Diversity & Equality Policy

Equality and Diversity Policy

In the UK, equality is about promoting and fostering every individual’s right to be different. There are Laws in place to protect us from discrimination and to ensure we are valued as individuals, with the right to your own beliefs and values.

Diversity means varied and different.

Diversity, therefore, is about more than equality; it’s about creating a culture that values individual differences and variety for the benefit of society, individuals and our organisation.

Policy Statement

The Academy is a place where physical, social and economic barriers to access are minimised, we aim to create a working/learning environment that is welcoming and supportive and where everyone accepts their responsibility to uphold equality and show respect. Embedding equality and diversity in everything we do is important for our learners, our staff and the communities we serve. We strive to provide a learning experience that includes everyone.

Mission Statement

Smart Dental Academy aims to deliver high quality dental nurse training to all learners, by putting them in the centre of all we do, enabling them to reach their potential. We believe in the worth and dignity of each individual. Our aim is to nurture their gifts and talents by providing a caring, challenging and stimulating environment in which effective teaching and learning takes place. We aim to create an optimistic and positive environment that holds high but reasonable expectations of every learner.

Our Values 

At Smart Dental Academy we share a common set of core values. These are the values which define who we are. They help us understand how we should behave and guide us in all the work we do.  We are an open, welcoming and supportive academy. Our commitment to equality and diversity underpins everything we do. We build and sustain positive relationships with many communities.

  • Placing the learner at the heart of all we do
  • Showing courtesy and mutual respect, treating everyone equally and appreciating diversity
  • The key to our success - Learning, teaching and assessment 
  • Empowering learners to achieve their full potential
  • Working collaboratively to achieve high standards and growth

We are committed to working towards equality and to creating and promoting a culture where the diversity and dignity of learners and staff are respected and valued by all. Smart Dental Academy will ensure that all learners and staff, both actual and potential, are treated fairly and respectfully and not discriminated against regardless of age, colour, disability, ethnic or national origin, gender, marital or civil partnership status, pregnancy or maternity, race, religion or belief, or sexual orientation. These are known as ‘protected characteristics’ under the Equality Act 2010.

Our ambition is to ensure, promote and implement Equality and Diversity in all aspects of our training.  

This policy applies to all academy members including employees both full and part-time, self-employed personnel and learners (including apprentices). 

This policy should be read in conjunction with the Disability Rights under the Equality Act, The Human Rights Act and the Anti Bullying and Harassment policy.

The aim of this policy:

The aim of this policy is to achieve equality of care experience by removing any potential discrimination in the way that people are cared for and treated by the academy, including: 

  • People with disabilities
  • People of different sexual orientations
  • Transgendered and transsexual people 
  • People of different races 
  • People on the grounds of their sex
  • People of faith and of no faith 
  • People in relation to their age
  • People in relation to their social class or medical condition 
  • People who work part-time 
  • People who are married or in a civil partnership
  • Women who are pregnant, have recently given birth or are breastfeeding

The purpose of this policy is to:

  • Prevent unlawful harassment, discrimination, oppression and/or victimization in our own practices
  • Maintain good relations between people with a protected characteristic and those who do not share that characteristic, tackling prejudice and promoting understanding 
  • Take active steps to stimulate genuine equality of opportunity and full participation for all
  • Promote best practice throughout the academy structures and to mainstream equality and diversity strategies
  • Provide accessible information - information that can be read or received and understood
  • Communicate support which is needed to enable effective and accurate dialogue 

Legal Responsibilities

The rights of our learners and our staff with regards to discrimination are protected by anti-discrimination legislation including:

  • Human Rights Act 1998
  • Equality Act 2010
  • Part-time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2000
  • Fixed Term Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2001
  • Data Protection Act 1988
  • Employment Right Act 1966
  • Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998

Smart Dental Academy also aims to meet the current General Dental Council and Care Quality Commission standards by positively promoting equality, dignity and human rights for learners and staff.

By adopting this policy, we accept our responsibility to ensure that discrimination does not take place and that everyone is treated fairly and equally. 

Protected Characteristics

The current legislation identifies 9 (nine) protected characteristics defined as follows: 

∙   Age - Where this is referred to, it refers to a person belonging to a particular age (e.g. 32 year

     olds) or range of ages (e.g. 18 - 30 year olds). 

∙   Disability - A person has a disability if he/she has a physical or mental impairment which has a 

     substantial and long-term adverse effect on that person's ability to carry out normal day-to-day 


∙   Gender reassignment - The process of transitioning from one gender to another. 

∙   Marriage and civil partnership - Marriage is defined as a 'union between a man and a woman'. 

     Same-sex couples can have their relationships legally recognised as 'civil partnerships'. 

∙  Pregnancy and maternity - Pregnancy is the condition of being pregnant or expecting a baby.

    Maternity refers to the period after the birth, and is linked to maternity leave in the employment 

    context. In the non-work context, protection against maternity discrimination is for 26 weeks after 

    giving birth, and this includes treating a woman unfavourably because she is breastfeeding. 

∙  Race - A group of people defined by their race, colour, and nationality (including citizenship) 

     ethnic or national origins. 

∙  Religion and belief - Religion has the meaning usually given to it but belief includes religious and 

     philosophical beliefs including lack of belief (e.g. Atheism). Generally, a belief should affect your 

     life choices or the way you live for it to be included in the definition. 

∙   Sex - A man or a woman. 

∙   Sexual orientation - Whether a person's sexual attraction is towards their own sex, the opposite 

     sex or to both sexes

The Equality Act is a basic framework of protection against direct and indirect discrimination, harassment and victimisation in services and public functions, work, education, and associations. It provides protection for people discriminated against because they are perceived to have, or are associated with someone who has, a protected characteristic and applies a uniform definition of indirect discrimination to all protected characteristics. 

We aim to promote the development and delivery of high-quality education opportunities for 16-19 and adult learners regardless of their sex, race, age, religion or belief, married or civil partner status, sexual orientation, pregnancy or maternity, gender reassignment or disability and to foster good relations between staff and learners who share or do not share a protected characteristic.

Smart Dental Academy aim to:

  • Promote equality in the workplace as good management practice
  • Create an environment in which individual differences and the contributions of staff are recognised, respected and valued
  • Actively demonstrate its commitment to supporting and managing disability issues, for learners and staff in an effective, sensitive and respectful manner

  • Ensure that every staff member has a working environment that promotes dignity and respect and is not discriminatory
  • Ensure that no form of bullying, harassment or unlawful discrimination by staff or learners is tolerated
  • Ensure reasonable adjustments are made, as appropriate, for staff with a disability
  • Encourage, support and facilitate the continuing professional development of all staff through a range of training, development and progression opportunities
  • Ensure all staff receive relevant equality, and human rights training and updates
  • Provide regular, effective and appropriate supervision to all staff
  • Provide regular and appropriate opportunities for all staff to give feedback and, where necessary, raise concerns
  • Regularly review all employment practices and procedures to ensure fairness
  • Regard breaches of the equality and diversity policy as misconduct, which could lead to disciplinary proceedings
  • Complaints may be dealt with using the appropriate grievance procedure

For Learners

Smart Dental Academy aim to:

  • Get to know each learner; one of the best ways to foster an inclusive environment in the classroom is by taking the time to understand each individual learner. Their strengths, weaknesses, personality traits, and learning styles will all differ, getting to know these, enables us to ensure that the needs of each individual are met. As a tutor, engaging with your learners at this level, shows that you have a vested interest in their success. 
  • Provide a learning environment where everyone is treated with dignity, respect and fairly, without discrimination 
  • Set clear rules in regards to how people should be treated
  • Challenge any negative attitudes
  • Create an all-inclusive culture for all learners
  • Be clear on the procedures for providing additional support for learners with disabilities 
  • Provide services that are accessible to learners with disabilities and make reasonable adjustments in order to provide a service which meets their needs
  • Provide resources and support for learners with disabilities in a range of formats
  • Keep learner information confidential
  • Identify learners’ specific or individual needs
  • Provide resources and appropriate support
  • Avoid stereotypes in examples and resources
  • Meet learners’ preferred learning styles and providing them with fair access to appropriate assessment
  • Tackle health inequalities through positive promotion
  • Involve individual learners and groups in decisions about the design and delivery of the service
  • Ensure that we create an inclusive learning environment, so that all our learners learn and participate together. An inclusive classroom is one that creates a supportive environment for all learners, including those with learning differences and can also challenge and engage gifted and talented learners by building a more responsive learning environment.

For Staff and Stakeholders

As an employer Smart Dental Academy aims to:

  • As an employer we are committed to equality and value diversity within our workforce. Our goal is to ensure that these commitments, reinforced by our values, are embedded in our day to day working practices
  • Ensure that no job applicant, interviewee or employee will receive less favourable treatment on the grounds of sex, race, age, religion or belief, married or civil partner status, sexual orientation, pregnancy or maternity, gender reassignment or disability 
  • Takes steps to address under-represented groups in our work force 
  • Ensure that individuals are selected and promoted based on their ability to carry out a job, having considered any adjustments necessary that may act as barriers to the participation of people with a protected characteristic.
  • Ensure that decisions about training and development are made based on identified need and not on any other basis

A plan for implementing any changes will be developed in consultation with staff. The Program Director has the overall responsibility for the effective operation of this policy, the responsibility for communicating this policy to the team and for investigating any concerns or complaints under this policy

Putting this policy into practice

We aim to develop and support equality and diversity measures by:

  • Providing services that meets the learners needs/disabilities 
  • Ensuring that care of individuals is planned with their specific needs at the centre
  • Involving groups and individuals in the design of our service
  • Responding positively to the diverse needs and experiences of our learners and the community even when those needs are challenging to deal with
  • Promoting positive action to close equality gaps in access, participation, retention and achievement.
  • We will make reasonable adjustments where necessary for learners taking examinations, in line with awarding body guidelines
  • We will carry out English and Mathematic assessments to identify any learning needs and takes steps to ensure that the learner is fully supported. 
  • We will ensure the integration of equality, diversity and inclusion within all lessons.

Comments and Concerns

Smart Dental Academy welcomes and values any feedback. The Academy views feedback as potential opportunities to learn lessons and improve the service. Any learner, learner’s advocate or member of staff has the right to complain if they feel they have been:

  • Treated unfairly, or without dignity or respect
  • Discriminated against 
  • Unhappy with any treatment they have received
  • Refused support

The concern will be investigated, promptly and efficiently, in a full and fair way, and a full, constructive and prompt reply will be given by the Program Director and appropriate action will be taken.

If you believe you have been treated in any way contrary to this policy or you have any comments on how we can ensure that it works better, please contact Nickie Thompson, Academy Program Director. 

Monitoring and Review

The following data will be monitored by the Program Director to ensure consistency and set targets against set benchmarks:

  • Applications, and success and failure rates for admission to programmes
  • Retention rates
  • Achievement rates
  • Learner employment placement - including satisfaction levels
  • Disciplinary actions
  • Complaints by learners, practices or staff
  • Responses to satisfaction surveys
  • Attendance rates

This policy will be reviewed annually as a minimum. The annual review will consider and incorporate, where appropriate:

  • Changes in legislation
  • Good practice models
  • Feedback from learners and staff
  • Concerns and complaints raised by learners and staff

Governing bodies, staff, learners and stakeholder (including apprentice employers) will have access to the equality and diversity policy and the academy will advertise its commitment to equality via the student handbook and the employer handbook. Its commitment to equality and diversity is underpinned through the tutorial program, the staff training program and the academy website. All members of the academy community will be made aware of action that will take place in the event of any breach of these policies and the monitoring of equality data will be on-going with annual findings presented to governing bodies. The Equality Policy will be revised annually, as a result of this monitoring activity and we will monitor the effectiveness of this policy and the impact on all other relevant policies and practice. This review will happen when necessary and as a minimum annually.

As both an employer and a training provider, the academy wishes to verify our commitment to both the general and specific duty of the Equality Act 2010. 

Disability Access

Smart Dental Academy is committed to complying with the relevant regulations, legislation and the GDC Standards to provide an inclusive environment for all learners. For the purpose of this policy, the term ‘disability’ may include physical and sensory impairments, learning disabilities, chronic or terminal illness and use of mental health services. People are protected from unlawful discrimination through the application of our policies and procedures.

When communicating with learners or staff who have a disability, team members:

  • Ask everyone about their requirements in advance ‘Please let me know if you require any particular assistance’ and must be able to respond accordingly
  • Do not patronise, make assumptions or think they know best
  • Are ready to help, but never impose it

Are prepared as necessary to:

  • Sit or bend down to talk to a person at his or her eye level
  • Offer a seat or help with doors
  • Let the person take their arm for guidance or support
  • Offer the use of equipment, e.g. a clipboard as an alternative writing surface
  • Use appropriate ways of communicating, e.g. writing notes if someone finds speech difficult to understand
  • Be courteous, patient and always talk to a disabled person directly, never through his or her companion; never shout or call attention to anyone; never compromise the person’s right to privacy or confidentiality; check to make sure they have been understood

The academy always welcomes views and suggestions on how services or access can be improved.


The Program Director is responsible for ensuring that the Equality and Diversity Policy is implemented in all aspects of the Academy’s strategies, alongside monitoring and reviewing the policies and its objectives which will be produced in an annual action plan.

The program Director is responsible for the monitoring and implementation of all aspects of the Equality and Diversity Policy relating to the employment of staff.  This includes the monitoring of fair selection procedures and their impact on the staff profile. 

 All staff have a responsibility, as stated in their job description and contract of employment, to promote and implement the Equality and Diversity Policy in all aspects of their work.   

Learner employment placements are required to have an Equality Policy.  They will be made aware that the Academy has a clear Equality and Diversity Policy of its own and that it will take action to support any learner who has experienced discrimination of any kind as defined in this policy. 

All staff are responsible for ensuring that: 

  • They are aware of the Academy’s statutory duties in relation to legislation
  • Schemes of work, lesson content and teaching resources are anti-discriminatory and promote equality and diversity. Any prejudice and discriminatory behaviour by learners, learner employment placement providers, outside contractors or other members of staff will be challenged
  • The Academy and its staff will confront discrimination, whether it be deliberate or unknowing, whenever it occurs.

Learner Recruitment

We aim to provide equality of opportunity for all our learners and we welcome applications from all social backgrounds and faiths.  We require that learners support the aims of Smart Dental Academy as expressed in the Mission and Values Statement. 

We aim to expand our learning environment and understanding of learning styles.  Potential learners with disabilities and/or learning difficulties will be assessed positively. 

  • Learners are provided with information and impartial guidance and help which ensures that they embark on programmes of education which match their prior achievement and career objectives
  • Data will be collected from learners on protected characteristics at both the application and enrolment stage to facilitate equality monitoring
  • Learners are asked to complete a “VARK” (visual, auditory, read/write, kinaesthetic) assessment to identify their preferred learning styles, to ensure that all teaching is delivered to meet the needs of each individual
  • No assumptions arising from a protected characteristic will be made about any learner’s suitability for a course
  • Every effort will be made to ensure that learners with a disability are not treated unfavourably, as per our responsibilities under the Equality Act. 
  • The selection of work placements will be informed by this policy. These apprentice employers will be evaluated in terms of this policy

In the first instance, learners should contact their tutor or alternatively our Academic Support Lead (Sarah Tucker) for guidance. The recruitment process invites candidates to disclose if they have a disability/learning difficulty.  Should an applicant indicate a need they will be contacted individually and, if possible, seen before their interview. As far as is possible and practicable, applicants with learning difficulties/disabilities will be interviewed by tutors with a responsibility for learning support. 

Staff Recruitment

The Academy aims to provide equality of opportunity for all staff and welcomes applications from all backgrounds and faiths.  We require that all staff support the aims of the Academy as expressed in the Mission Statement. Equality monitoring will consider the proportion of candidates who apply, are shortlisted and are selected for posts.  This will be completed in relation to protected characteristics and form part of the annual action plan and review of equality objectives. Selection procedures, including questions asked at interview, will be open and transparent and reviewed to ensure they are consistently fair in treating people without prejudice. Each applicant will be assessed according to his/her relevant qualifications, experience and professional competence.  These factors will form the criteria for recruitment and promotion and assist with steps to ensure the needs of candidates with a protected characteristic are met. All staff will be required to complete a DBS - Disclosure and Barring Service check.

The Academy seeks to employ staff to represent the scope of the community’s profile.  

The following data will be collected and monitored by the Program Director to ensure Equality and Diversity is implemented during staff recruitment processes:

  • The staff profile by grade/salary scale, and type of work
  • Job application and selection success rates
  • Type of contract (permanent, temporary, part time, full time)
  • Training / staff development
  • Pay levels (encompassing any requests from staff on possible pay gaps, such as those between men and women)
  • Grievances, disciplinary and capability proceedings

Staff Training/Development 

Equal access to appropriate staff training will be provided both internally and externally, annually for all staff by the Academy.

A continuous programme of staff development will be set out to help ensure equality and diversity are a prominent feature within the Academy; this will be monitored by the Program Director and reviewed annually. The academy’s Equality and Diversity Policy, its objectives and equality training will form part of the induction programme for new staff members and will ensure all staff recognise that they are role models for learners and consequently, ensure that their own approaches to managing young people and other adults is appropriate and inline the with academy’s policies and procedures.

The Program Director is responsible for the organisation of all in-house training, but other aspects of the tutors training are solely their responsibility in accordance with the General Dental Council standards and maintain continual professional development. Each staff member has enrolled in a continued professional development program, allowing access to over 120 training courses. Staff are required to keep a portfolio of the training sessions they have completed and records of this training, are also kept within their personnel file, in line with DPA/GDPR, for audit purposes.

Staff appraisals are carried out initially at 3 months, 6 months, then annually thereafter. 

Should the need arise for a member of staff to alter their working pattern, the Program Director will treat each request individually and will accommodate any changes, where possible to do so.


All the criteria used by the Company that contribute to the decisions for promotion are objective, free from bias, justifiable and must not discriminate unlawfully either directly or indirectly.

Equal opportunities for promotion will always be made available to all staff and no employee should be restricted from promotional opportunities because of their colour of skin, religion, gender or any other discriminatory reason.

It is part of Smart Dental Academy’s equal opportunities policy to ensure that discussions are regularly held with all members of staff, in which employees can talk about how they see their career developing, and ask for any training and support should they wish to progress into more senior roles in the company. 


The academy has clear equality objectives in relation to staffing.  With these in mind, it commits to ensure that job vacancies are available to all sectors of the community regardless of gender sex, race, age, religion or belief, married or civil partner status, sexual orientation, pregnancy or maternity, gender reassignment or disability. All vacancies will be normally be advertised, excepting where an employee with a disability, is transferred to a vacant post, to make a reasonable adjustment in respect of their disability. 

The Academy’s marketing team will recognise and reflect the Academy’s commitment to equality. Images used in publicity materials will set out the Academy’s pledge to advancing equality and will avoid stereotyping.    

Contractors and Visitors

All visitors and contractors will be expected to adhere to the Equality and Diversity Policy and will be informed as such.  All agreements with contractors and other partners will ensure a commitment to equality and diversity.

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