Introduction

Colleges have both moral and legal obligations in relation to the safety of learners. These range from colleges’ duty (under Every Child Matters) to have a safe environment for learners through to being aware of the types of situations that can create an environment where extremism can develop and taking action to reduce such possibilities. 

Learners who feel excluded because of their race, disability, gender, age, sexual orientation, religion, or transgender experience are likely to become isolated and marginalised. They may also be the victims of discrimination that ranges from name-calling to acts of violence. This kind of experience can be a breeding-ground for disaffection and for various forms of violence, including violent extremism. Conversely, the perpetrators of such discrimination may see themselves as the defenders of a particular moral code or ‘way of life’ that they perceive as being threatened by certain groups or sets of beliefs.
 
Dialogue and open discussion are fundamental to tackling these problems. Constructive dialogue promotes respect and mutual understanding, thus promoting equality and diversity and directly confronting discrimination. It is therefore key to preventing and proactively tackling the problems that may arise in relation to the two areas covered on this website: Preventing violent extremism and  Guns gangs and knives.
 
In addition to a college’s moral and legal obligations in relation to discrimination, equality and diversity, the Ofsted Handbook for the inspection of further education and skills from September 2009 includes the following statement:
‘Limiting grades relate to safeguarding, and equality and diversity, as these are considered to be essential in assuring the quality of the development and well-being of young people and adults. The grades for these two aspects may therefore limit the grade for overall effectiveness.’
 
Question C4 is: How effectively does the provider actively promote equality and diversity, tackle discrimination and narrow the achievement gap?
 
One of the two operating principles for the inspection of equality and diversity is:
  • how effectively a provider actively promotes equality and diversity and tackles discrimination.
 
The Handbook also states that:
‘Inspectors should take into account, where relevant:
  • how well learners’ knowledge and understanding of equality and diversity, and preparation for living and working in a multiracial society, are reinforced through their programme, in tutorials and at reviews.’