Equalities at Ralph Allen School

Gay Pride Flag
Ralph Allen School

Equality: The condition of having equal dignity, rank, or privileges with others; the fact of being on an equal footing.

Ralph Allen School is dedicated to providing an inclusive environment where all students feel represented, valued and that their needs are met. Our ambition is to advance equality for all children and young people, including those with protected characteristics and those who are socio-economically disadvantaged. Through a multitude of channels in the school (such as curriculum, assemblies and extracurricular) we promote equal opportunities for all. Our value of respect is relayed to our students to emphasise the importance of uniqueness and that difference is a positive thing to be celebrated.

Protected characteristics

The Equalities Act 2010 outlines that it is unlawful to discriminate against anyone because of one or more protected characteristics. These protected characteristics are:

· Age

· Disability

· Gender reassignment

· Marriage and civil partnership

· Pregnancy and maternity

· Race

· Religion or belief

· Sex

· Sexual orientation

Staff Training

One of our first actions was staff training, involving sessions where inclusive language has been outlined and common misconceptions with language have been challenged. This is to be a continual process to support all staff with the most up-to-date information, with it also being a safe space to ask questions, check understanding and learn.

The benefits of this training are that staff will feel more confident communicating with staff and students about the protected characteristics and can provide more support to students with protected characteristics or with questions about them. This allows Ralph Allen to be a more supportive and inclusive environment where students feel safe to be themselves. It also will raise awareness of the protected characteristics to both staff and students, which will increase acceptance of a wide range of people to tackle discrimination.

Curriculum and PSHE

In recent years, a group of staff from various departments have devoted time to developing their curriculums and learning spaces to be more representative of all the students we teach. Display boards now include more notable people with protected characteristics, with the aim of more students being able to see themselves in the different fields and to challenge stereotypes. Within different departments our curriculums, schemes of work and lesson resources have been adapted to be more inclusive of the students we teach. This has included:

- changing reading lists to books with more diverse characters, such as the Black Flamingo by Dean Atta.

- adding new content that has been previously omitted, such as teaching year 7s about menopause during their Science

Reproduction topic.

- rethinking teacher language to include more protected characteristics; for example, when teaching IVF to Year 10 in Biology, same sex relationships are mentioned as examples, in addition to infertility.

- our fantastic library, with an amazing range of books. We have a selection of books which have been recommended by staff, students, and external EDI charities, with incredibly helpful librarians, to help support students wanting to learn more about different protected characteristics, or to read inclusive fiction with diverse characters being positively represented.

Tutor Time, Assemblies and Extra Curricular

Tutor times at Ralph Allen consist of a range of activities, including assemblies and values sessions, created by staff and students from the Equalities Team. These cover a range of topics, including equality, diversity, and inclusion, such as:

· Allyship

· The History of Pride Celebrations and Protests

· The LGBTQ+ community

· Black History is British History

· Racism

· Gender Stereotypes

· Discriminatory language

· Mental Health

The school participated in Wear Red Day 2022, a fantastic day where students and staff alike enjoyed dressing in red whilst also learning about the examples and consequences of racism which unfortunately are still apparent around the globe. The event raised a fantastic amount of money for the charity ‘Show Racism the Red Card’.

Equalities Team

A real asset to Ralph Allen is the passion many of our students have towards equality, diversity, and inclusion. Over the last few years, the Ralph Allen Student Equalities Team has grown in size and confidence, then with that its contributions to the wider school. Our committee, consisting of a president and 5 vice presidents, lead a committed team who strive to make Ralph Allen an inclusive community where students feel valued and safe to be themselves. As well as students coming together to work towards equality, it also provides an opportunity for students of different years to meet, and build upon key skills, such as teamwork, public speaking, research, and creativity. We look at many areas of equalities, with each of our vice presidents leading:

- disability

- neurodiversity and wellbeing

- race and religion

- sex and gender

- sexual orientation

The students have worked with the teachers to help improve inclusion in the school. This collaboration has allowed staff to prioritise what the students feel will make the most impact on students. A group of students from the team were invited to a staff meeting and spoke about the importance of equality in school; this was invaluable for staff, who found it insightful and invaluable.

The team has created and delivered many informative assemblies, looking at allyship, the history of pride, black history, and disability, with many more planned for the future. To go with these assemblies, the Equalities Team have also developed activities for tutor groups to complete, to explore the content of the assemblies in further detail, with the opportunities to ask questions. The students have helped develop more diverse and inclusive learning spaces too, with eye catching posters and pride flags.

One of the Equalities Team’s greatest successes was the Pride Sale, held in June 2022. The team collaborated to organize the event, with great support from many members of staff. Cakes, badges, bookmarks, and T-shirts were sold, raising over £500 for charity. Many students and staff continue to support their Griffin pride badges months after the event as an act of allyship or to express themselves. There are plans for events like this to go ahead in the future.

In May 2023, Tobie Donovan, a RAS alumni and star of the hit Netflix series Heartstoppers, came to visit Ralph Allen and took time during the day to discuss the importance of equality and representation in both schools and the media. It was an amazing opportunity for our students to meet Tobie, with some fantastic discussions around the impact of shows like Heartstopper, the role of social media is playing in the discrimination many people unfortunately face and what steps can now be taken for a more inclusive future.

“The Equalities Team strives to make the school a safer and more accepting place for everyone, no matter who you are. We do assemblies, fundraisers, and we are currently working on making a PSHE session, all to help bring awareness to issues and celebrate our differences. There are plenty of students who learn a lot from what we do and see the value in our work. From a more social standpoint, I regularly go to the equalities team meetings, not just because of my role as President, but because of the people there. There is always a strong sense of community and kinship, which I find can cheer me up even on my worst days.” – Ralph Allen Equalities Team Student President (2021-2023)

“Equalities Team has truly been a space where I’ve felt safe to be myself… also providing me with the community I never had as a lower school student at my previous school. It’s also been so valuable to be able to organise and engage in activity to help make school a more accepting place – feeling like I’m making a difference is so important.” – Student member of the Ralph Allen Equalities Team

Faith Group

Explore Faith is a Christian union at RAS school which aims to provide a safe and inclusive space for students to explore, discuss, and practice religious beliefs and values. The club ran by Stuart and supported by Miss Cheesman and Mr Singh welcomes students of all different backgrounds and explores deep philosophical and theological questions such as ‘What is the meaning of life?’ and ‘Who really was Jesus?’. The Wednesday lunchtime club provides opportunities for students to participate in religious activities, such as prayer and discussions about religious teachings and their applications to daily life. The goal of this faith club is to

support students in their spiritual growth and to foster understanding and respect for various religious beliefs and cultures in and beyond the school community.


The ‘Tender’ relationship education workshops (students watch in Year 8 and perform in Year 9) enable participants to experience how it feels to be ‘in someone else’s shoes’, creating a platform where participants engage emotionally as well as intellectually to develop core life skills such as confidence, communication, and trust. Domestic and sexual violence are highly prevalent issues in young people’s lives. 16-25 year olds, females and members of the LGBTQ+ community are widely recognised as the groups most likely to experience an abusive relationship. With the expectation of statutory Relationships, Sex and Health Education young people we aim to ensure that all students get the consistent support they need to navigate this risk and ensure they have a firm understanding of what a healthy relationship looks like.

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