Jen is a primary school teacher from the North West of England. In this blog she discusses her school’s approach to LGBT inclusion and the positive impact it had on the school as a whole.
I work in a primary school in the North West of England and we were really happy to receive the Stonewall Gold Award recently. We completed a whole-school audit, which made it clear we needed more representation of different families in the imagery and resources we use in school. After seeing that Stonewall’s website had lots of resources and training available, I booked myself onto a course.
The course I attended, ‘How to tackle HBT bullying in school’, was informative, friendly and everyone felt comfortable taking part. Over the years, I’ve attended a number of Stonewall courses, and the goal of this type of training is to equip attendees to share their knowledge with the rest of the team back at school. And, armed with lots of resources and knowledge to use when delivering, I felt fully prepared to train the rest of the staff in my school.
The number of HBT bullying incidents has dropped and now teachers and pupils alike feel confident challenging inappropriate language and behaviour.
Since the course, all of our staff have been trained on how to deal with homophobic, biphobic and transphobic (HBT) bullying in school. We have devised a whole-school script both for staff and pupils, which helps them deal with the use of ‘gay’ as a slur, as well as other HBT language. We also have an electronic recording system (CPOMS) and all staff are aware of the importance of reporting, recording and dealing with HBT bullying and any issues surrounding it. The number of HBT bullying incidents has dropped and now teachers and pupils alike feel confident challenging inappropriate language and behaviour.
Equality is core to our school ethos, and LGBT inclusion is a large part of this. Our policies are explicitly LGBT inclusive, and we have a separate policy for supporting trans children and their families. We’ve also devised a document to show how we encourage equality in every aspect of school life, including teaching, which we’ve displayed in all classrooms.
Pupil voice is vital to us, and we have a dedicated Equalities Team who ensure that children are involved in planning the event weeks we hold throughout the year. We use these weeks to raise awareness of different families and relationships, then display the resulting work across the school. Aside from this, we have regular assemblies focusing on different families and relationships, and children are encouraged to talk about their own family setting and bring in photos for displays. We also invite members of the community to talk to the children about different careers, which helps to eliminate stereotyping and encourages pupils to follow their dreams.
As this LGBT-inclusive work has progressed, our pupils have become increasingly confident to challenge prejudice. Our school is a much happier place as a result.
Different families and relationships feature as one of the main topics in our curriculum, no matter the year group. We also have LGBT role models which fit alongside key curriculum topics. For example, Alan Turing features in our Computing teaching and Tom Daley in PE. We talk about the background of these role models, as well as their achievements.
Children learn about historical challenges LGBT people have faced in the past (such as Alan Turing being arrested for being gay), and ask them to think about the impact this would have on their wellbeing and relationships. Finally, we teach about how the law has changed over time, look for opportunities to challenge stereotypes, and investigate new ways to organise lessons, pupils, and the school environment so that we’re not always dividing things based on gender.
Stonewall membership has also been a valuable resource. Whenever we need advice, a member of the Stonewall team is available to help. Being a Stonewall School Champion has really boosted our knowledge when it comes to best practice around LGBT inclusion. We’ve applied this understanding to our environment, policies, staff training and vision for the future. And, as this LGBT-inclusive work has progressed, our pupils have become increasingly confident to challenge prejudice. Our school is a much happier place as a result.
Jen’s school has benefitted from Stonewall School & College Champion membership. Membership comes with access to our expert support and advice, a growing library of guidance resources and lesson packs, discounted training, as well as the highly sought-after Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards. Find out more about Stonewall's new and improved membership scheme for schools and colleges.
Stonewall have taken our years of experience delivering high-quality day courses for education staff and have developed a series of e-learning courses. Designed to fit around your busy schedule, you can complete your course online in a half-day sitting, or dip in and out when time allows. Just like our popular day courses, Stonewall’s e-learning courses are packed full of essential information, practical advice, and interactive activities. Find out more.