The Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) recently distributed information to many faith based school groups about guidance for schools, which they are intending to produce, alongside guidance for other workplaces. This guidance will, so they say, cover the rights and responsibilities of teachers, head teachers, governing bodies of schools, parents and pupils. It will, eventually, provide us with guidance for voluntary-aided schools with a religious character and how the Marriage Act 2013 interacts with education legislation and equality law. It will show what has changed and what has not changed. So far, so good.
They have told us that they are considering the impact on schools with a religious character and the Equality Act 2010 existing exemptions (such as recruiting teachers and head teachers, pupil admissions and teaching the curriculum) in more detail, although in some cases there may be no impact. They will also consider whether State funded education (beyond teaching about marriage or religious education) through schools with a religious character – our VA schools - is affected by the Marriage Act 2013 in any other ways. Now it gets more challenging.