Centre for Studies on Inclusive Education

supporting inclusion, challenging exclusion

Equality Act:2010

Under the Equality Act 2010, it is unlawful for any education provider, including a private or independent provider, to discriminate between pupils on grounds of disability, race, sex, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, religion or belief, or sex. Discrimination on these grounds (known as “protected characteristics”) is unlawful in relation to prospective pupils (admissions arrangements), pupils at the school including absent or temporarily excluded pupils, and former pupils who have a continuing relationship with the school.

Prohibition of discrimination

The Act defines discrimination in four ways:


The Act prohibits harassment of three types:


The Act prohibits victimisation, defined as treating a pupil badly because s/he (or his/her parent or sibling) has done a “protected act” (or because the school believes that a person has done or is going to do a protected act). A protected act is:

The Act states that a school must not victimise a person in its admission arrangements, the provision of education, in exclusions or by subjecting the pupil to any other detriment.

Further information on the implications of the Equality Act 2010 for schools can be found in What equality law means for you as an education provider: schools, published by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, together with up to date information on the Commission’s website. See also the full text of the Act and the explanatory notes.

Page last updated: Sunday 28 October 2018

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