This year Forrester has actively looked to increase visibility and awareness across the school in relation to LGBTI issues. It was felt that although individual pupils were fully supported and lessons taught within the Social Education curriculum, there was a lack of open discussion on LGBTI issues and there was a necessity for a whole school approach to make the positive change necessary. We started by running LGBTI and Allies committee who meet once a month and discuss what campaigns we can run and how to raise awareness amongst the school community. There is also a safe place for all pupils to meet every Monday lunch-time where they can chill out, be signposted to support services or generally just be with likeminded people! Since August we have:
- Ran the Stonewall No Bystanders and Rainbow Laces campaigns
- Increased visibility around the school through having posters in every department/classroom
- Have a noticeboard that has pride of place as you walk into our reception and is visible at parent/carer’s evenings
- Staff have had the opportunity to wear rainbow lanyards and LGBTI or Allies badges (which they wear with pride!)
- In-house staff CPD has been delivered on Challenging Homophobia
- A specific LGBTI drop in every Thursday lunch-time ran by Wester Hailes Youth Agency. This provides more targeted 1 to 1 support
We plan to go for and are on track for the silver LGBT Charter mark this year and have the Purple Friday and International day against homophobia, biphobia and transphobia campaigns to run.
The effect of the work we have done so far is remarkable. Our LGBTI pupils have a voice and are using it to great effect. They feel more confident that bullying will be addressed in the correct manner, they know where to access support and they now feel a greater part of our school community. This inclusive approach allows our pupils to realise that they do not need to hide their sexuality and/or gender and that it is ok to be themselves. We have a responsibility within education to support all of our young people. At Forrester we identified a need for change and I can confidently say that where there was a gap for our LGBTI pupils, there is now no longer. Forrester High School’s commitment to equality and diversity is evident from the minute you walk through the door and continues across every department. We have a great deal of work still to do but have achieved a great deal this year already thanks to the hard work and commitment from a fantastic team of young people and a supportive staff. Watch this space!