What is the definition of an education provider?

Any organisation providing training or education - from a school to a college to a workplace training specialist - is defined as an education provider, and should follow the requirements set out here, and in other government guidance, on how they should promote equality and diversity and protect people's rights.

However, there are some differences between the legal requirements for different types of education providers. Independent schools, for example, do not have the same legal duties when it comes to promoting equality as state schools (though it is generally assumed to be good practice for independent schools to follow the same principles and processes as state schools). Colleges and universities generally set their own policies on diversity and equality, while most state schools have their policies set by the local authority education department (or education authority in Scotland).

Throughout this section, where a requirement only applies to certain education providers, this is expressly stated.

The term 'education providers' includes:

  • Early education providers - this covers any nurseries, schools or playgroups providing education and care for pre-school children. Some of these are run by, or funded by, local authorities or education authorities.
  • State schools - this covers all primary (ages four-11) and secondary (11-16) schools who are funded by the local authority education department (or education authority in Scotland). Often the responsibility for promoting equality and diversity and tackling discrimination within state schools lies with the local authority education department, or education authority, which funds them.
  • Independent schools - this covers schools that are not dependent on funding from local authorities.
  • Further education colleges and, in England, sixth form colleges.
  • Higher education colleges and universities.
  • Workplace or other private training providers.

In this section, the term 'pupils' is used to refer to school pupils (of any age). The term 'students' refers to university or college students (normally at least 16 years' old).

Last Updated: 02 Jul 2009