This week we have our first guest blog post by Elly Barnes, who was voted No. 1 in The Independent on Sunday’s Pink List 2011 for her commitment to people who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgendered (LGBT) in education and awarded a ‘highly commended’ by the TES ‘Teacher of the Year’ 2012.
The LGBT movement has been a long and contested one, but a movement which, in recent years, has begun to gather pace across the country, with some profound changes made to the social and legislative frameworks, including those in the education sector. School governing bodies must now take steps to create an inclusive working and learning environment where the rights of LGBT persons, including both staff members and pupils, are promoted and protected at every level.
A major turning point was reached in 2003 when Section 28 was repealed. This ended the long running confusion within schools about their obligations towards LGBT pupils and staff members, particularly victims of homophobic and transphobic bullying and abuse, who could now access the appropriate counselling and support services.
The rights of people who identify as LGBT were then enshrined in the Equality Act (2010), which consolidated a number of pieces of existing legislation, including regulations making it unlawful to discriminate on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender reassignment. This means that school governing bodies must ensure that its policies and procedures are aligned with the provisions of the new framework.
This was swiftly followed up in September 2013, when Ofsted took action on one of the main issues affecting LGBT staff members and pupils. With the publication of a new briefing, the actions that schools took to prevent and tackle homophobic and transphobic bullying became a specific judgement of section 5 inspections.
In the second part of her blog on Monday, Elly will talk about what will happen in your section 5 inspections.
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