I just wanted to feedback to you after our school ran a series of workshops using the FIT DVD. Here at Severn Vale School in Quedgeley we run several ‘flexible learning’ days across the year. These are days where pupils are taken off timetable to work on specific tasks. After the Stonewall conference I asked the school if I could borrow the 16 tutor group representatives from year 7 to work with me on an ‘Equality Day’ using the FIT DVD and looking at homophobic bullying in particular.
Although the success of the day will only truly be judged by monitoring any changing attitudes and behaviours in the school, I feel that the day was a massive success. The pupils found out a great deal of things that they didn’t know and I found out a great deal about the ideas and opinions of some of our pupils.
The focus was mainly on homophobic bullying and the use of the word ‘gay’ as a pejorative and it was well received by the students. They produced posters on ‘how not to use the word gay’ and what a student should do if they are being bullied in the school, listing all of the positive help in place at Severn Vale. The group also produced role plays demonstrating their expectations of certain stereotypes in order to show how unfair stereotypes can be.
Something that I was surprised at was just how much they craved knowledge on the subject of sexuality and how little they actually knew. Questions like: can someone be attracted to both men and women? Do you have to decide if you like boys or girls? Can Muslims be gay? All were things that we discussed and the whole group were incredibly mature and keen to learn.
There were a couple in the group who said that if their best friend ‘came out’ to them then they would ‘run away screaming’ but they were able to articulate exactly why they felt that way without saying anything offensive, simply the fact that their friend hadn’t told them before, that they wouldn’t trust them not to keep other secrets from them or that they would feel that they didn’t know their friend as well as they thought.
The whole group were keen to discuss their opinions and ideas and I feel that it was a very positive day. I was impressed by the level of maturity of the group and the strong belief in equality that they were keen to promote.
I would definitely want to run the session again with more pupils, I feel that the school’s peer mentoring group would benefit greatly from it and I am sure that it would be beneficial to integrate the DVD into the PSHE curriculum.
I am incredibly grateful to Stonewall for producing such an essential resource in the FIT DVD and I look forward to using some of your other resources for the staff training that I will be delivering from September.
Severn Vale School