New funding to tackle discrimination in education

By agency reporter
September 14, 2017

Nearly £500,000 is being made available to fight discrimination in education for people who may not have been able to afford legal action, the Equality and Human Rights Commission has announced.

The new Legal Support Project aims to increase access to justice for victims of discrimination in schools, further or higher education institutions or general qualification bodies.

The funding can be used for front line advice, preparatory work or representation, and the Commission is particularly interested in complaints where legal proceedings are already underway or are being considered.

Chair of the Commission, David Isaac, said, “This scheme will offer grass roots support to those who would otherwise have been unable to take legal action and we look forward to hearing from lawyers and advisers on how we might work together.

“Access to justice is a key issue for us. Strong equality and human rights laws means nothing if people are priced out of justice. We know from our previous scheme that we will receive valuable intelligence about discrimination in our schools, colleges and universities and we will use this to inform our wider work in this sector.”

Tackling identity-based bullying and discrimination in education is a priority project for the Commission this year. Examples of this discrimination can involve disabled students not being offered part-time courses as a reasonable adjustment, or a disproportionate number of exclusions of pupils of a particular race.

The Commission usually assists strategic cases that test the law, have implications for a large number of people, or complement existing areas of work. Whilst that strategic work will continue, this scheme means that it can offer legal support to a range of new cases.

This opportunity follows a successful pilot scheme earlier this year which focused on disability discrimination in employment, education, housing and provision of services, and saw £190,000 worth of legal assistance made available across 94 cases.

The claims must relate to Part 6 of the Equality Act 2010 which sets out duties that apply to schools, further and higher education providers, and general qualifications bodies. Claims may involve discrimination on the grounds of any of the protected characteristics in the Equality Act 2010.

Read an introduction to the Equality Act 2010 here

Find out more about the Legal Support Project: discrimination in education here

To discuss the scheme or request assistance email   

* Equality and Human Rights Commission https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en

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