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 LGBT 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.

Select your setting type to find more information about your role in your school's approach to LGBTQ+ inclusion. 

Information for primary school governors

 

Legal and statutory responsibilities

The public sector Equality Duty requires all state-funded schools, colleges and settings in England, Scotland and Wales to:

  • Eliminate discrimination on the grounds of any protected characteristic, including discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender reassignment
  • Advance equality of opportunity
  • Foster good relations between different groups of pupils who share protected characteristics

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).

 

Key questions to ask your school's leadership team

  • What training or support have staff received to develop their knowledge and confidence in supporting lesbian, gay, bi, trans, queer, questioning or ace children and young people?
  • How do we prevent and tackle homophobic, biphobic and transphobic 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 LGBTQ+ children and young people have opportunities to learn about LGBT role models and hear positive stories about LGBT people?
  • What steps are we taking to ensure LGBTQ+ families are represented during Relationships Education? (Although it is not a statutory requirement for primary RSHE to include LGBTQ+ content, the Department for Education say in their FAQs for schools that ‘primary schools are strongly encouraged and enabled’ to cover LGBTQ+ content when teaching about different types of families in Relationships Education. Stonewall’s Different Families resources are recommended in Annex B to the statutory guidance).

 

Why now?

In the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, school life looks very different to how it did just a few months ago. While this is tough for all pupils, the most vulnerable children (including LGBTQ+ children) may struggle harder to cope with increased stress and frequent change. LGBTQ+ children and their families need your help more than ever: schools can protect pupil wellbeing by creating a sense of safety and belonging for all children. This can look like taking steps to reduce rates of HBT bullying at your school (including online bullying), supporting the development of a Relationships and Health Education curriculum that celebrates LGBTQ+ families, or even giving children a chance to celebrate difference through a whole-school art project that can be done from home. When your whole school works together to develop a consistent approach to celebrating difference, pupils and staff can support one another, sharing responsibility and building community.  

 

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 resources, book an e-learning course or chat to our friendly team of experts today – you’ll find us at education@stonewall.org.uk

 

Download an information sheet

Information for secondary school governors

 

Legal and statutory responsibilities

The public sector Equality Duty requires all state-funded schools, colleges and settings in England, Scotland and Wales to:

  • Eliminate discrimination on the grounds of any protected characteristic, including discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender reassignment
  • Advance equality of opportunity
  • Foster good relations between different groups of pupils who share protected characteristics

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).

 

Key questions to ask your school's leadership team

  • 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?
  • How do we prevent and tackle homophobic, biphobic and transphobic 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 LGBTQ+ children and young people have opportunities to learn about LGBTQ+ role models and hear positive stories about LGBTQ+ people?
  • What steps are we taking to ensure our Relationships, Sex and Health Education is LGBTQ+ inclusive throughout, in line with the Department for Education’s statutory guidance?

 

Why now?

In the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, school life has had to change, sometimes drastically. While this is tough for all pupils, the most vulnerable young people (including LGBTQ+ young people) may struggle harder to cope with increased stress and frequent change: LGBTQ+ young people are already at risk of poorer mental health outcomes, often due to stress and anxiety as a result of experiencing HBT bullying. What’s more, LGBTQ+ young people may be more likely to engage in risk-taking behaviours such as meeting up with someone they’ve previously only met online – often this is because LGBTQ+ young people are searching for community, but don’t have access to a safe space to meet LGBTQ+ people their own age. Schools can protect pupil wellbeing by creating a sense of safety and belonging for all young people. This can look like taking steps to reduce rates of HBT bullying at your school (including online bullying), supporting the development of an RSHE curriculum that integrates LGBTQ+ content and themes throughout and signposting to local and national services that can provide specialist support for LGBTQ+ young people (including LGBTQ+ youth groups).  

 

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 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 LGBT 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 LGBT 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 resources, book an e-learning course or chat to our friendly team of experts today – you’ll find us at education@stonewall.org.uk

 

Download an information sheet

Information for acadamy trustees

 

Legal and statutory responsibilities

The public sector Equality Duty requires all state-funded schools, colleges and settings in England, Scotland and Wales to:

  • Eliminate discrimination on the grounds of any protected characteristic, including discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender reassignment
  • Advance equality of opportunity
  • Foster good relations between different groups of pupils who share protected characteristics

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).

 

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?

 

Why now?

In the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, school life has had to change, sometimes drastically. While this is tough for all pupils, the most vulnerable young people (including LGBTQ+ young people) may struggle harder to cope with increased stress and frequent change: LGBTQ+ young people are already at risk of poorer mental health outcomes, often due to stress and anxiety as a result of experiencing HBT bullying. What’s more, LGBTQ+ young people may be more likely to engage in risk-taking behaviours such as meeting up with someone they’ve previously only met online – often this is because LGBTQ+ young people are searching for community, but don’t have access to a safe space to meet LGBTQ+ people their own age. Schools can protect pupil wellbeing by creating a sense of safety and belonging for all young people. This can look like taking steps to reduce rates of HBT bullying (including online bullying); developing inclusive Trust-wide policie; and signposting to local and national services that can provide specialist support for LGBTQ+ young people (including LGBTQ+ youth groups). 

 

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 resources, book an e-learning course or chat to our friendly team of experts today – you’ll find us at education@stonewall.org.uk

 

Download an information sheet