Dr Elly Barnes MBE is CEO and Founder of Educate & Celebrate, a leading charity who work with schools to transform them into being LGBT+ inclusive. She was voted #1 in The Independent on Sunday’s Rainbow List 2011.
Who would like to live in a world where we are all treated equally and fairly?… Then let’s begin our journey to LGBT+Inclusion…
As teachers, we all have enough to do on a daily basis in our school already without adding in yet another initiative….which is exactly why at Educate & Celebrate we do not advocate that you write more lesson plans, but simply employ strategies that make LGBT+Inclusivity part of the fabric of school life.
The aim is to make all the equality strands of The Equality Act 2010 part of your existing practice. Which is why training, particularly in policy and individual subject areas, is imperative to broaden your knowledge base. In a nutshell, we are asking teachers to ‘change, and not simply mirror our society’ through what you are saying in your existing lessons by adopting the ‘usualising’ pedagogy. A good way to achieve this is to portray the contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans + people, both past and present within your existing lessons. Essentially, what you are then doing is creating a generation where treating everyone equally and fairly is just what people do.
Our methods and pedagogies have been developed by responding to the needs of teachers. Our three primary school case studies reported the barriers to LGBT+Inclusion to be lack of training for teachers, general lack of knowledge of sexual orientation and gender identity and the language associated with it, cultural differences, parent’s values and resources to take the initiative forward. Over the years our participants have agreed that training has given staff the confidence and permission to use a new LGBT+ language within their lessons and address potential questions in a factual way. A teacher commented, ‘fact is very important, this is the law and it’s the same law that protects you to follow your faith. Of course, we are going to talk about homophobia, biphobia and transphobia, it’s the same law, the equality agenda.’
A teacher in the Channel Islands commented, ‘I used what I have learned following the Training Day to lead an assembly, watched by all staff and all our children aged from 5 to 16, as well as parents: not an easy audience. I was very nervous but I followed the advice and guidance and it could not have gone better. As a result of my increased confidence in discussing this topic it has improved my ability to be clear and articulate when I am asked a question, by a child and members of staff. I feel so empowered by that day of training’.
How to Transform Your School into an LGBT+ Friendly Place gives teachers, governors and other staff the knowledge, strategies and confidence they need to implement a curriculum that is inclusive for all. Covering the changes to law, including the Equality Act 2010 which requires actively promoting acceptance, what language to use, case studies and much more, it is a must have guide for all schools.
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