EqualiTeach Statement on GEO and Free To Be Resource
EqualiTeach is proud to stand up for the rights of LGBT+ children and families and support schools to create equal and inclusive settings. From January 2019 to March 2020 EqualiTeach received funding to run a programme called Free to Be with 27 primary schools in London as part of the Government Equalities Office Anti-HBT Bullying Programme.
This allowed us to work with schools to:
- Undertake baseline audits and consult and communicate with key stakeholders
- Improve policies and procedures to ensure that they comply with the Equality Act 2010 and effectively embed LGBT+ equality and tackle homophobic, biphobic and transphobic (HBT) bullying
- Deliver staff training
- Implement changes to the curriculum and school environment to embed LGBT+ equality
Working with Government Equalities Office on the project was a very positive experience, and the regular monitoring and evaluation reports shared with GEO showed that the work was extremely needed and well received. In the final evaluation questionnaire, one school wrote:
“We have been so impressed by and grateful for EqualiTeach’s support and guidance. They have clarified, galvanised and accelerated the progress of the good steps we have been making and, most importantly, inspired reality- and action-based conversations amongst our staff… We consider ourselves to be very fortunate to have been able to participate in and benefit from the Free to Be programme.”
The grant included production of a resource which will allow other schools across the country to learn from the experiences of the participating schools and implement their own changes to embed LGBT+ equality and tackle HBT bullying. You can access the resource here: www.equaliteach.co.uk/free-to-be
EqualiTeach were provided with the GEO logo for use for communications related to the programme. The resource was sent to GEO for approval prior to publication and in conversations on the 26th March EqualiTeach was told that the GEO was happy for the logo to be on the resource. On the 24th April 2020 we were contacted and told that organisations who were involved in the Anti-HBT Bullying programme were being asked to remove the GEO logo from their resources as part of a wider branding review, and we complied as soon as possible. The logo was removed on Monday 27th April.
We were therefore surprised and saddened to see the below Tweets from Liz Truss and the GEO and are contacting them to try to clear up any misunderstandings and ask which part of the document does not reflect government policy.
We are worried about the apparent backtracking in support for transgender young people in recent statements from the Minister for Women and Equalities and join the call with other organisations committed to LGBT+ equality to ask for clarity on GEO’s plans going forward.
Getting things right for the most vulnerable members of society will improve things for everybody. It is important that we stand together, unified in our fight for equality. We will continue to fight for the rights of marginalised groups and work together with other organisations committed to an equal, inclusive and diverse society where everyone feels safe and able to succeed.