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AFAN Briefing Note – Equalities Act 2010


Equalities Act 2010 – new Religion and Belief strand

Briefing Paper for LSIS/AoC Seminar

1. Introduction
Although Religion and Belief (R&B) has been a strand of the European Equalities Directives since 2001, it has only been given legislative force in the UK as a result of the Equalities Act 2010, which came into force earlier this year. The Religion and Belief strand includes Non-Religious and well as Religious Beliefs.  Atheists and agnostics have the same rights under the legislation as Christians, Muslims, and members of other religions.  
The requirements on colleges in respect of the R&B strand of Equalities and Diversity are similar to those covering other Equalities strands.  Employment issues are primarily were covered in the AoC Briefing Paper covers services and in general, colleges are required to provide equal services to meet the needs of students of all faiths and none.
Note. This briefing paper comes from AFAN-FE (All Faiths and None), a registered charity funded by LSC and LSIS since 2007 to provide resources and services (including CPD) to FE colleges on R&B provision. The team includes Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh and Humanist members, and works closely with LSIS, AoC and fbfe (the National Council of Faiths and Beliefs in FE, which provides national services, and consultancy to colleges setting up multi-faith teams).

2. Typical Services
Chaplaincy.  Most colleges now follow the university model - of a Multi-Faith Chaplaincy - though few colleges can afford the full-time Chaplains typical in universities.  Volunteer multi-faith chaplaincy teams can provide on-campus support for students’ spiritual needs, and many chaplaincies now include a humanist as well as representatives from the main faiths represented in the student population.  
Worship, Prayer etc. In practice many colleges delegate responsibility for colleges’ faith provision in this field (eg organising prayer rooms; faith and worship; spiritual support etc) to a chaplaincy, working with Student Services/Learner Support. Each faith follows different practices and guidance can also be sought locally.
Space.  Most of the current generation of newbuild colleges have included a multi-faith space in their specifications. If not, a room(s) should be designated, and access to Prayer Rooms etc should be available to students of all backgrounds, including those of no faith, not only to those (usually Muslim) which practice daily prayer.
Pastoral Care.  Normally provided by chaplains alongside learner support/advice and guidance, with a two-way referral system to cover spiritual and other personal issues
Foods, Holidays, Festivals etc.  Regulations vary from faith to faith, and sometimes among different groups among those of the same faith. See afan website for calendars and links to websites for different faiths. Guidance can also be sought locally from key groups.
Training.  AFAN CPD sessions can focus on raising staff awareness of any or all the above issues as part of meeting the much increased student interest in matters of faith, belief and values over recent years. Demonstration student workshops on ‘hot topics’ in these areas can also be provided, often sponsored by Student Associations/unions.

CONTACT– for info or CPD: info@afan.uk.net and  visit: www.afan.uk.net 
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