Award to recognise schools' support for LGBTQ pupils

The 'quality mark' for schools will ease uncertainty about how to support LGBTQ pupils, says the UK's first transgender headteacher to transition while in post

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An award has been launched to recognise schools’ commitment to addressing LGBTQ issues.

It is hoped that this will help schools to respond to the needs of students who identify as lesbian, gay, trans or queer/questioning.

The award, or "quality mark", has been launched by Leeds Beckett University, which last year set up a centre for research and practice known as the Centre for LBGTQ+ Inclusion in Education.

The move has been backed by Claire Birkenshaw, the first headteacher in the UK to transition to a different gender while in post.

'LGBTQ pupils will be heartened'

Ms Birkenshaw, who is also senior adviser for the teacher support website LGBTed, said: “I am absolutely certain that LGBTQ+ young people currently being educated in our schools will be heartened to see an Inclusion in Education Award that recognises and affirms who they are.

“No doubt, schools will be pleased, too, because it will ease some of the uncertainty of how best to support LGBTQ+ young people in learning environments.

“This award, I feel, is another positive step forward in ensuring that Britain truly is an inclusive place to live, work and learn, in which all people feel accepted and that they belong."

Schools taking part in the award must demonstrate a deep commitment to working towards excellent practice and ensure that LGBTQ+ inclusion forms part of their core business.

The schools will be expected to translate their school’s mission, vision and values into policies, processes and practice that bear out a commitment to having a rich whole-school culture where all members of the school community thrive.

Academic lead Professor Jonathan Glazzard said: "The quality mark is based on a research-informed framework which enables school and college leaders to audit existing provision and identify priorities for enhancement.

“This is then followed by the implementation of actions to address those priorities to improve provision and outcomes for students who identify as LGBTQ+.”

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