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Elly’s Guidance on LGBT Inclusion in School – Part 2

Following on from our last post, Elly now goes on to talk about exactly what Ofsted inspectors will be looking for in terms of LGBT discriminatory behaviour and policies during inspection.

It is essential that governing bodies take note of the following guidelines to ensure that their school or academy is in the best possible position to meet and exceed expectations the next time that Ofsted undertakes an inspection.

When assessing primary schools, inspectors will be looking to see whether:

  1. Pupils ever hear anyone use the word ‘gay’ when describing something or whether they have been told by teachers that using the word ‘gay’ to mean something is wrong, scary or unpleasant.
  2. Pupils ever get picked on by other children for not behaving like a ‘typical girl’ or a ‘typical boy’.
  3. Pupils have had any lessons about different families (single parent, living with grandparents, having step-parents, having two mums or two dads).
  4. Pupils think if there is someone born a girl who would rather be a boy, or born a boy who would like to be a girl, they would feel safe at school and be included.

When assessing secondary schools, inspectors might explore the above, but also ask whether:

  1. There is any homophobic bullying, anti-gay derogatory language or name calling in school or on social media sites.
  2. If a gay pupil was ‘out’ in school, that pupil would feel safe from bullying, they have learned about homophobic/transphobic bullying and ways to stop it happening in school.
  3. Pupils learn in school about different types of families, including whether anyone is, or would be, teased about having same-sex parents.
  4. There is any homophobic bullying or derogatory language about a pupil or teacher who thought of themselves as the opposite gender and whether they feel safe and free from bullying at school.

With senior leaders, and when looking at documentary evidence, inspectors might explore:

  1. Whether they are aware of any instances of homophobic or transphobic language in school, whether this is recorded and how it is acted upon, or whether there is any homophobic language used against staff.
  1. Whether the school’s bullying and safeguarding policies and equality objectives address gender identity and sexuality.

With governors inspectors might explore:

  1. How the school meets its statutory duty to prevent all forms of prejudice-based bullying, including homophobia and transphobia.
  2. Whether they are aware of any homophobic/transphobic bullying or language in school and whether incidents are followed up effectively,
  3. How they ensure that sexuality and gender equality are covered within the school’s behaviour guidelines and policies.

What’s next?

Every change must start from within.

Whether you are a school governor or a headteacher, the above criteria should emanate from staff and pupils through their own behaviour and actions i.e. making sure that everyone in our school communities refrains from using derogatory words and phrases that may cause offence amongst people that identify as LGBT.

You might also consider undertaking a comprehensive audit of the school’s policies, procedures, curriculum, environment and working practices to see how they measure up to the requirements. Steps should then be taken to bridge the gaps towards creating a fully inclusive school.

The approaches used in ‘Educate and Celebrate’ have been recognised by Ofsted as ‘best practice’ for taking a whole-school approach to tackling homophobic bullying and ingrained attitudes in the education sector.

The ‘Educate and Celebrate’ program is available to all schools, local authorities and workplaces to eradicate homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in line with Ofsted criteria and the Equality Act 2010.

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For help, advice, consultation and training please contact elly@ellybarnes.com.

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4 thoughts on “Elly’s Guidance on LGBT Inclusion in School – Part 2

  1. This is so important! On the pupils who would rather express a different gender, I think it’s really important that school leaders (and inspectors) think about uniform. I worked in a school that had different tie colours for boys and girls. But, why? It’s such an unnecessary thing and it makes it much more difficult for someone who wishes to change their gender expression (or who wishes to live androgynously). But getting school leaders to take this seriously can often be very difficult.

    1. Elly’s response: I agree, it can be difficult which is why the Educate and Celebrate programme asks teachers and leadership teams to review their uniform policy. We absolutely should not be segregating by gender, otherwise we are not fulfilling Ofsted criteria which asks Inspectors to explore whether pupils ever get picked on by other children for not behaving like a ‘typical girl’ or a ‘typical boy’ or adhering to the Equality Act which clearly states that all protected characteristics must be treated equally and fairly. A good uniform policy will also give students a choice.

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