The UK’s Government has launched an LGBT action plan, in which it wants to deal with issues facing the LGBT+ community in the UK, including in the education system.
“This Government is committed to making the UK a country that works for everyone. We want to strip away the barriers that hold people back so that everyone can go as far as their hard work and talent can take them”.
Big words, so what exactly are they promising?
Penny Mordaunt, the Minister for Women and Equality has outlined 75 points she wants her office to push in order to achieve better rights, equality, safety and visibility for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex people of the UK.
Education was a big part of the government’s action plan, here’s what Ms Mordaunt said she plans to do:
“We will take action so that our education system supports every LGBT child or young person”
We will continue to tackle homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying in schools and the wider education system. The Government Equalities Office will complete its anti-homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying programme. This £3 million programme will reach more than 1,200 schools in England by March 2019. From March 2019 to March 2020, the Government Equalities Office will provide further funding for interventions in schools, and consider further projects to tackle bullying in further and higher education institutions. The Department for Education will work with the Government Equalities Office to understand how best to support schools to tackle homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying and how to continue this programme of work in a sustainable way through the school curriculum and policies in the medium and to long term. The Crown Prosecution Service will review and update their LGBT Hate Crime Schools Pack in partnership with young LGBT people and identity-based bullying professionals to tackle bullying in schools.
We will update Sex and Relationships Education guidance to support the Government’s reforms to this subject. As we have previously announced, the Department for Education will update the statutory guidance on Relationships Education in primary schools, and Relationships and Sex Education in secondary schools. These updates will ensure that the guidance supports teaching that is age appropriate and relevant to all pupils, whatever their developing sexual orientation or gender identity.
We will ensure that schools have access to the guidance they need to support LGBT pupils. The Department for Education will publish an update to its guidance for schools about how to apply the Equality Act 2010. In addition, the Government Equalities Office will work with the Equality and Human Rights Commission to publish comprehensive guidance for schools on how to support trans pupils.
We will support LGBT teachers to be themselves at work and improve the diversity of the teaching profession. The Department for Education is investing £2 million to establish regional hubs to support teachers from underrepresented groups, including those teachers who are LGBT, to progress into leadership. The Department for Education has also already supported the launch of ‘LGBTEd’ – a network for LGBT teachers and allies – and will continue to engage with stakeholders on making the teaching profession more LGBT inclusive.
We will ensure that support is available for LGBT students who are victims of hate crime and online harassment. The Government has asked the Office for Students to take steps to ensure that higher education providers are places of tolerance for all students. This includes working with higher education providers, for example, by supporting work to ensure that students who have been a victim of homophobic, biphobic and transphobic incidents have the support in place that they need, through access to appropriately trained staff and signposting to local specialist organisations. The Office for Students will investigate and tackle gaps in participation, experience, safeguarding and success for LGBT students in higher education.
Here’s what the government plans are in other key areas: