Policy:
The aims of this policy are to ensure that Bright World encourages good practice in relation to religious, dietary, age, cultural and language diversity; as well as that of gender, gender identity and sexual orientation and promotes harmony and understanding between students and host families of different cultures and religious backgrounds; enable staff to provide practical and sensitive support to students in regard to religious observance, cultural norms, dietary requirements and language assistance where English is not a student’s first language.

The purpose of this safeguarding policy is to ensure that students with specific religious, dietary, age specific and cultural needs are supported by Head Office staff, Local Coordinators, host families and transfer companies.

Age
Bright World Guardianships offers care to students from 9 years upwards. Bright World recognises the different needs of each age group and this is reflected in Host Family policies and different rules which apply to different student age groups in terms of going out and their travel arrangements. The rules relating to students are also detailed in the Student Handbook and Student Charter, which are used to keep the student safe during their stay in the UK.

Religion
Bright World Guardianships embraces and celebrates all religions and denominations. At the point of application for students and host families, information is requested in relation to religion. This information is used by the Accommodation and Travel Department so that where possible students are matched to a host family who will support their religion, or alternatively if exposure to an alternative religion was requested for a student, the information would also be used to ensure a suitable match. Where a student opts for the Relax and Revise programme, arrangements would be made with the provider to ensure that the student has access to a quiet prayer room (either on site or at a religious building), and any other facilities required during the course of their stay, if requested. Religious information relating to students and host families is contained within the Student Profile and Host Family Profile which are sent to both the student and host family. The Student Handbook and Host Family Handbook contain information about adjusting to different cultures and how religion can impact on what a student is able to eat and their preparatory methods. Before a student stays with a host family, information will be sent to notify the host and hostess of any particular food intolerances that exist for example. The Host Family Handbook details a ‘Professional Code of Conduct’ which highlights to families the impact of religion on physical contact with a student for example and the importance of dealing with students respectfully irrespective of religion, age or culture.

Culture
Bright World is proud of the wide cultural diversity of students and host families and takes steps to ensure that cultural differences are respected. Bright World recognises the norms and customs associated with particular cultures and will ensure that students can observe and retain them wherever practicable during their time at with a Bright World host family or during a stay on the ‘Relax and Revise’ Programme.

Food
Where a student has specific food requirements to satisfy particular religious and cultural needs such as vegetarian diets, Halal (Islam) and Kosher (Judaism) foods, details are obtained from the student at point of application and circulated to the host family before the student arrives. Similarly, on the ‘Relax and Revise’ Programme, the student’s specific needs would be accommodated as per the parents requests. In addition, the host families and ‘Relax and Revise’ Programme would also support a student who required gluten-free bread and pasta for religious, cultural or food intolerance reasons.

Students with specific dietary needs
Bright World supports students with specific dietary needs. During the initial online application process the student and/or parents have the opportunity to declare a dietary requirement, and once this has been identified by a member of Head Office staff, details are recorded in the IBOS Student Record ‘Dietary notes’. From here, the information is embedded within the Student Profile which is sent to the host family before the student arrives. This allows the host family an opportunity to discuss with the student and/or Head Office staff the specific requirements for the student. Bright World is very much aware of the dangers of food allergies. During the initial online application process the student and/or parents have the opportunity to declare a food allergy. Where this information is received by Head Office Staff, the Medical Consent Policy is implemented to ensure that full details of the allergy are recorded and that appropriate details are passed to the host family and transfer company. Where a food allergy is not known and becomes evident during the course of the academic year, the Medical Consent Policy would be implemented as soon as Bright World are in receipt of any information to confirm that a student has an allergy.

Language Support
Parents are often keen for host families to speak English in the presence of their child(ren) to improve their language ability. Bright World Guardianships has a Chinese Counsel and Russian Counsel to aid communication with students and parents while in the UK. The host family also plays an important role in highlighting a student who may be experiencing difficulties with the language, and therefore in communicating their needs. The host family provide this feedback either directly to Head Office, or through the Exeat Report and Half Term Care Plan Policy and Process.

Under the Equality Act 2010 we have a duty not to discriminate against people on the basis of their age, disability, gender, gender identity, pregnancy or maternity, race, religion or belief and sexual orientation.This policy has been equality impact assessed is in line with the Equality Act 2010 due to the fairness of the content, and the fact that no student is prioritised or disadvantaged while promoting equality within the company. The practical application of this policy will be reviewed annually or when the need arises by the Senior Management Team.

Transgender-friendly Policy:
We believe this policy relates to the following legislation:

  • Human Rights Act 1998
  • Gender Recognition Act 2004
  • Equality Act 2010

We believe it is our legal duty under the Equality Act 2010 to minimise the distress and disruption to those students, suppliers and staff who are transgender by ensuring we eliminate all forms of discrimination, advance equality of opportunity, promote good relations between different people and to support the rights and needs of trans people to live their lives in their true gender.

We believe people whose gender identity differs from their biological birth sex are known as transgender. At least one per cent of the United Kingdom is transgendered and in a 300 place primary school there is the possibility that at least three children are transgendered. We believe it is our moral and legal duty to protect transgender students and staff from all forms of transphobic bullying and to educate all members of Bright World about the important role that transgender people play in society. All forms of homophobic and transphobic bullying must be challenged, dealt with and recorded. We wish to have and maintain a consistent approach to all transgender matters by supporting, informing, protecting and ensuring that those students, staff and suppliers who question their gender identity achieve their full potential.

We will ensure all transgender students, staff and suppliers are catered for by making the necessary changes or adjustments to company policies and procedures. We believe we provide a secure, caring and happy host family and residential environment during holiday times where students and host families have a mutual respect for each other. We want all students and staff to feel valued as individuals irrespective of their sexual orientation or gender identity. We want everyone to develop to their full potential in a healthy and safe environment where diversity is valued and celebrated and where homophobia and transphobia does not exist.

We all need to be aware that transgender people face real problems and we must do all we positively can to support them by educating the Bright World community by providing knowledge and understanding in order to combat narrow-mindedness and prejudice. We want Bright World to be a transgender friendly company. We acknowledge and support Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child that children should be encouraged to form and to express their views. We believe it is essential that this policy clearly identifies and outlines the roles and responsibilities of all those involved in the procedures and arrangements that is connected with this policy.

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