In keeping with our mission, vision and values, our curriculum is inclusive and reflective of our LGBT+ community. As a result, our children are respectful and appreciate the diversity that exists within our school community and within society as a whole. No religious text or doctrines advocate bullying, and it is only by educating our children and promoting an inclusive ethos that we can keep everyone safe and maintain a zero-tolernace approach to any kind of bullying, prejudice or discrimination. Ultimately, ‘there is more that unites us than divides us’ and we celebrate and value this.
Being LGBT+ inclusive is every school's statutory duty:
The Equality Act 2010
In 2010, The Equality Act was passed and the public sector Equality Duty requires all schools to eliminate discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender reassignment. This includes tackling homophobic, biphobic and transphobic (HBT) bullying. Schools are also required to advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations. This means that schools should go beyond tackling HBT bullying and take proactive steps to promote respect and understanding of LGBT people and issues. School should set specific and measurable equality objectives e.g. reducing levels of HBT language and bullying.
As of November 2014, schools have to promote British Values. Advice from the Department of Education is to do so through SMSC (Spiritual, Moral, Social, Cultural) education. Ofsted also assess this by reviewing it's inclusion in our curriculum. As part of British Values, all schools have a duty to promote Individual Liberty, Rule of Law and Democracy, which includes all protected characteristics referred to in the Equality Act 2010 (race, religion, sexual orientation, sex, gender reassignment and disability etc.).
By law, all schools need to have an anti-bullying policy. Section 89 of the Education and Inspections Act 2006 states that maintained schools must have measures to encourage good behaviour and prevent all forms of bullying amongst pupils.
What do Ofsted inspectors expect to see?
When schools receive Ofsted visits, they form a judgement within the category of Personal Development, which requires schools to be inclusive of our LGBT+ community.
- Ofsted will evaluate the school’s evidence of personal development by looking into ‘pupils’ understanding of the protected characteristics and how equality and diversity are promoted’.
- Within the different areas of personal development, Ofsted will expect to see that schools are ‘promoting an inclusive environment that meets the needs of all pupils, irrespective of age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation.’
- Grade descriptors for ‘good’ and ‘outstanding’ schools within the area of ‘Personal Development’ include the criteria that the school promotes equality of opportunity and diversity effectively. As a result, pupils understand, appreciate and respect difference in the world and its people, including the things we share in common across cultural, religious, ethnic and socio-economic communities.
Our Hillcross Curriculum
LGBT+ history month is not the only time that any reference is made to the LGBT community as it is embedded within and across our curriculum, as well as being addressed as part of our anti-bullying policy. This may be through the use of picture books or PSHE lessons that reflect different family groupings, references in collective worship that address bullying, or when learning about British Values and equality in a Historical context. For a list of primary school books (both fiction and non-fiction) that address LGBT+ themes, please click here.
Across our curriculum, we always ensure the following:
- That the delivery of all learning is age appropriate and all staff ensure any references made to LGBT+ are suitable and pitched at the children’s age and ability/ understanding.
- We use the correct and appropriate terminology when addressing children’s questions or making references. All children hear the words lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans and understand the definitions of these words. Please click here for the definitions we use.
- The correct terms have been used with children for some time at Hillcross and children are encouraged to raise questions with staff if they are confused. The children are very matter of fact about what it means to be lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans and it is through the "normalising" of such language that we break down prejudice and discrimination.
It would be impossible for a child be removed from 'LGBT lessons' as equality is embedded within our curriculum and across the day as we promote respect to all groups within society. Instead of one off lessons, we make references to all protected characteristics within many lessons rather than teaching specifically and about them.
What we do NOT do
- We do not promote or discuss the idea of LGBT+ as a choice or lifestyle; instead, we use the analogy of being right-handed/left handed or born with brown hair rather than blonde hair etc. Because of this, children are clear that being LGBT+ is how we are born and not about a lifestyle choice.
- We do not link LGBT+ to the British Value ‘Respect and Tolerance for Different Faiths and Beliefs’ as this conveys the message that being LGBT is a belief/lifestyle choice rather than the way people are born.
- We do not reinforce stereotypes of our LGBT community. We actively challenge stereotypes and ensure our LGBT community is represented in many different ways.
- Assume and discuss different religious views about the LGBT community. If raised, we discuss the fact that no religion thinks bullying of any kind is acceptable and this is why we are learning about equality.
- When we talk to the children about any relationship, we do not refer to any specific sexual acts. The only references to sex in the curriculum is made within a reproductive context in science and in PSHE where children learn that sex is between two people in a loving relationship.