Equality in education; Embed the 9 protected characteristics into teacher standards

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There are 8 teaching standards that UK teachers must follow in order to provide a safe, well structured, challenging education that allows all students to make progress. I remember learning these standards off by heart and making sure that they were evidenced in all of my lessons. Standard number 5 specifically focuses on 'adapting teaching to respond to the strengths and needs of all pupils.' Standard 5 however, does not include all of the 9 protected characteristics.

Issues concerning race, gender, sexual orientation, pregnancy and maternity, religion/ belief, age, sex and marriage and civil partnership are currently overlooked and therefore not addressed widely or consistently by teacher training providers or in schools as continued professional development for teachers.

The result of this is an absence of consideration for the individuals and marginalised groups that we teach, an absence of embedded anti racist and decolonised narratives in our curriculum, an absence of consideration for LGBTQA+ rights. An absence of Intersectional awareness.   

If standard 5 included all of the 9 protected characteristics, it would be a requirement for training providers to support new teachers to learn how to develop their understanding of the protected areas, and it would highlight the importance of implementing these needs in the classroom. It would also ensure that all schools include equality training in their designated CPD sessions.

It is through this change that students and teachers will receive continuous learning opportunities across the curriculum, creating an educational equity that benefits all.