complaints 250

Monday, August 20, 2018
The School / School Policies / Equality and Diversity


Portsmouth English Language School (PELS) provides services to a wide and diverse population of both students and staff and this very diversity is one of the institution's greatest strengths. In order to consolidate and build upon this diversity, it is essential that equality of opportunity and the absence of unfair discrimination be at the core of all the school's activities.

The school recognises the link between equality and quality and will not unfairly discriminate in the recruitment or general treatment of staff or students on the basis of race, colour, ethnicity, ethnic origin, national origin, gender, marital status, disability, religion or belief, sexual orientation, age or any other factor.

The school is committed to promoting and developing equality of opportunity in all its functions and will seek to do this by:

- communicating its commitment to equality and diversity to all members of its community.

- communicating where responsibility lies for equality issues.

- providing training for and briefing staff and students.

- developing mechanisms for implementation, monitoring, evaluation and review.

- taking positive action to redress any gender, racial or other imbalances in the workforce.

- treating acts of discrimination as a disciplinary offence.


The management (Owner of the school and Director) have responsibility for ensuring that the school operates within the legal framework for equality and for implementing the policy throughout the school. However, each member of the school community is responsible for preventing unfair discrimination which is within their control to prevent.

The Director is responsible for keeping the Owner of the school informed of all developments made in this area and for making appropriate staff aware of any specific responsibilities that relate to their work within the school.

The Legal Framework

Unlawful discrimination can take the following forms:

Direct Discrimination - This occurs where a person is treated less favourably than others because of their colour, race, ethnicity, ethnic origin, nationality, national origin, gender, disability, religion or belief, and sexual orientation.

Indirect Discrimination - This occurs by applying a provision, criterion or practice which disadvantages people on the grounds of race, gender, religion or belief, age or sexual orientation and which cannot be justified as a proportionate way of achieving a legitimate aim.

Victimisation - This occurs where an individual has exercised their rights under

equality legislation (or has indicated that they intend to do so) and is treated less favourably as a direct result. It applies equally to a person who is supporting (or indicates that they intend to support) another person who is exercising their rights under the legislation.

Positive Action - Positive Action is a term within the Sex Discrimination Act 1975, the Race Relations Act 1976, the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003 and the Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003. Positive Action is allowed when an employer can demonstrate underrepresentation within the organisation as a whole or at certain levels or in certain types of jobs. In these circumstances the employer can offer encouragement to the under-represented group(s) to apply for job or training opportunities, or can offer training to those groups to help them compete for opportunities.

Current relevant legislation comprises the following:

i. Equal Pay Act 1970;

ii. Health & Safety at Work Act 1974;

iii. Sex Discrimination Act (SDA)1975;

iv. The Race Relations Act (RRA) 1976 as amended by the Race Relations

(Amendment) Act (RRAA) 2000;

v. Disability Discrimination Act (DDA)1995;

vi. Prevention from Harassment Act 1997;

vii. Human Rights Act (HRA)1998;

viii. Part-Time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2000;

ix. Fixed-Term Employees (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2000;

x. Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003;

xi. Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003;

xii. Gender Recognition Act 2004.


The DDA aims to end discrimination suffered by people with disabilities and gives rights in the areas of employment and access to goods, facilities and services. The DDA defines disability as someone with "a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on his ability to carry out normal day-today activities."

The school will ensure that it does not treat disabled employees less favourably.

Reasonable adjustments will be made for applicants for posts and for staff who become disabled during the course of their employment. The school is going to seek advice from a consultant who will be able to determine what reasonable adjustments can be made to the building to meet the DDA. Where possible, an employee can seek to be redeployed.

The Special Educational Needs and Disability Act 2001 (SENDA) introduces the right for applicants or students with disabilities not to be discriminated against in education, training and any services provided wholly or mainly for students. The school will not turn away any students with known special educational needs and will endeavour to arrange appropriate support from an external agency at an additional cost. If a particular educational need is identified through the tutorial system, the learner will be advised of options available to them as well as the costs. We do not currently have facilities to accommodate physically disabled students.


The RRA makes it unlawful to discriminate against someone on the basis of their race, colour, ethnicity, ethnic origin or national origin. The Race Relations

(Amendment) Act (RRAA) Act 2000, places a general duty on public authorities to promote race equality and a specific duty on educational institutions to assess the impact of all their policies on students and staff of different racial groups. Under this legislation, there is a positive duty to monitor by racial group the admission and progress of students and the recruitment and career progress of staff.


The Sex Discrimination Act (SDA) 1975 makes it unlawful for employers and other organisations to treat a person less favourably on the basis of their gender. As an employer, PELS will not discriminate in recruitment, promotion, access to training opportunities and in the provision of benefits, goods or facilities. The school has a duty and will not discriminate against students on the basis of their gender in selection for places or in the way it provides access to benefits, facilities and services.


The school recognises that its staff, students and visitors have the right to a working, learning and social environment free from intimidation caused by harassment. Harassment occurs when someone's actions or words are unwelcome and violate another person's dignity or create an environment that is intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive. Harassment is unacceptable and, where proven, will be treated as a disciplinary offence.

Health and Safety

The school recognises and accepts responsibility as an employer for providing, so far as is reasonably practicable, a safe and healthy environment for its employees, students and visitors. The first point of contact for health and safety issues is the Director, based on the first floor in the Nelson room. Copies of Health & Safety policies and procedures are available from the Director.

Sexual Orientation and Religion or Belief

The Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003 and the

Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003, making it unlawful to

discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and religion or belief, came into force in December 2003. As an employer, PELS will not discriminate in recruitment, promotion, access to training opportunities and in the provision of benefits, goods or facilities. The school will not discriminate against students on the basis of their sexual orientation or religion or belief in selection of places or in the way it provides access to benefits, facilities and services.


The Government introduced legislation in 2006 to prohibit discrimination at work and in vocational training on the grounds of age. The school is committed to treating staff and students fairly regardless of age and will not condone unfavourable treatment on this basis.

Training and staff development

Training will be provided to ensure that the school complies with the relevant legislation. The aim, however, is to go beyond compliance and empower staff and students to act positively and equitably by creating and maintaining an environment where equality of opportunity is promoted. All staff will have access to and information on training and development opportunities, including part time staff and those for example on maternity leave. Use of regular staff development sessions, staff meetings and appraisals will assist in the process of identifying and rectifying areas of imbalance in the provision of training and promotional opportunities.

Grievance and Disciplinary

All acts of discrimination will be treated as a disciplinary offence. The school will move towards a common procedure for all staff for disciplinary and grievance situations, to prevent any discrimination against particular groups. Staff will be given details of the school's Grievance and Disciplinary Procedure at the start of their employment, and will have access to it when requested thereafter. Students will be given details of the school's Complaints Procedure as well as Code of Conduct with disciplinary procedures in the Student Handbooks at the commencement of their courses, and they will have access to them when requested thereafter.

The effectiveness of this policy is dependent upon the support and cooperation of staff and students. It has therefore been agreed in consultation with the school's staff, students and management. The policy came into effect on 1st September 2009.

Portsmouth English Language School


 “I came to PELS to improve my English. I chose it because it looked nice and it was next to my place. In PELS, I did morning courses with Marc and IELTS courses with Betty, Claire or Laura. My English improved a lot and I met a lot of people in this school. I went to different activities such as...

Erell, 24 y.o. from France

"I arrived in the UK with no idea of English and with the only aim to learn it, so I joined PELS. Thanks to PELS, I met amazing people from different parts of the world. The PELS team helped me to improve my English to the point that I am now able to speak fluent English. I passed my IELTS...

Pol, 21 y.o. from Spain

“I did learn a lot with the lessons and I am really happy of the courses. The teachers are very good, each of them has own way to teach. I haven’t been disappointed. Thanks to the teachers and the staff. I’ve learned a lot. Adrien, 18 y.o. from Belgium, C1

Adrien, 18 y.o. from Belgium

“I had very useful lessons. The teachers try to push you to the next level.I also enjoyed the activities organised by the school which helped me to improve my English language at the same time.” Khalaf, 18 y.o. from Kuwait, B2/C1

Khalaf, 18 y.o. from Kuwait

“I came to PELS because I needed to improve my English in order to get a high score in the IELTS exam. I met lovely people from different countries who helped me to practise my speaking skills. I found the lessons very useful for the IELTS exam preparation. I learnt a lot about the exam structures and strategies to improve...

Cristina, 34 y.o. from Spain

“I came to PELS to improve my English. In class, we did grammar, played some games and we spoke. I met some new friends here. I lived with my cousins and aunt and uncle.” Beatrice, 17 y.o. from Italy, B1

Beatrice, 17 y.o. from Italy

“I came to PELS because I wanted to improve my English. It has improved thanks to my teachers. Now my vocabulary is better and I can speak with other classmates. I had a nice trip to London which I enjoyed very much. My life in the host family was good because I was independent and they were very kind and...

Samantha, 23 y.o. from Italy

“Coming to PELS was a good experience to meet new people from all over the world and to improve my English. It also helped me to socialize more and discover other lifestyles. Yes, it was a great experience.” Zaineb, 16 y.o. from Tunisia, A2

Zaineb, 16 y.o. from Tunisia

“I came to PELS because a friend told me she had been here to learn English. At the beginning I didn't speak English very well but thanks to PELS I really improved it and now I can speak it better. I loved Portsmouth and Southsea. Being an Aupair I stayed in host family in Southsea and I looked after two...

Andrea, 24 y.o. from Spain

 “I came to PELS to improve my English and I can now talk in English more easily. Asa is the best teacher. I like my host family. The City of Portsmouth is very nice and I want to come back.” Alexandros, 17 y.o. from Greece, A2

Alexandros, 17 y.o. from Greece

“I came to PELS because I like the UK.  I’m bad at English but day by day, I feel improvements. People at PELS are sociable and the teachers are excellent. My life with my host family is good. The City of Portsmouth and the UK are beautiful and fun.” Khaled, 19 y.o from Tunisia, A1 “Lessons are absolutely beneficial and delivered by...

Khaled, 19 y.o. from Tunisia

“My teacher Claire is really friendly and it is easy to talk with her. She enjoys talking about everything and she is very flexible with her lessons. I really enjoyed the subjects and the course in general” Noemie, 20 y.o. from France, C1

Noemie, 20 y.o. from France