Arkwright Primary School

Protected Characteristics


The 2010 Equality Act makes it an offence to discriminate against a person due to their protected characteristics.  At Arkwright Primary School, we teach all of the children what protected characteristics are and how they affect life.  In KS1, we introduce the children to all of the 9 protected characteristics and in KS2, explore them in more detail.  This is usually alongside the PSHE Matters curriculum and in whole school assemblies.


To find out more about what protected characteristics are and what they mean, please see below:

It is against the law to discriminate against someone because of:

  • age
  • disability
  • gender reassignment
  • marriage and civil partnership
  • pregnancy and maternity
  • race
  • religion or belief
  • sex
  • sexual orientation

These are called protected characteristics.


A person belonging to a particular age (for example 32 years old) or an age range (for example 18 to 30 years)


A person has a disability if she or he 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 activities.

Gender reassignment

The process of transitioning from one sex to another.

Marriage and civil partnership

 Marriage is a union between a man and a woman or between a same-sex couple.  Same-sex couples can also have their relationships legally recognised as 'Civil Partnerships'.  Civil Partnerships must not be treated less favourably than married couples (except where permitted by the Equality Act).

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 non-work context, protection against maternity discrimination is for 26 weeks after giving birth, this includes treating a woman unfavourably because she is breastfeeding.


Refers to the protected characteristics of race.  It refers to a group of people defined by their race, colour and nationality (including citizenship) ethnic or national origins.  

Religion and belief

Religion refers to any religion, including a lack of religion.  Belief refers to any religious or philosophical belief and includes a lack of belief.  Generally, a belief should affect your life choices or the way you live for it to be included in the definition. 


A man or woman.

Sexual Orientation

whether a person's sexual attraction is towards their own sex, the opposite sex or to both sexes.