Clause 84

Part of Equality Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 7:30 pm ar 23 Mehefin 2009.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Vera Baird Vera Baird Solicitor General, Attorney General's Office 7:30, 23 Mehefin 2009

As the hon. Gentleman said, clause 80 will provide protection for children to ensure that the curriculum is taught in a way that does not subject pupils to discrimination. Clause 84 replicates a provision in the Equality Act 2006 and extends it to other protected characteristics. This is about clarifying the full educational freedoms of schools to decide what resources to use so that they will not have to justify or defend themselves from accusations of discrimination when they are following a reasonable and balanced approach to a curriculum. If we do not include the exemption, it would be possible for schools to be faced with cleansing the curriculum itself for indirect discrimination. For example, it would be very uncomfortable if a Jewish boy made a claim for discrimination for being taught “The Merchant of Venice”. It would be difficult for a school to cope with that, and it would get bogged down in having to justify itself. Whatever is taught needs to be taught appropriately, and teaching practices need to be fully inclusive. It is not the Bill’s intention that schools should be barred or discouraged from teaching the full curriculum with ideas that challenge pupils and lead to open and honest discussion and contemplation, which is why we think the clause is necessary.