MAEL is committed to a policy of equal opportunity, particularly in the fields of staff recruitment & employment and in the treatment of learners. The UK Equality Act 2010 covers nine protected characteristics which may not be used to treat people unfairly. These are:

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

Overseas teaching centres are expected to follow the same principles, whether enshrined in local laws or not, as well as observing any additional equality legislation applicable in the country of operation.

4.8.1 Equal Opportunities Policy

Staff and Recruitment

 The Company aims to treat all individuals equally in the way they are recruited, selected, trained, managed and considered for promotion. Any alleged breach of this principle will be investigated in line with the published investigation procedures, adhering to the timelines therein, and action taken accordingly.
 The Company will ensure that no job applicant or employee will receive less favourable treatment on the grounds of age, gender, marital status, race, religion, colour, cultural or national origin or legally acceptable sexuality, which cannot be justified as being necessary for the safe and effective performance of the work or training for the work. This will be assured through the use of job descriptions and personal specifications as the sole criteria for employment.
 A similar approach will be expected from staff in their relations to colleagues. Any breach hereof will be dealt with through the company’s complaints and grievances procedures, following the timelines therein.
 Staff are expected to use language which is non-discriminatory and challenge language used by other staff members which promotes preconceptions relating to gender, sex, race, age or religion. Other staff are encouraged to challenge stereotypical or discriminatory language, and, if it persists, to refer the matter to their line manager using the complaints/grievance procedure herein.
 The Company is committed to treating all staff equally within the posts that they hold (i.e. if two staff have the same job they will receive identical treatment and remuneration.)

All these points come under the remit of the MD.

Teaching Centres and Learners

 The Company is committed to ensuring that teaching centre staff members treat all colleagues equally and do not discriminate against any person. Any alleged breach will be dealt with using the company’s grievance and complaints procedures. Any allegation will be protected under the terms of the whistle-blowing policy.
 The Company will insist (by precept and example) that all associates treat each other with respect regardless of gender, race, religion, social class or disability, through a requirement for the adoption and monitoring of an equal opportunities policy.
 Teaching Centre staff are expected to encourage positive role models, and promote non-stereotyped images. Books and equipment will be selected to promote such images of both men and women, boys and girls.
 Centres will be expected to teach adult learners to encourage all children to join in all activities. This would imply that boys will be invited to join in activities such as cookery, for example, and girls with activities involving woodwork, etc.
 Centres will be expected to review the childcare practices regularly within the associated teaching practice sites, in order to remove those practices which discriminate unfairly on the grounds of gender, marital status, race, colour, nationality, national or ethnic origins, religion or belief, sexual orientation, age, trade union membership or (unless justified) disability or because his or her name appears on a prohibited list (i.e. a list of known trade union activists).
 Centre staff are expected to use language which is non-discriminatory and politely challenge language used by other staff members/learners which promotes preconceptions relating to gender, sex, race, age or religion and to encourage and promote a similar approach by their learners. If the challenge is not accepted then the formal grievance procedure should be instigated.

Reasonable Adjustments

A reasonable adjustment is a change to an assessment task (or its administration) which is designed to allow a disabled or otherwise disadvantaged learner (or a learner whose membership of a minority group has the potential to disadvantage them) to demonstrate their skills, knowledge or understanding to the standard required for the qualification. Reasonable adjustments will be made if any person can demonstrate that particular feature(s) of the qualification disadvantage them on account of them having one of the protected characteristics covered by the Equality Act 2010. Making reasonable adjustments is a legal duty.

UK equality law recognises that bringing about equality for disabled people may mean (in the context of MAEL’s modus operandi) changing the way training & assessment are structured, removing physical barriers to, or providing extra support for, a disabled learner. This is the duty to make reasonable adjustments. This duty applies equally to non-UK teaching centres. The objective of a reasonable adjustment is to ensure that, as far as is reasonably possible, a disabled person has the same access to assessment and to demonstrating their level of attainment as a non-disabled person.

For the purposes of making reasonable adjustment(s) a disabled person is a learner who has physical or mental impairment(s) that have substantial (i.e. not minor or trivial) and long-term (i.e. lasting or expected to last over 12 months) effects on their ability to undertake normal day to day activities. Certain conditions (e.g. cancer, HIV and MS) are deemed to render someone disabled from the time of diagnosis.

The duty to make reasonable adjustments is an on-going one. Thus if an adjustment is ineffective an alternative must be implemented. The cost of any adjustment must be borne by MAEL or the teaching centre as appropriate, and no additional fee shall be levied from the disabled learner.

A reasonable adjustment may involve alterations to the premises to make them disabled-user friendly; such measures could include:
1. Providing a wheelchair ramp in an older building
2. Providing ergonomic furniture
3. Adjusting the lighting in the room used for assessment
4. Providing a separate room for learners with social anxiety disorder or if they are using assistive technology/an amanuensis which might distract other learners.

A reasonable adjustment may involve allowing the use of mechanical, electronic or other aids in order to demonstrate achievement, as long as they:
1. Are generally commercially available (including specially adapted assistive technology) e.g. coloured filters, low vision aids, CCTV, OCR scanners
2. Reflect the learner’s normal way of working such that the learner is reasonably proficient in their use
3. Enable the learner to meet the specified learning outcome
4. Do not give the learner an unfair advantage

A reasonable adjustment may involve relaxing the rubric on presentation of work by, for example:
1. Presenting materials or documents in a way that reflects the learner’s normal way of working and enable him/her to demonstrate achievement of the relevant learning outcome, e.g. presenting in a non-written format, enlarged format or by an on-screen method
2. Allowing the learner to present their answers or evidence in any format that enables them to demonstrate competence e.g. verbal (using an electronic recording device such as a memory stick or audio cassette) or on-screen responses
A reasonable adjustment may involve making adjustments to time constraints; such measures could include:
1. Allowing flexi-time working/training
2. Discounting disability-related absences
3. Giving extra time for an assessment (unlimited extra time will not be permitted. The amount should reflect the extent to which the completion of the assessment will be affected by the learner’s difficulty and it is the Centre’s responsibility to specify the amount needed. Extra time will also not be allowed in the assessment of practical activities where the timing is a crucial part of the assessment.)
4. Giving extra time for the completion of all the assessments in the qualification
5. Allowing supervised rest-breaks (provided that examination conditions still prevail and that the time is not deducted from the assessment time.)

A reasonable adjustment may involve the use of access facilitators, including:
 A reader, providing that comprehension of the written word is not an assessment criterion, that the reader is completely independent of the learner, and that the reader reads only as requested by the candidate, offers no interpretation or expansion of the task, may read answers but not proof-read and should not advise on adherence to the rubric, merely rad it clearly.
 An amanuensis (aka ‘scribe’) may be employed (and may combine the role with that of reader) providing their use does not affect the assessment requirements, is separately invigilated, and the amanuensis makes no contribution to the learner’s responses.
 A BSL interpreter may be employed (at the expense of the Centre) but must observe the limitations of the roles of both amanuensis and reader.
 A transcriber may be used if the learner’s handwriting is illegible but they are unable to use on-screen alternatives or responses are produced in Braille, if the transcript is produced immediately after the assessment, under examination conditions, dies not involved translation from a foreign language, not correct spellings (unless necessary for comprehension and then in green ink to differentiate from marking & verification processes) or alter content in any way
A reasonable adjustment may involve modifying equipment, such measures could include:
 Raising equipment shelves
 Providing easy-grip items
 Use of a special keyboard for the arthritic
 Providing additional or alternative lighting
 Providing suitable alternative furniture e.g. chairs with adjustable heights or arm rests
 Removing visual/noise distractions from the environment

A reasonable adjustment may involve providing additional support, such measures could include:
 Providing an amanuensis for severely physically disabled learners
 Making instructions available on a CD or orally
 Allowing a reader or interpreter (but not for foreign language translation) particularly in British Sign Language

No adjustment shall be approved if it constitutes any sort of risk to any individual’s health or safety. If there is any such concern, a qualified individual at the Centre shall carry out a risk assessment. If there is a risk and reasonable adjustment does not obviate it, then the Centre will request MAEL to provide an alternative task. The will be considered by the CE in order to ensure that any such alternative does not put the disabled candidate at either any advantage or disadvantage with respect to the rest of their cohort, that the task satisfies the need to assess the relevant learning outcome(s) and that the risk to health and/or safety has been removed.

No adjustment shall be approved if the learner has used an alternative means of producing evidence of competence and the method used does not have equal rigour to that used by other learners. It will also not be approved if the demands of the criteria have not been fulfilled. Assessment criteria must not be amended, re-ordered or omitted.

If, as part of an MAEL qualification, there are optional or alternative assessments or units, and the CE reasonably decides (or a learner reasonably complains) that there is a material difference in the level of demand of the options which is likely to disadvantage learners taking one or other of the options, the CE will authorise a reasonable adjustment to the criteria against which the task is to be assessed, in order to prevent any prejudice. If such an adjustment is made, the CE will ensure that the adjustment is applied uniformly in the marking of every task where learners have taken the option in question.

It is not possible to enumerate every possible adjustment and so these measures do not constitute a definitive list and the duty of making adjustments needs to be interpreted generously. Whenever a reasonable adjustment is made, an entry will be made by the CE into a log for future reference. Also, should a situation arise where a reasonable adjustment is not made (and the disadvantage consequently retained), it will also be entered into the log, with a full explanation.

A reasonable adjustment may also be necessary if, with respect to optional alternative assessment tasks, MAEL staff or verifier(s) reasonably conclude that there is a material inconsistency in the level of demand between the two tasks (despite the CE being instructed to avoid any such eventuality) and thus a group of learners has been disadvantaged. The criteria against which one of the tasks is assessed will be adjusted and every learner taking that assessment will have the new criteria applied.

Applying for a reasonable adjustment:

Any learner who feels they have a case for a reasonable adjustment should first approach their tutor to see if a satisfactory adjustment can be made immediately without going through a formal process. If this is problematic then a formal application should be made. This may be by letter or (preferably) on the form provided below, and sent or handed to the Teaching Centre principal. The application must be made not less than four weeks before the anticipated assessment, to allow sufficient time to arrange any necessary adjustment(s).

The application will be forwarded to MAEL with the Teaching Centre’s comments and a decision forwarded to both the Centre and the learner within two weeks of receipt by MAEL. Any response is open to appeal (using the procedures described) and if this goes over the date of the relevant assessment, the learner may repeat it without penalty.  A referral form may be downloaded here.


Making a Complaint of Unequal Opportunity

Any complaint relating to this policy must be dealt with using the published grievance procedure which is part of the malpractice and maladministration policy (see section 4.11). Anonymous complaints will not be accepted but full confidentiality may be granted if requested. Any instance of the equal opportunities policy not being followed may be referred to the MD of MAEL by any means or, optionally, a referral form may be downloaded, click here





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