Equality & Diversity
2011 – 2014
Senior Management Team
At Merton Adult Education we are committed to our mission ‘to provide high quality
learning to the diverse needs of our learners’
We actively welcome and celebrate equality and diversity and value the benefits that
it brings to us, and the wider community. Our strong belief in motivating and
empowering individuals to continue learning throughout their lives is supported by
delivery of a range of provision that meets the diverse needs of our community. Our
vision of ‘Enriching your life through learning’ is bought to life through these
We have been providing high quality courses and qualifications for over 50 years and
currently have over 5000 learners on over 300 courses. To meet the needs of our
diverse and widespread community, we offer courses in multiple locations across the
The community we provide for is wide-ranging and varied. It spans from the more
deprived areas in the East of the borough to the more affluent areas in the West.
Bridging the gap between the East and the West is a key focus for us, and we
actively promote community cohesion and inclusion.
Our ethos of equipping our learners with the skills, qualifications and confidence to
compete in the employment market and improve their economic standing, is
demonstrated through the continuous outreach and partnership work carried out.
The borough we serve is densely populated and has a high level of diversity.
Currently our learners and staff show a very similar picture of groups of ethnicity,
which supports our dedication to creating an inclusive workforce reflective of our
learners and the community.
We are customer focused and pride ourselves on maintaining an environment that
provides an efficient and effective place to learn that is responsive to the needs and
requirements of our diverse learners.
Leadership and staff commitment at all levels of MAE is key to our success. In
everything we do, we consider how we can ensure we seek opportunities to promote
equality and diversity.
Head of Service
Where are we now
Excellent partnership work with schools, children’s centres, libraries, and various
groups including Merton Voluntary Sector Council (NVSC) The South West London
Refugee group, the Chinese Elders group and the Acacia Intergenerational Centre
has led to stronger relationships and increased participation. 33% of our overall
student base were from ethnic minority groups (09/10), a significant increase from
04/05 when there was only 17%.
An embedded approach to widening participation and inclusion over the past few
years has resulted in an upward shift in the ethnic student population and increase in
participation from learners living in disadvantaged wards. We had a total of 1221
students (28%) from disadvantaged wards in 09/10 on a wide range of courses.
Women are well represented at MAE with 79% of all learners in 09/10 being female,
and MAE attracts students of all ages. In 09/10 the number of learners aged 55 and
over increased by 7%.
Our dedicated workforce is key to the high quality service we deliver and the
excellent curriculum provision we offer to our community. We have employees from a
range of backgrounds and ages, which gives us a vast spectrum of knowledge, skills
and experience. We regularly analyse our workforce data and strive to create an
inclusive workforce that is reflective of our community and our learners. Where there
are gaps in information we are working to create an environment where staff and
learners are happy to disclose information. Where there are differences in
representation of certain groups of learners or staff, we re-focus our marketing or
strategies to attract a wider range of people.
We work closely with the Council’s Human Resources team in order to ensure a fair
and consistent recruitment, pay and employment process.
Current staff & student data*
Not Disabled /
Mixed Ethnic Group
*Workforce information sourced from Council figures Jan-Mar 2011. Student figures sourced from internal data 2010/2011.
Performance of ethnic groups on qualification courses improved in all but 2 of the
groups (88%) for achievement and all but 3 of the groups (82%) for success. The
lowest performing ethnic group of learners in 08/09 improved their achievement by
13% in 09/10. We have also seen an improvement in achievement for those learners
that declared a disability or learning difficulty in 09/10.
Additional Learner Support was provided to 79 learners from a range of departments,
in 09/10 to support their learning and achievement. We assisted learners with
learning difficulties, dyslexia, dyspraxia, hearing impairments and physical difficulty.
73% of learners supported went on to achieve.
Our annual Celebration of Achievement evening is a tremendous event, where we
recognise and applaud the achievement of adult learners. Students are nominated by
their peers and tutors for awards, which include overcoming barriers to learning,
older learner award and outstanding achievement. Last years ‘Adult Learner of the
Year’, is an outstanding example of a student gaining confidence, re-building her selfesteem and enjoying being back in the classroom.
Communication and celebration of various events have taken place to raise
awareness in areas such as Black History Month, LGBT History Month,
Remembrance Day, Holocaust Memorial Day, World Aids Day and Refugee Week.
Results of our 2009/10 Student Evaluations confirmed that 96% of learners agreed
that their learning programme including course, studies and learning experience met
their individual needs. 98% of students were satisfied with the whole learning
experience at MAE and 99% were satisfied with the quality of teaching / training on
their course. At the present time, we do not have the information to distinguish if
certain groups of learners are more satisfied than others, and this is something we
are looking at for the 2011/12 evaluations.
Our engagement with many groups across our borough has given us the opportunity
to gather the views, experiences and ideas of those who can help us shape the
service and provision we offer. Successful engagement has led to increased
understanding of learner needs and subsequently providing relevant skills training.
Following engagement with Sutton & Merton PCT provision to develop knowledge
and skills about health and well-being is being run. This has encouraged activities
that will improve health in the community. Engagement with groups focusing on
learning, physical or sensory impairments has been vital to supporting learners with
disabilities. Through engagement with Social Services we provide a course on
Making Friends and Relationships. This supports vulnerable adults with learning
disabilities cope with difficult social situations.
Engagement with representative groups has helped us gain views in areas that are
potentially more sensitive and we do not have quantitative information. GIRES,
Stonewall and the Councils LGBT group, to name a few, have given us valuable
We are currently seeking to establish ways to evidence, report and monitor those
protected characteristics not recorded or reported on at present.
Our Commitment to Equality & Diversity
We actively embed equality, diversity and inclusion into our daily life at MAE and we
oppose discrimination in any form. We have a culture that understands and respects
differences and that takes positive action to tackle unlawful and unfair discrimination
or victimisation against any of the protected characteristics:Age
Religion / belief
Pregnancy / maternity
Marriage / civil partnerships*(* Being married or in a civil partnership is not a protected characteristic for further education provision)
We recognise that both young people and older people face discrimination because of their
age. This can be due to stereotypes or perception, negative attitudes, assumptions and
myths. We believe that learners and staff of any age have the right to equality of opportunity
and make a significant and valuable contribution to our college.
MAE is situated within a borough that is the 18 most diverse borough in London (2010
statistics). Our strength is that we embrace the diversity of our community and have grown our
learner participation significantly over the last three years. We will continue to celebrate and
grow our multicultural environment and combat any race discrimination.
At MAE we promote the independence, well-being and choice of disabled people. We actively
seek ways to ensure that learners and staff with a disability or learning difficulty are treated
fairly and equally in accessing our services, employment, and provision. Research shows that
disabled people are more likely to experience disadvantage and exclusion from day to day
activities because of their impairment. MAE is committed to ensuring an inclusive
environment regardless of ability.
MAE is a college where all learners and staff have the opportunity to be a part of our
environment without the fear of discrimination. We positively encourage participation without
negative or stereotypical attitudes, and we will tackle sex discrimination and sexism and
promote the equality of men and women.
MAE is committed to providing an inclusive and supportive environment. We will ensure
transgender learners and staff are treated with respect and dignity in accordance with the
gender in which they present.
Our Borough is vastly diverse and LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans) people are
represented across community. At MAE we provide accessible and non-discriminatory
provision and services that are inclusive of the needs of LGBT people. We will tackle
homophobic and negative attitudes and ensure our learners and staff can fully participate
without fear of discrimination.
Religion / Belief
We recognise that faith plays an active part in the lives of individual and communities. We are
committed to eliminating harassment, discrimination and exclusion on the basis of religion or
belief. We will promote understanding, mutual respect and acceptance of diversity between
people of faith and no faith.
At MAE we look to provide accessible learning to meet the needs of our learners and
regularly review and upgrade our facilities. Our learning venues are equipped with
tables, desks and chairs of variable heights, portable hearing loops, large keyboards
and mice, voice recognition software, and a range of other accessibility equipment.
MAE Wimbledon (Marlborough Hall) will be undergoing major works in Summer 2011
to make it fully accessible. In the mean time, we encourage learners to contact us if a
course they wish to attend is scheduled at a venue that does not meet their needs.
We set and monitor targets to improve engagement and performance of different
groups of learners. Action is taken to reduce any significant variations in outcomes
between different groups of learners and additional support provided where needed.
We fully recognise our responsibilities for safeguarding vulnerable adults and
children. We are committed to creating a safe environment for all our staff and
learners. There is regular staff training on safeguarding procedures, and processes
are in place to ensure safer recruitment with a view to protecting all vulnerable adults.
All staff are required to promote the principles of equality and diversity across the
college and treat everyone with dignity and respect. Training is provided for staff at
all levels to ensure understanding or their roles and responsibilities.
MAE is committed to ensuring that those contractors that we procure goods and
services from share and implement our equality vision and values. As part of our
contract procedure, we will expect contractors and suppliers to demonstrate that all
practicable steps are being taken to eliminate discrimination, promote equal access
and equal treatment in employment and service delivery.
We actively take due regard to: -
Eliminate discrimination, harassment, victimisation and any other conduct that is
prohibited by or under the Act.
Advance equality of opportunity between persons who share a relevant protected
characteristic and persons who don’t.
Foster good relations between persons who share a relevant protected
characteristic and persons who don’t.
As a learning provider and employer, we are committed to: -
Promoting equal opportunities, social inclusion and human rights
Promoting a positive attitude towards people of different backgrounds, disabled
people and others
Encouraging participation by people of all backgrounds
Ensuring MAE is a safe place to learn and work
Listening and responding to the views of our learners, staff and community
Ensuring the information we produce and the events we hold positively reflect
and promote the diversity of our community
Making it easy for, and encouraging people to use our services, including people
who are vulnerable, disadvantaged or harder to reach
Making sure we always consider equality and diversity when planning and
delivering provision and services
Ensuring enrolment and recruitment processes are non-discriminatory and
encouraging applications from all groups in the community
Monitoring diversity amongst staff and learners
Our objectives are driven by consultation in equality group meetings, and through
engagement with our varied and multi cultural partnerships.
This strategy will be a living document and all activities in these objectives and our
subsequent action plan will be monitored, reviewed and reported on at least once a
1 of 3 Enhance equality in our activities and policies.
Our decisions and curriculum will meet the needs of our diverse community. We will
actively promote equality & diversity among staff, learners, partnerships and others
that we come into business contact with.
SMT and the Equality Group will ensure our objectives are mainstreamed, reviewed
and measured regularly alongside our policies and processes.
Our curriculum positively focuses on our learners needs and enables them to
develop personal & social skills, to enhance or improve their career opportunities and
to provide them with the skills to be more confident in what they do. Our advice and
guidance, and careers advice is of a high quality and enables learners to pursue an
activity that matches their needs and ability.
Strong partnerships exist between the college and a wide range of groups that
provide a valuable insight into the needs of their learners, clients, staff and
customers. Our ‘Wider Participation’ and ‘Bridging the Gap’ plans will be enhanced to
improve participation in those areas that are under-represented and would benefit
greatly from acquiring skills that we can give them through our provision.
Where there is evidence that suggests underperformance or under-representation of
specific groups of learners, we will look for solutions to address the imbalance.
Collection of information from learners and staff in respect of all the protected
characteristics will be investigated and data sources adapted where needed. We
recognise that requesting personal or sensitive data may cause learners / staff to feel
uncomfortable and raise concerns over confidentiality. We will consult with learners,
staff and partnerships to identify the best way to gather this information. We will also
be mindful that low responses on those protected characteristics not currently being
obtained will provide us with an inaccurate picture and therefore not give a useful
measure for celebration or capacity to improve.
2 of 3 Internal & external communication promotes good relations amongst
staff, learners and local communities.
We actively encourage feedback from learners through both our own student
evaluations and the Framework for Excellence Learner Views Survey. We aim to
create an environment where learners feel confident that their views are listened to,
acted upon and that they contribute to the improvement of our provision and/or
service. Results will continue to be reviewed and actions taken to improve our
service. Our findings, actions and “you said we did…” comments are communicated
via bulletins across college.
Promotion and celebration of equality and diversity subjects take place throughout
the year. Engagement with partnerships will improve understanding of subject areas
and foster good relations that help to widen participation and inclusion.
Open days and community events take place across the borough, which brings
together people from a range of backgrounds in a fun and multi cultural way. Both
existing and potential learners can take part in taster sessions that give them an
insight into the excellent provision we have to offer.
Marketing and literature produced by us fully responds to the needs and abilities of
our community and we ensure that regardless of ability our learners are able to
access information they require in respect of the facilities and services we offer.
Our codes of conduct and induction process provides clear understanding of our
dedication to providing a place to learn and work that is safe, and committed to
equality and diversity.
3 of 3 Support workforce self-improvement and promote good practice.
Standards and expectations are in line with Ofsted Common Inspection Framework
key question C4 ‘How effectively does the provider actively promote equality &
diversity, tackle discrimination and narrow the achievement gap’.
We will explore outstanding practice guides and reports and look to implement any
new activities that will enhance the level of service we provide.
Stretch goals will be set for equality and they will be monitored and reviewed to track
progress. Where not being met, action planning and renewed activity will take place
to address shortfalls.
We will monitor our workforce profile and we will work closely with Human Resources
to ensure a recruitment process that is fair, consistent and provides equal
Training is provided for all staff to enable them to ensure equality and diversity is
integrated across college. All staff will be aware of their responsibility in respect of
equality and diversity and understand that discrimination of any kind will not be
Procurement and contracting will take account of equality and diversity and we are
committed to ensuring those we do business with share our expectations and
Our action plan is formed from a self-assessment, against set criteria and standards from an equality framework that facilitates the journey
Enhance equality in our activities and policies
Internal & external communication promotes good relations amongst staff, learners and local communities.
Support workforce self-improvement and promote good practice.
Produce and publicise equality plan including
Embed equality & diversity into all aspects of our
work, supported through leadership.
- Monitor and review action plan in SMT and CDG
- Monitor policies, processes and curriculum at
SMT and CDG meetings and ensure their impact
on equality and diversity before implementation.
- Review advice and guidance success and share
best practice between departments.
- Measure impact of actions and activities we are
- Explore opportunities for carrying out equality and
diversity self-assessment within all departments
that includes methods of teaching, resources and
- Regularly review our facilities to ensure
accessibility to all our venues, or take action to
accommodate learners where needed.
CDO, Equality Grp.
Equality Grp, SMT.
Engage with Partnerships within the community to
meet the needs of our learners.
- Enhance ‘wider participation’ and ‘bridging the
gap’ plans to keep abreast of our changing
community and their requirements.
- Gather feedback from partnerships and action /
implement changes where needed.
- Improve evidence gathering on partnership work
and community cohesion and document in SAR
- Gather evidence on balancing diverse and
sometimes conflicting interests.
- Enhance communication of how different groups
of learners are able to access learning.
- Enhance work already being done in line with
- Support a wide range of local community events
that bring people from different backgrounds
together. Eg Mitcham carnival.
Monitor data to improve inclusion or performance of
specific groups of learners.
- Review data on achievement and provide support
to under-performing groups in order to bridge the
- Review data on protected characteristics that are
collected and reported on and measure against
targets set. Address any imbalance.
- Discuss the gathering of information for those
protected characteristics currently not recorded
MIS Mgr, CDO,
SMT, Equality Grp.
MIS Mgr, CDO,
SMT, Equality Grp.
SMT, Equality Grp,
and identify the best way forward.
Monitor support (ALS or other) provided for
learners and measure impact through learner
Review Census results data and how our
community is reflected.
Encourage learner and staff feedback, report on
results and act on suggestions.
- Actively communicate when surveys are due to
be completed to ensure maximum participation.
- Explore options for reaching a wider audience to
provide more diverse and robust feedback.
- Analyse and publish results, including information
on actions in response to suggestions.
- Explore opportunities for learner representative.
Celebrate and inform on a range of subjects in
respect of equality and diversity.
- Display posters and informative information
across college, and within briefings on subjects
such as Black History Month, LGBT week etc.
- Provide updates on the diversity of learners and
staff for those protected characteristics currently
Discuss community issues / relations in respect of
harassment and hate crimes in safeguarding
SMT, Equality Grp.
CDO, Marketing &
Set stretch goals across departments and monitor
- Discuss performance in equality meetings and
action plan for renewed activity if not being met.
Establish a diverse workforce that is fair, consistent
and supports equal opportunities.
- Monitor workforce profiles and publish results
alongside learner profiles.
CDO, Marketing &
Liase with HR on recruitment to ensure it meets
with the council’s equality & diversity standards.
Provide training to the workforce that enables them to
understand current equality & diversity policy and their
responsibilities within it.
- Include a robust training plan as part of CPD
- Provide updates to training as & when needed.
- Monitor and communicate Ofsted good practice
examples, implementing any changes that will
enhance our service.
- Explore ways to confirm that staff are aware of
their responsibilities eg at induction and annually
Ensure all procurement and commissioned services
take account of the differing needs of service users.
- All staff involved in procuring and commissioning
services are familiar with and follow college guidance
on the equality and diversity requirements and
Head of Service
HoS PA, CDO.