GENDER MATTERS: Milestone for equality in schools

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon joins gay rights youth marchers.

By Bill Heaney

Scotland has become the first country in the world to embed lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) inclusive education across the school curriculum, according to an SNP government annoluncement today..

Focused on promoting equality, reducing bullying and improving the educational experiences of LGBT children and young people, subjects across age groups will now include LGBT identities, issues and history.

Support to help schools deliver this includes:

  • a website where school staff, parents, carers, children and young people can access information to support LGBT children and young people
  • a basic awareness e-learning course for education staff on LGBT inclusive education
  • a toolkit of LGBT inclusive education teaching resources 

Parents, teachers, young people and LGBT organisations helped to develop the website, e-learning course and teaching resources.

Children’s Minister Clare Haughey, pictured right, said:  “I am proud to say that Scotland is leading the way as the first country in the world to embed LGBT inclusive education right across the curriculum. By doing so, we can help young people to reach their full potential and flourish in a diverse and inclusive society.

“The launch of this ground-breaking suite of resources for schools takes us another step forward in ensuring that our curriculum is as diverse as the young people who learn in our schools.

“The Scottish Government, in partnership with COSLA, is determined to provide a fully inclusive education for Scotland’s children and young people.”

COSLA Children and Young People spokesperson Cllr Stephen McCabe said:  “Improving inclusion in our schools is a priority for Local Government. We welcome the materials published today, which will assist schools, teachers and education staff to drive this important agenda forward, ensuring all children and young people receive the support they need.”

Time for Inclusive Education co-founder Jordan Daly said:  “I experienced bullying and prejudice at school for being gay, and it had a detrimental impact on my confidence and wellbeing for some time.

“This new website, and the supporting resources, which have been co-developed with teachers across Scotland, will support teachers to take a proactive, educational approach to tackling prejudice. Most importantly, this work will empower young people and provide them with an opportunity I didn’t have at school – to feel valued, confident, and proud of who they are.”

National Parent Forum of Scotland Chair Margaret Wilson said:  “We welcome the roll-out of LGBT inclusive education across the school curriculum. With other stakeholders, we have developed an information resource on LGBT inclusive education for parents and carers to help them to support their children and ensure they have a positive educational experience, using an approach underpinned by children’s rights, kindness and respect.”

Meanwhile, the new website is here: www.lgbteducation.scot

An LGBTI Inclusive Education Working Group was established in 2017 to improve LGBT young people’s learning experience and to address bullying and discrimination. The group made 33 recommendations, which the Scottish Government has accepted in full.

The LGBT Inclusive Education Implementation Group, jointly chaired by COSLA and Scottish Government officials, is taking forward those recommendations.

Many schools across Scotland already take positive steps to educate learners, in age-appropriate ways, about LGBT identities and issues. LGBT inclusive education will help build upon this existing good practice, equipping teachers and school leaders with the training and resources they need to approach these topics with knowledge and confidence, and to help effectively challenge homophobia, biphobia and/or transphobia in the school environment and wider community.

Meanwhile, STV News is reporting that a volunteer at a centre for LGBT people has been jailed after attacking a ‘vulnerable’ teenager he met there.

Edgar Steele repeatedly preyed on the boy at the 62 year-old’s then-flat.  The crimes happened between June 2000 and June 2003.  On Wednesday, Steele was jailed for six years having earlier been convicted of indecent assault. He had denied the allegations during a trial at the High Court in Glasgow. 

Judge Alistair Watson said Steele had abused his position of trust at the LGBT centre in the city, which helped youngsters struggling with identity issues.  This included the victim in this case.  Judge Watson told Steele: “He was vulnerable and then became homeless.”

Membership of LGBT Inclusive Education Implementation Group:

Association of Directors of Education in Scotland

COSLA

Education Scotland

EIS

Equality and Human Rights Commission

Equality Network

LGBT Youth Scotland

NASUWT

National Parent Forum of Scotland

respectme

School Leaders Scotland

Scottish Government

Scottish Qualifications Authority

Scottish Youth Parliament

Stonewall Scotland

Time for Inclusive Education

See details of the LGBTI Inclusive Education Working Group.

Read the report and recommendations of the Working Group in full.

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