Inclusion, equality and diversity

On to T3! As I said for the previous essay you may well have had this bundled in with T2 and be doing them both the same week. It pulls out from that question on legislation and codes of practice to focus closer on these particular and important issues. Check out the full list of Ptlls assignments if you need a different one.

Level 3 – Explain how you could promote inclusion, equality and diversity with your current/future learners. Identify other points of referral available to meet the potential needs of learners. Recommended word count 200-300 words.

Level 4 – Discuss issues of equality and diversity and ways to promote inclusion with your learners. Review other points of referral available to meet the potential needs of learners. Recommended word count 300-400 words.

Juicy stuff to get in to here, not only about the heady trilogy of equality, diversity and inclusion but also pastoral issues. I love it, but there’s only 400 words maximum! (This post itself is over double that.)

I am going to break the question down along the lines of level 4 but there’s discussion below about the differences between 3 and 4.

Issues of equality and diversity

Even professionals in the field can find it hard to distinguish exactly between what is an equalities issue and what is a diversities issue. But that’s what makes it so interesting.

The Equality Act 2010 unifies previously piecemeal legislation and protects people from discrimination involving…

  • Race (including ethnic or national origins, colour and nationality)
  • Sex
  • Sexual orientation
  • Disability
  • Religion or belief (including lack of belief)
  • Gender reassignment (transsexuality)
  • Pregnancy and maternity
  • Marriage and civil partnership
  • Age

These are referred to as “protected characteristics” and the last two: age and marriage/civil partnership only really apply to employment. There’s also increased protection for people discriminated against “by association or perception” which is all very exciting stuff. Organisations may recognise additional equalities issues such as education background, economic background, preferred language, trade union membership and countless others which is very likely from an educational establishment. Wherever you are studying your course and wherever you intend to work will have equality and diversity policies in place.

These policies outline what that organisation does to tackle discrimination, how it protects equalities issues and celebrates diversity. Ofsted and HR organisations etc aren’t looking for diversities to be acknowledged or the dreaded “tolerated” – they need to be actively celebrated.

Promote inclusion with your learners

This really gets in to the learning environment, taking what might feel like abstract theories and tackling them head on. There is nothing abstract about discrimination or exclusion though and this is your chance to think about how you can really affect things for the better.

This is a huge topic so I’m just going to throw a few ideas out there

  • Have materials reflect diversity to increase the likelihood of people in the group finding something to identify with: look at the use of names and ages, who is shown in photographs
  • Go to the effort of finding examples of achievement that are less well known: Florence Nightingale was the de facto nursing example for years but now Mary Seacole is regaining prominence
  • Make sure you have provided for different types of learners in your lesson plan – differentiating for learning styles etc – and that everything is accessible in different formats without it having to be a big deal
  • Watch your language! Stuff like jokey stereotypes and casual homophobia is rife and does not help people feel safe. And have a plan on how you will challenge inappropriate conversations and remarks from your learners

This should be really standard stuff but it seems to very rarely be gotten right. And remember that your own class needs to be conducted like this – bring it up with your tutor if its not.

Other points of referral available to meet the potential needs of learners

Working in an FE institution in the Information Advice and Guidance side of things this part just tripped off my tongue. How we bemoan tutors not understanding our offerings! I would never be that kind of tutor, I vowed to myself. Chances are you have taken advantage of some of these types of services yourself.

We’re talking about probable organisation resources such as these, though they go under a multitude of names…

  • Student services / welfare / financial aid / student support
  • Careers services / advice and guidance
  • Learning mentors / teaching assistants
  • Learning difficulties and disabilities assessment and support
  • International office for overseas learners
  • Chaplaincy or medical services including sexual and mental health

And outside of a specific education organisation there are…

  • Local councils for housing issues, elected representatives etc
  • Jobcentre for benefit entitlement and issues etc
  • Next Step for adults and Connexions up to age 19 – now National Careers┬áService
  • UK Border Agency / Visa Services / Home Office for nationality and immigration issues
  • Citizens Advice for any and all of the above

Tutors can become a point of contact for anything “official” in a learners world so it is important to have an idea of these services, make contact with people in your own organisation and be prepared to do a little research.

Level 3 and 4

The two questions are constructed differently, it’s not just a case of switching terms between the two. In level 3 inclusion, equality and diversity are presented as equals and they just require an explanation. You have to “identify” other points of referral in the second part of the question. However in level 4 equality and diversity are split off from inclusion and you have to “discuss issues”. Relate them back to your potential learners and talk about the effects of these issues. Promoting inclusion is a separate issue which shows the need to focus a little more on that. And then you have to review other points of referral and show you understand what might be needed when.

Okay, that was a big one. Hope it helped. Drop a comment if you have anything to add. The rest of the essays are on the Ptlls assignments page if you need another one.


  1. 5 February, 2011
  2. 5 February, 2011
  3. 31 March, 2011
  4. 31 March, 2011
  5. 6 February, 2012
  6. 12 February, 2012
  7. 21 February, 2012
  8. 24 February, 2012
  9. 5 March, 2012
  10. 15 April, 2012
  11. 15 April, 2012
  12. 26 April, 2012
  13. 26 April, 2012
  14. 3 September, 2012
  15. 7 March, 2014

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