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Ulverston Victoria High School

Ulverston Victoria
High School

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Protected Characteristics

The term 'Protected Characteristics' was first introduced in The Equality Act 2010. This act identified nine specific characteristics that are protected from discrimination.

The “Protected Characteristics” are:

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Gender reassignment
  • Marriage and civil partnership
  • Pregnancy and maternity
  • Race
  • Religion or belief
  • Sex
  • Sexual orientation

As a school, we have a legal obligation to promote equality and tackle discrimination based on these characteristics. We are committed to ensuring that students have equal opportunities and access to resources regardless of their background and/or identity.


  • We use our School Parliament, Pupil Voice, Head Boy/Head Girl team and The Anti-Racism Committee to ensure students have identified representation across all year groups.
  • We have a very clear reporting bullying process any student can access for themselves or if they are concerned about a peer: Ulverston Victoria High School - Wellbeing.
  • If there is ever an instance where Protected Characteristics are suspected to have been discriminated against, these are investigated by the Head Teacher and Senior Leadership Team

Below is further information detailing each of the 9 Protected Characteristics from Votes For Schools: Votes For Schools - Protected Characteristics

Protected Characteristic - Age 



Student Definition - How old a person is.

Votes For Schools Definition Discrimination based on age is unlawful, and everyone should be treated equitably, regardless of age.


  • Younger students may be seen as immature or inexperienced, while older students may be viewed as more mature or responsible.
  • Additionally, during adolescence, students may experience hormonal changes that can impact their physical and emotional well-being, such as puberty or menstruation.
  • For example, female students may face stigma or exclusion related to menstruation or pregnancy, while male students may face assumptions about masculinity or aggression.
  • These stereotypes can lead to discrimination, negative stereotypes or exclusion from certain activities or opportunities.

Protected Characteristic - Disability 


Student Definition - A person has a disability if they have a physical or mental impairment that effects their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities

Votes For Schools Definition Reasonable adjustments must be made to provide equal opportunities for students with disabilities.


  • Disabled students may face physical and attitudinal barriers that prevent them from accessing education, such as inaccessible buildings, lack of assistive technology or support, or negative attitudes from peers and staff.
  • Disability discrimination can limit students' opportunities and undermine their potential.

Protected Characteristic - Gender Reassignment 


Student Definition - Proposing to or changing from one gender to another. This characteristic also protects gender-fluid and non-binary persons

Votes For Schools Definition Discrimination against transgender individuals is illegal, and they must be treated with dignity and respect.


  • Students who are transitioning may face harassment, bullying, and discrimination from peers and staff who are not supportive of their gender identity.
  • This can lead to poor mental health, social isolation, and academic difficulties.

Protected Characteristic - Marriage & Civil Partnership 


Student Definition - A union between two people in a same-sex or opposite-sex couple. Civil Partners must not be treated differently to married partners.

Votes For Schools Definition Married and civil partnered individuals must not face discrimination.



  • Students with parents or carers who are married or in a civil partnership may face assumptions and stereotypes about their family structure or their ability to focus on their education.
  • Similarly, students with divorced or separated parents may face stigma or negative stereotyping that can impact their self-esteem and well-being.
  • Furthermore, students with same-sex or LGBTQ+ parents may face discrimination or exclusion from certain activities or opportunities based on their family structure.
  • It's important to create a welcoming and inclusive learning environment that respects and celebrates diversity in all its forms.

Protected Characteristic - Pregnancy & Maternity 


Student Definition - During pregnancy & for 26 weeks after birth, women should not be treated unfairly for things such as breastfeeding in public. Women are also entitled to maternity leave after birth.

Votes For Schools Definition Discrimination against pregnant individuals or those on maternity leave is illegal.


  • Pregnant or parenting students may face negative attitudes and stereotypes from peers and staff, such as assumptions that they are less committed to their education or that they cannot succeed academically while also caring for a child.
  • This can lead to social isolation, academic difficulties, and discrimination.

Protected Characteristic - Race 


Student Definition - Refers to a group of people who have similar characteristics such as race, colour, nationality (including citizenship) & ethnic or national origins.

Votes For Schools Definition Discrimination based on race or ethnicity is illegal, and everyone should be treated equitably.


  • Students from ethnic minority backgrounds may face racism, discrimination, and negative stereotyping from peers and staff.
  • This can impact their self-esteem, sense of belonging, and academic performance, as well as limit their opportunities

Protected Characteristic - Religion or Belief 


Student Definition - Whether a person has religious or other beliefs that affect the way they live & the decisions they make.

Votes For Schools Definition Discrimination based on religion or belief is illegal, and individuals' beliefs must be respected.


  • Students from different religious or belief backgrounds may face discrimination, bullying, or negative stereotyping based on their beliefs.
  • This can lead to social isolation, conflict, and exclusion from certain activities or opportunities.

Protected Characteristic - Sex 


Student Definition - Sex refers to whether you are born as a male or female. Gender can be fixed or fluid and is protected under the Gender Reassignment characteristic.

Votes For Schools Definition Discrimination against men, women, and non-binary individuals is illegal.


  • Students may face sexism, gender stereotyping, and harassment based on their sex or gender identity.
  • This can impact their self-esteem, mental health, and academic performance, as well as limit their opportunities.

Protected Characteristic - Sexual Orientation 


Student Definition - A person's attraction to their own gender, the opposite gender or more than one gender.

Votes For Schools Definition Discrimination based on sexual orientation is illegal, including discrimination against individuals who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or any other sexual orientation.


  • Students who identify as LGBTQ+ may face homophobia, biphobia, or transphobia from peers and staff, as well as discrimination or exclusion from certain activities or opportunities.
  • This can lead to social isolation, mental health problems, and academic difficulties.