Brand New Resource: Free to Be

Supporting schools to Embed LGBT+ Equality and Tackle Homophobic, Biphobic and Transphobic Bullying

Over the last year, 27 primary schools in London have worked with equality experts at EqualiTeach to embed LGBT+ equality throughout their schools, making safe and inclusive spaces for everyone in their communities.

As the programme draws to a close, EqualiTeach have launched a free educational resource for schools based on the good practice developed throughout the year available at: www.equaliteach.co.uk/free-to-Be

Whilst schools should be safe spaces for young people to learn and develop, a Stonewall report found that seven in ten primary school teachers hear homophobic language, but 86% have never received any specific training on how to tackle it (Stonewall, 2017).

For pupils who have gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender parents, carers or family members, or who are LGBT+ themselves, it can be challenging never seeing yourself or your family reflected in the school curriculum or environment. The impact of this on LGBT+ young people can be hugely alienating and distressing.

Funded by Government Equalities Office, EqualiTeach’s Free To Be programme aimed to tackle this issue head on and saw schools reviewing their policies, auditing their resources and curriculum, and taking part in staff training on how to recognise and respond to homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying.

The programme hasn’t been without its challenges, in a climate where there can be tensions between schools and parents, and question marks over how to ensure work on equality is age appropriate, it has been a journey of collaboration, consultation and building trust.

Participating schools have already been seeing positive results, recognising increased awareness and confidence amongst staff, greater engagement with parents and carers, and an improved curriculum, all contributing to “a truly inclusive environment, curriculum and ethos which fosters respect” (Project Feedback Response).

With the programme coming to a close, EqualiTeach was due to host an Awards Ceremony to celebrate the achievements of the participating schools, recognise the important work they’ve undertaken, and to launch a free resource for other schools sharing tips, ideas and case studies from the year.

Whilst the event had to be cancelled due to the ongoing COVID19 crisis, EqualiTeach hosted an online launch for the resource, which is now available to download free of charge at www.equaliteach.co.uk/free-to-be

 “It’s fantastic in a time where there is a lot of controversy and conflicted views to be able to shine a light on schools who are doing fantastic work to ensure they are safe, inclusive spaces where everyone is free to be themselves. The work that these schools have done has been a great example of the positive change that can happen when we work together, listen to concerns, create opportunities for discussion, and develop solutions that work for everyone. We’re delighted to be sharing a good practice guide so more schools can learn from their work.”- Sarah Soyei, Head of Strategy and Development at EqualiTeach

For further information about the Free to Be project or resource, please contact Sarah Soyei

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