LGBT school program Educate & Celebrate has certified 60 new UK primary and secondary schools as showing LGBT+ friendly best practice.
The Educate & Celebrate charity is an Oftsed (Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills) recognized program that helps schools teach an LGBT+ inclusive curriculum. Educate & Celebrate stated that it gives students, teachers, parents and governors the ‘resources to turn their schools into spaces that actively embrace diversity and empower young people to feel confident in their identities’.
Safe spaces and youth pride
The 60 new accreditations now takes the number of LGBT+Friendly Best Practice schools in the UK up to 80.
A teacher from a Birmingham school, who has participated in the program, said: ‘The greatest impact so far has been with the pupil’s reactions. They are confident to talk about these matters without being silly. They are no longer surprised about the term “gay” being used and know that it is wrong to use the term negatively.’
The program also inspires young people to form Pride Youth Networks that act as safe spaces for young people to talk about their gender identities or sexual orientations with understanding, and without fear of discrimination. The program also holds an annual Great Rainbow Bake-Off among UK schools to celebrate LGBT History Month.
Ending discrimination in schools
Founder and CEO of Educate & Celebrate Elly Barnes said: ‘The journey to inclusion with our 60 schools has been a ground-breaking experience for all involved. Teachers report LGBT+ students coming out “in bulk”, while staff now have the ability to explore LGBT+ within the classroom without worrying, resulting in a real acceptance and understanding of difference, which has eradicated discrimination.’
Barnes added: ‘This new openness through inclusive teaching and learning has positively impacted on the lives of the students and teachers forever – what a journey!’
A Nottingham school teacher who took part in the program commented: ‘To think that we are equipping our children with the relevant knowledge to be open minded, fair individuals and giving them the opportunity and confidence to be whoever they are without fear of recrimination is a real leap forward in the culture of our school.’
Read more about founder Elly Barnes’ inspiration to challenge homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in schools here.