The Equality Act 2010 prevents direct or indirect discrimination, harassment and victimisation against students on the grounds of the protected characteristics. All public bodies, including publicly-funded higher education institutions have additional duties under the Equality Act 2010 (known as the Public Sector Equality Duty) and  are required to give due regard to:

  • the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation; advance equality of opportunity between people who do and do not share a protected characteristic;
  • and to foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not share a protected characteristic.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) is responsible for regulating compliance with the Equality Act 2010 and the PSED.

The Office for Students has equality of opportunity built into a number of its functions, through one its primary regulatory aims: ‘to ensure that all students, from all backgrounds with the desire and ability to undertake higher education are supported to access, succeed in and progress from higher education’.

This is primarily delivered through access and participation plans, where providers are required to demonstrate due regard to equality and diversity in designing its access and participation plans, as is its responsibility under the Equality Act 2010.

Associated Organisations

  • EHRC – the Equality and Human Rights Commission is the regulatory body responsible for enforcing the Equality Act 2010.
  • EASS – the Equality Advisory and Support Service offers advice and support on issues relating to equality and human rights across England, Scotland and Wales.
  • Advance-HE – the HE sector agency which provides advice, guidance, policy support and leadership on issues relating to equality, diversity and inclusion, leadership, governance and management and learning and teaching.


The EHRC has a resources page which includes guidance specifically for the education sector.

The EASS advice and support page helps to simplify the 2010 Equality Act and enable users to see how it might be relevant to their situation. Also, for expert information, advice and support about equality and discrimination, you can directly contact EASS through their contact page.

Advance-HE has a resources area of their website with some freely available (and some subscription-only services for members of the organisation) guidance, including about relevant equality legislation.

Office for Students have compiled data relating to equality and diversity, reporting the number of students in higher education by variables such as gender, age, disability and ethnicity. View the key findings here.

To view all the materials available on Safe Campus Communities visit our resources page.

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Role Specific Guidance

Freedom of Speech