Supporting LGBT young people
Schools play a vital role in supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) young people.
As around 6% of the UK population (3.9 million people) may identify as LGBT, each school is likely to have 2 lesbian, gay or bisexual pupils per class and one trans young person per year group.
LGBT young people may worry that those around them will react negatively to who they are and often experience high levels of bullying in school. Creating an inclusive environment is a key part of making LGBT young people feel welcome and valued at school.
The law is clear that schools must meet the needs of all LGBT young people and tackle homophobic, biphobic and transphobic (HBT) bullying. It is important that Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) meets the needs of all young people.
Schools can help create an inclusive environment in which LGBT young people will feel safe, happy and fulfil their potential if they:
- Take a whole school approach to tackling HBT bullying and language
- Challenge gender stereotypes from an early age
- Ensure LGBT people and different families form part of inclusive RSE and other curriculum areas
- Make LGBT people visible in aspects of school life including library books, positive posters and special events
- Work with other schools and organisations to meet the needs of pupils, including the provision of information and support
All staff, not just LGBT staff, can be important role models for all young people by talking positively about LGBT people.
The Wiltshire Healthy Schools programme asks schools to provide evidence that RSE meets the needs of all pupils and that action is taken to address discriminatory language.
The DfE say that
"In teaching Relationships Education and RSE, schools should ensure that the needs of all pupils are appropriately met, and that all pupils understand the importance of equality and respect. Schools must ensure that they comply with the relevant provisions of the Equality Act 2010, (please see The Equality Act 2010 and schools: Departmental advice), under which sexual orientation and gender reassignment are amongst the protected characteristics.
Schools should ensure that all of their teaching is sensitive and age appropriate in approach and content. At the point at which schools consider it appropriate to teach their pupils about LGBT, they should ensure that this content is fully integrated into their programmes of study for this area of the curriculum rather than delivered as a stand alone unit or lesson. Schools are free to determine how they do this, and we expect all pupils to have been taught LGBT content at a timely point as part of this area of the curriculum"
Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) and Health Education.
Statutory guidance for governing bodies, proprietors, head teachers, principals, senior leadership teams, teachers (DfE, 2019)