Embracing diversity through LGBT+ workshops

Diversity Role Models is offering LGBT+ workshops to primary and secondary schools for pupils, staff, parents and carers

A school is a community where young people should feel safe to thrive, discover and develop, both academically and personally. It isn’t always as simple as that, however, and some schools struggle with how best to create an inclusive environment – which is where Diversity Role Models comes in.

Over eight years, this charity has delivered its LGBT+ workshops to more than 100,000 young people and trained more than 4,500 staff and governors in the UK.

CEO Adam McCann explains: ‘Our primary and secondary workshops teach pupils about the similarities that exist between different people, using storytelling activities and interaction with LGBT+ role models. This builds young people’s empathy so they can understand the impact of their language and actions. In order to ensure sustained change this is supplemented by training school governors, staff, and parents and carers.

Alongside these national, paid-for services, the company runs a free regional initiative, entitled ‘Pathways to LGBT+ Inclusion’, which is currently available to schools in Chester, Westminster, Yorkshire and The Humber, Greater London (deprived areas), The North West (deprived areas) and The North East (deprived areas). Fully funded by the Government Equalities Office, this project has been designed by education experts and teachers. It aims to work with SLTs and staff on embedding LGBT+ inclusion into school policies, practices, curriculum and culture. The project has been implemented in 50 primary and secondary schools already this year, and the charity will start working with another 50 in the autumn term.

The project includes bespoke staff training, policy reviews and action plans, while also preparing staff for changes to RSE and the Ofsted framework. It covers approaches to eliminating bullying and exclusion in order to create a positive environment that enriches the schools’ policies, ethos and values.

During the 2018/19 school year, 99% of participants rated the staff training as good or excellent, and 98% of participants agreed that the training increased their confidence in making their school more LGBT+ inclusive. In the 2017/18 academic year, 89% of student participants said they would challenge anti-LGBT+ behaviour if they saw or heard it.

  • To find out more about the range of services available or to apply for Pathways to LGBT+ Inclusion, visit diversityrolemodels.org.

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