We are not free to be you and me

24th May 2013 at 01:00

Imagine, if you will, a school where we would like 100 per cent of students to achieve their targets. Since 2010, we have been aiming for a 60 per cent success rate (perhaps lacking a little ambition) but we actually achieve only a 40 per cent success rate. Should a school like this be in Ofsted's special measures?

Now picture, if you will, an establishment where there is no action plan to support the expected improvement. Nor has there been one since the new leader has been in charge. The institution to which I refer is the UK's Department for Education (DfE) - the leader, Michael Gove.

Mr Gove's DfE has a diversity target of 6 per cent of employees to represent lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) groups (perhaps lacking a little ambition). And on 15 May his officials admitted in response to a Freedom of Information request that: "There have not been any formal positive action measures within the Department for Education for lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender staff in the past three years. However, the department actively supports such groups through staff networks and as part of a programme of awareness sessions."

The school with the 40 per cent success rate might equally say that it is actively supporting "groups" but if it doesn't reach its target then the support isn't working. The likelihood is that more employees in the DfE are LGBT but they are scared to "come out". I understand their fear. The lesbian, gay and bisexual charity Stonewall is campaigning for schools to encourage LGBT young people to "come out". Why would they? If the DfE is not a safe environment for a minority group, which school will be?

Anonymous, Author details provided.

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