For every young person to be prepared for life in modern Britain, it's vital that their curriculum reflects the full diversity of the world they live in. This includes teaching about LGBTQ+ people and themes. While Britain has made huge strides towards LGBTQ+ equality in recent decades, anti-LGBTQ+ bullying and language unfortunately remain commonplace in Britain's schools and wider society. At Orleans Park, we are committed to delivering a curriculum that includes LGBTQ+ people and their experiences.
LGBTQ+ inclusive teaching ensures that LGBTQ+ children and young people, and children and young people with LGBTQ+ families, see themselves reflected in what they learn. It also encourages all young people to grow up with inclusive and accepting attitudes. It helps all students feel included, making them much more likely to engage with their learning and perform better. In considering how to create a more inclusive curriculum we have used the opportunity of the introduction of the new RSE (Relationships and Sex Education) requirements by the Government to consult widely with all of our stakeholders. We have developed our RSE policy to reflect the importance of fully including LGBTQ+ people and themes. We also have regard to supporting the LGBTQ+ community within the following policies:
We have considered how best to ensure that teaching about LGBTQ+ people and themes is incorporated into the whole school curriculum, and not just seen as a topic to be explored in PSHE lessons, or delivered through assemblies and tutor group activities. The guide produced by Stonewall has offered useful advice and Top Ten Tips which we have used to inform our whole school approach in this area.
We celebrate "School Diversity Week" with various activities each year and also mark LGBTQ+ History Month.
We have improved the provision within our library to stock more books featuring LGBTQ+ characters and themes. These books are age appropriate and families are welcome to ask for reading lists if they are interested in what is available.
The 2017 School Report found that nearly half of LGBTQ+ students (45 per cent) – including 64 per cent of trans students – are bullied at school for being LGBTQ+. We also know that many more young people experience homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying regardless of whether they are LGBTQ+ or not, simply because they are perceived to be different in some way (for example, because of the activities they like or the way they dress or speak). It’s impossible to tackle this bullying effectively without talking about LGBTQ+ people across all areas of school life, including in the curriculum. Bringing LGBTQ+ people to life in a curriculum that acknowledges and celebrates diversity of all kinds will make it easier for students to understand why discriminating against someone because of who they are is unacceptable. It will also help address any misconceptions or stereotypes that students have about LGBTQ+ people.
At Orleans Park, we are absolutely committed to ensuring that LGBTQ+ students and staff feel welcome, included and able to be themselves at school.
Every person deserves acceptance and understanding
LGBTQ people are more likely to be affected by mental health problems, including anxiety, depression, suicidal feelings and substance misuse. The higher prevalence of mental health issues within the LGBTQ community is due to a range of factors, including discrimination, homophobia/biphobia/transphobia and isolation. Many LGBTQ people do not use mainstream support services because they are afraid of stigma, discrimination or a lack of understanding. This service, provided by METRO, is available to our students.
This exists as two lunchtime groups (one for year 7-9 and the other for year 10 and above) with the primary aim of providing a safe space for all students to come and discuss LGBTQ+ issues that are of interest and concern to them, with the guidance of a member of staff. We offer a friendly and welcoming social group; this is not a lesson and students can get involved as much or as little as they choose, from simply listening to taking part in our activities, which they are encouraged to decide on.
We have taken some members of our groups on the London Pride March as part of the West London Schools LGBT Alliance on two occasions and have planned and delivered student-led assemblies. In addition we have prepared bake sales in school supporting the AKT charity for young homeless LGBT people (https://www.akt.org.uk/). Recently we have engaged the sixth form Student Leadership Team to help organise and promote our activities across the school community.
We also work with the Just Like Us charity for LGBT young people, making use of their wide range of educational resources and discussing our group and activities with them. More information about this community can be found by clicking on the link below: