The difference between equality and equity has been occupying my mind recently. It is common to hear children exclaim that something isn’t fair. In an exam, it might be expected that each child would have an equal amount of time to complete a paper and have access to an equal number of resources...this would seem fair at first glance to most children. The problem is, though it is equal, it certainly isn’t equitable.
Equality aims to promote fairness, but it can only work if everyone starts from the same place and needs the same help to enable them to succeed. However, typically, pupils require different resources and levels of help to succeed. This is why equity is important. Equity appears unfair, but it actively moves everyone closer to success by “levelling the playing field.” It acknowledges that not everyone starts from the same place and, therefore, not everyone has the same needs to enable them to succeed. In this way, it would be equal to give all children a written text to read but it would be equitable to give a visually impaired child a braille copy or an audio copy. It gives them what they require as individuals to succeed.
Albert Einstein once said that, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid”. And this is the crux of our belief as a school. We have a school filled with individuals so we must take great care not to treat everyone the same but to give them precisely what they need to be able to thrive and succeed.
John F Gilmour