and listen and respond promptly. Further opportunities for parents to contribute to school decision-making come through the parent teaching and learning group and other informal channels. The Trust Board and our Governing Body include a mixture of staff, community and parent governors. They are pivotal in shaping the school’s strategic development.
- Equalising opportunities
St Birinus School recognises that some of the groups covered in this policy are likely to be economically disadvantaged. We believe that all pupils should have an equal opportunity to benefit from school activities and visits (curricular and extra-curricular) independent of their parents’ or carers’ financial means. Our charging and remissions policy sets out how we try to ensure a good range of visits and activities is offered and, at the same time, try to minimise the financial barriers which may prevent some pupils taking full advantage of the opportunities.
We aim to ensure that school uniform is affordable and obtainable from multiple stockists. When new school ties were introduced, these were provided free-of-charge to all pupils on the school roll.
The School provides access to independent and impartial careers information, advice and guidance, for all students in years 9-13, with a specialist careers adviser.
- Informing and involving parents and carers
Progress reports to parents are accessible to ensure that all parents have the opportunity to participate in the dialogue. Parents are encouraged to be involved at all levels in the full life of the school.
The school works in partnership with parents and the community and continues to develop positive attitudes to diversity and respond to key issues. The school takes positive action to encourage involvement and participation of hard-to-reach parents and under-represented sections of the community. We actively encourage parents to discuss their concerns and to inform the school of any additional needs. We explain how parents can help their child at home, how parents and others can help in school and actively encourage parents to join the Governing Body.
Information for parents is easily accessible in user-friendly language and a range of ways of communicating between school and parents is offered that meets parents’ circumstances and needs.
We publish our information and announcements on the school website; raise awareness through the school newsletter, assemblies, staff meetings and other communications.
Meetings for parents are made accessible for all. Parental involvement is monitored to ensure the participation of all groups. Informal events are designed to include the whole community and at times may target particular groups according to identified needs.
The school’s premises and facilities are equally available and accessible for use by all groups within the community. Reasonable adjustment is made for disability.
- Welcoming new pupils and helping them to settle in effectively
We encourage all new children to visit the school before starting. We offer open evenings, open mornings and feeder primary schools are visited by St Birinus School staff. For children/young people with Special Educational Needs (SEND) Coordinator at their current school to gather key information about their strengths and areas for development. We aim to have the pupil’s profile written before the child starts with us. For students with particular needs we offer additional transition visits and one-to-one transition arrangements. To ensure smooth transition from primary school, year 7 pupils commence the new school year ahead of the rest of the school and have access to dedicated year 7 areas within the school. The House system and Student Support Managers provide extra assistance to pupils who find the change of school challenging.
- Addressing the full range of learning needs
We recognise that some of the groups covered in this policy are more likely to under-achieve and have developed an effective programme of support and intervention to address this. We ensure the curriculum is relevant, teaching styles are tailored to needs, pupil progress is closely monitored, and effective interventions are put in place in a timely manner.
Curriculum planning takes account of and builds on pupils’ starting points and is differentiated appropriately to ensure the inclusion of all, including pupils:
- Learning English as an additional language
- From minority ethnic groups
- Who are gifted and talented
- With special educational needs
- Who are looked after by the local authority
- Who are at risk of disaffection and exclusion
- Who are young carers
The school monitors and evaluates its effectiveness in providing an appropriate curriculum for pupils of all backgrounds. The joint Sixth Form offering provides vocational pathways in addition to traditional A Levels.
The content of the curriculum, in particular through our Ethics & Morality and Personal, Social, Health, & Economics education, reflects and values diversity. It encourages pupils to explore bias and to challenge prejudice and stereotypes. Extra-curricular activities and special events cater for the diverse interests of our pupils and take account of parental concerns related to religion and culture.
Teachers ensure that the classroom is an inclusive environment in which all pupils can participate; feel all their contributions are valued; have opportunities to succeed and achieve high standards. All pupils access the mainstream curriculum and teachers take positive action to include all groups or individuals. Teaching styles, strategies and pupil groupings in the classroom are planned and varied. If required, an alternative education provision is set up to ensure that specific students are able to access the best possible education for their needs.
All pupils have the opportunity to achieve their highest standards. Baseline and regular progress assessment is used for all pupils. The monitoring and analysis of pupil performance enables the identification of groups of pupils where there are patterns of underachievement. The school ensures that action is taken to counter underachievement and close any gaps. Information from assessment is used to inform future learning and staff use a range of methods and strategies and approaches to assess pupils` progress.
Staff have very high expectations of all pupils and they continually challenge them to extend their learning and achieve higher standards. The school values all forms of achievement and recognises this through the rewards system and House points.
- Supporting learners with particular needs
We have a Special Educational Needs Policy that outlines the provision the school makes for pupils with special educational needs. We endeavour to offer all pupils access to the national curriculum, to teaching, and to assessment that is appropriate to their aptitude, attainment and any special need they might have.
We support disabled learners by meeting their individual needs, for example we provide one-to-one withdrawal lessons with specialist learning support staff. Additionally, Individual Programmes of Study are devised to address pupils’ learning needs and to enable access to mainstream curriculum, for example, through adapted resources, multisensory learning programmes for pupils with specific learning difficulties and highly differentiated work for pupils working at below average national curriculum levels. We take steps (reasonable adjustments) to ensure that disabled pupils are not put at a disadvantage compared to other pupils, through our use of a large team of Teaching Assistants (TAs) and in-class support to promote access to the curriculum. In a small number of instances, an outside agency may be called into school to further support the needs of learners.
SEND students are supported in class by their teachers who have a clear understanding of their needs through a comprehensive pupil profile. Primarily Higher Level TAs and intervention teachers complete one-to-one or small group interventions based within the Inclusion Zone. TAs are more often deployed within lessons, targeted specifically at pupils with Statements or those for whom a statutory assessment is/will be requested. Within the classroom, the TA is directed by the class teacher and will work with a variety of students to enhance the learning experience of a wider cohort as well as to ensure that students with identified SEND are given the opportunity to develop independence.
The Inclusion Zone is designed to provide positive, proactive interventions to support students with a variety of needs including reintegration packages for students who have been out of school for different reasons. Within the Zone, students complete their timetabled lessons with guidance to enable them to achieve their full potential. The Zone is used primarily on a short-term basis, with the aim always to reintegrate students back to their mainstream classrooms with their specialist teachers. The Zone is run in a very similar way to a classroom, providing positive reinforcement of school rules and expectations.
The Social Zone supports the emotional and social needs that often arise for students who are on the Autistic Spectrum. The support offered is based around social story grouping, tackling different topics at different times of the year and in different year groups as well as identifying individual barriers and finding individual and creative ways to overcome them. We work to build a strong, positive and trusting relationship with key members of staff to support transition both from Year 6 to Year 7 but also through the years at St Birinus. We work to support students to recognise and manage their own emotions and those of others so that they can become more and more independent of this support as they move up through the school.
The school employs a comprehensive team for student support including non-teaching Student Support Workers, an Attendance Manager as well as a House Leader. Relevant training in areas such as autism strategies, safeguarding, child protection, achievement for all, behaviour and attachment difficulties, enable staff to meet particular learning needs.
- Making the school accessible to all
The school’s Accessibility Policy and Plan sets out how the school aims to meet the needs of pupils, staff and visitors with physical and other disabilities. We aim to ensure the needs of pupils, staff and visitors with physical difficulties and sensory impairments are taken into account when planning and undertaking improvements and refurbishments of the site.
We aim to ensure that curricular and extra-curricular opportunities are planned to allow for the participation of all students, including those with disabilities.
- Ensuring fair and equal treatment for pupils
The school strives to ensure that its policies and practice do not discriminate, directly or indirectly, against pupils in the school.
We have adopted the local authority admissions arrangements which are monitored to ensure that they are fair, transparent and consistent for all pupils. This ensures that they do not discriminate and disadvantage pupils from any particular group.
Families are made aware of their rights and responsibilities in relation to pupil attendance, and staff follow up absence in keeping with the attendance policy. Attendance is monitored and action is taken in order to reduce any disparities between different groups of pupils.
The school expects high standards of behaviour from all pupils and strategies are in place to reintegrate long-term truants and excluded pupils. Exclusions are monitored by pupil premium group and action is taken in order to eliminate any disparities between different groups of pupils.
The school’s procedures for disciplining pupils and managing behaviour are fair and applied equally to all. Pupils, staff and parents are made aware of procedures for dealing with all forms of harassment. They know that any language or behaviour, which for example is racist, sexist, homophobic or potentially damaging to any minority group, is always unacceptable.
- Ensuring fair and equal treatment for staff and others
The School understands that its policies and practice should not discriminate, directly or indirectly, against adults as well as pupils in the school and that positive role models and a wider perspective will strengthen the school.
The school adheres to recruitment, selection and retention procedures, which are fair, equal, and in line with statutory duties. The skills of all staff, including associate and part-time staff are recognised and valued. All staff are given status and support and are encouraged to share their knowledge.
Through our Dignity at Work policy we promote a healthy, safe and productive working environment for all our employees. It is the responsibility of all employees to maintain appropriate standards of behaviour in the workplace and to ensure that they do not contribute to the creation of a working environment in which affronts to dignity, bullying or harassment are accepted.
- Encourage participation of under-represented groups
The school seeks to improve participation of all groups in school life. Opportunities to join the Governing Body are publicised to all parents and carers; the widest involvement in the parents’ association is encouraged and individuals and community groups are supported to express their views on matters affecting themselves and their communities.
Compliance with duties under the Equality Act 2010
In order to fulfil our specific duties to demonstrate compliance with the three aims of the Equality Act, the school will update and publish this Equality Information Statement on an annual basis. We will decide what information we need to publish to demonstrate our compliance with the Equality Duty as there is no prescribed format. We will look at what equality information we publish already and consider whether that gives a reasonable picture of progress on equality issues affecting our pupils, parents/carers, community and staff to raise standards for all.
In line with legislative requirements, we will set and review progress against equality objectives and these objectives will be reviewed at least every four years.
The Governing Body has agreed the following equalities objectives, to be reviewed by December 2023:
- Close gaps in attainment and achievement between groups of students, especially pupil premium and SEND students.
- Equality of opportunity for all and our clear and compelling sense of moral purpose
- The gap between disadvantaged students and their non-disadvantaged counterparts is a priority for the school and central to the School Development Plan
- we aspire to improve outcomes for our SEND, disadvantaged and bursary cohorts
- The objective is a whole school priority, which all staff members and Governors share and hold
- A Deputy Headteacher holds responsibility for the impact and success of the Pupil Premium strategy
2. Reduce the incidence of the use of homophobic, sexist, discriminatory, derogatory and racist language by students in the school.
- SBS upholds its values driven ethos – Inspiring Excellence through Care, Courtesy and Commitment
- Language of this nature is unacceptable to us as a school community
- We promote and aspire to develop outstanding citizenship and young adults with values and integrity who will contribute to an inclusive, empathetic and harmonious society
- The themes are extended through tutor time, assemblies, the House system and through the curriculum at every opportunity – messages are clear and well understood by all
- Incidents and prevalence are monitored carefully on the Respectful Relationships log
- Promote cultural understanding and awareness of different religious beliefs across the school community.
- We are an inclusive, values driven school
- We embrace and promote diversity and foster cultural capital within our provision
- Ethics and Morality is taught to all students in Key Stage 3 and as an option at GCSE in Key Stage 4 and 5
- Cross curricular days are held in Key Stage 4
- Promote the involvement of all groups of students in the extra-curricular life of the school, including leadership opportunities.
- We aspire to develop well rounded students who contribute to and benefit from the wealth of opportunity available
- Opportunities for leadership and service build self-esteem and self-confidence
- Introduction of a Director of Ethos across the Trust
- Prominence of opportunity for all – we promote an inclusive leadership ethos and a culture of service and participation
- Introduction of the SBS Leadership Ladder in September 2020