Me to You LGBTQ+

Developing best practice in school

Aims

The project was set up to make St Catherine’s College, a Church of England secondary school within the Diocese of Chichester, a more LGBTQ+ inclusive school and a beacon of best practice, offering guidance to other schools on how best to support LGBTQ+ pupils with issues such as direct and indirect discrimination, bullying, parental or community pushback, inclusion, mental health, anxiety and depression.

METHODOLOGY

A working group was set up with a member of the teaching staff and seven pupils who volunteered to represent the LGBTQ+ community. The group undertook a programme of work with the following goals:

  • To complete a college review on current text, visual posters and PSHE schemes of work at the college linked to LGBTQ+ issues.
  • To gather the views of the working group on this theme using a questionnaire.
  • To establish LGBTQ+ advocates.
  • To set up a pupil-led working group.
  • To create a safe space for LGBTQ+ pupils within the college to meet up.
  • To discuss and identify the challenges and barriers faced by LGBTQ+ pupils at the college.
  • To provide support, workshops and access to information for pupils, parents and carers on LGBTQ+ issues.
  • To create a self-sustaining model that continues all aspects of the project for the following years.

IMPACT

A comprehensive programme has been developed with input from students and the involvement of the senior leadership team. The impact on the students who developed the programme has been positive, and the school has adapted its practices in terms of how it listens and responds to the needs of LGBTQ+ students. To be self-sustaining, the programme will need further staff involvement.

KEY FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

The following checklist is recommended by St Catherine’s as constituting best practice:

  • Ensure that gender-neutral toilets and changing facilities are available, and preferably separate from the accessible facilities. If they have to be accessible facilities, then provide trans/non-binary students with their own Radar key.
  • Address the lack of visibility of LGBTQ+ issues in school through a comprehensive programme of awareness training for staff and students; review PSHE delivery to ensure same-sex SRE is embedded in the curriculum; and encourage staff in other subject areas to cover LGBTQ+ themes and awareness within their subjects.
  • Consistently challenge homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying through staff training; review equality and anti-bullying policies to ensure that they state clearly that LGBTQ+ bullying or name-calling will not be tolerated; ensure that the reporting of such incidents is clear and robust; communicate a zero-tolerance approach to such bullying and name-calling.
  • Set up a small working group of staff and students to explore LGBTQ+ and the intersectionality of some student’s identities (such as faith), how this may impact on them and how they can be best supported in a way that respects all identities.
  • Ensure that the person responsible for setting the school uniform policy (including how it is communicated) consults with the LGBTQ+ student allies group about how to make this more inclusive.

TALKING POINTS

  • How do schools become models of good practice?
  • The importance of listening to learners and having a programme led by them
  • What are the best ways of engaging parents and carers in projects of this kind?
  • Understanding the importance of working with experts from external agencies and encouraging staff to recognise that they may not be an expert in this area.
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PROJECT SUMMARY

Context

According to Stonewall, 45% of lesbian, gay, bi, and trans young people have experienced homophobic, biphobic or transphobic bullying and more than eight out of 10 primary teachers have never had any specific training on how to tackle homophobic bullying. Furthermore, one in three trans pupils are not able to be known by their preferred name at school and 64% are bullied at school for being trans.

Duration

January 2019 to June 2019

Partner

Allsorts Support Group

Funding source

Uni Connect (Innovation Fund)