Celebrating difference at your school: What school governors and trustees should know about LGBT inclusion
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What school governors and trustees should know about LGBTQ+ inclusion

Celebrating difference at your school

All school governors and academy trustees have a responsibility to protect the health and wellbeing of children and young people at their school. For children and young people who are lesbian, gay, bi, trans, queer, questioning or ace (LGBTQ+), feeling included is a crucial part of wellbeing.

45% of LGBTQ+ young people have experienced bullying because they are LGBTQ+ – these numbers are even higher for disabled LGBTQ+ pupils and LGBTQ+ pupils who receive free school meals. 33% of trans pupils don’t feel safe at school. Pupils who are bullied in this way are more likely to experience poor mental health outcomes, more likely to skip school and less likely to attend the next educational phase (Stonewall School Report 2017). Homophobic, biphobic and transphobic (HBT) bullying can affect pupils who aren’t LGBTQ+ – research shows that pupils who don’t conform to gender stereotypes are also at risk of experiencing this type of bullying (Stonewall Teachers’ Report 2014).

In schools where equality is a whole-school value, LGBTQ+ pupils can flourish, experiencing lower rates of bullying and feeling more confident to ask for help from teachers and school leaders. When difference is celebrated, all young people are able to thrive as their unique selves. LGBTQ+ inclusion is an essential part of meeting your legal and statutory requirements under the Equality Act 2010 – but it’s also a core strand of a child-centred approach that helps every young person grow up happy, healthy and safe.

 

Legal and statutory responsibilities

Governors are responsible for ensuring schools meet their public sector duty under the Equality Act 2010. The Public Sector Equality Duty (s149(1) of the Equality Act 2010) places a duty on bodies carrying out public functions, in the exercise of those functions, to have due regard to the need to:

Eliminate discrimination, harassment, victimisation and any other conduct prohibited by or under the Act - including because of the protected characteristic of sexual orientation and gender reassignment.

Advance equality of opportunity, which may include the need to:

 

  • Remove or minimise disadvantages suffered by those who are LGBTQ+ that are connected to their LGBTQ+ identity
  • Take steps to meet the needs of LGBTQ+ people that are different to those who are not LGBTQ+
  • Encourage LGBTQ+ people to participate in public life or any other activity where participation is disproportionately low

 

 

Foster good relations between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it - e.g. between LGBTQ+ pupils and those who are not LGBTQ+. While there is no legal requirement for private schools to comply with the Public Sector Equality Duty, Ofsted will inspect a school's efforts to meet the expectations of the duty (including in their inspections of private schools, where relevant).

 

Why Stonewall?

Over the last 30 years, Stonewall has worked to ensure acceptance without exception for all LGBTQ+ people. Our expert Education & Youth team bring their years of experience as teachers, trainers and education professionals to supporting schools and colleges. We help thousands of teachers, school and MAT leaders and support staff develop approaches to LGBTQ+ inclusion that fit your context and meet your pupils’ needs. We’ve produced sector-leading research on LGBTQ+ children and young people, developed dozens of lesson resources and widely-used best practice guides, and some of our work with faith schools has been funded by the Department for Education and the Government Equalities Office.  Supporting LGBTQ+ children and young people to thrive as their unique selves is at the heart of everything we do.

How we can help

We offer quality affordable e-learning at just £35 + VAT – complete a course in just 3 hours, or dip in and out and fit your training around your busy schedule. Need something tailored? MATs can book bespoke webinars and all schools, colleges, and children and young people’s services can book 1-1 consultancy.

Our School & College Champion members lead the way in LGBTQ+ inclusion. Members benefit from poster and sticker packs, exclusive resources and free entry into our School & College Champion Awards – there’s no better way to benchmark your school’s work and access detailed individual feedback on your strengths and challenges as an inclusive school. Browse our free resourcesbook an e-learning course or chat to our friendly team of experts today – you’ll find us at education@stonewall.org.uk

Select your setting type to find key questions you can ask senior leaders at your school. 

Information for primary school governors
Key questions to ask your school's leadership team:
  • What training or support have staff received to develop their knowledge and confidence in supporting LGBTQ+ children and young people and those with LGBTQ+ family and loved ones?
  • How we do prevent and tackle homophobic, biphobic and transphobic (HBT) bullying?
  • How prevalent is HBT bullying at our school and is this reflected clearly in our Headteacher's leadership report? 
  • How do we ensure that children and young people have opportunities to learn about LGBTQ+ role models?
  • How do we ensure that our teaching in Relationships Education includes different families, including LGBTQ+ families?
Information for secondary school governors

Key questions to ask your school's leadership team:

  • What training or support have staff received to develop their knowledge and confidence in supporting LGBTQ+ young people and those with LGBTQ+ family and loved ones?
  • How do we prevent and tackle homophobic, biphobic and transphobic (HBT) bullying?
  • How prevalent is HBT bullying at our school and is this reflected clearly in our Headteacher's leadership report? 
  • How do we ensure that children and young people have opportunities to learn about LGBTQ+ role models?
  • Do we ensure different our RSHE provision is LGBTQ+ inclusive?
Information for acadamy trustees

Key questions for Trustees to explore

  • What training or support have staff received to develop their knowledge and confidence in supporting lesbian, gay, bi, trans, queer, questioning and ace children and young people? Is this training available to all staff across the Trust?
  • How do we prevent and tackle homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying across the Trust? How do we use our Trust-wide policies to set expectations about tackling HBT bullying and promoting equality?
  • How do we ensure that LGBTQ+ children and young people have opportunities to learn about LGBTQ+ role models and hear positive stories about LGBTQ+ people?