LGBT Inclusive Education Implementation Group: communications brief

Communications brief for the LGBT Inclusive Education Implementation Group.

LGBT rather than LGBTI

LGB, Trans, and Intersex/Variations of Sex Characteristics (I/VSC) relate to three distinct personal characteristics. The needs of I/VSC young people are less well understood and at an earlier stage of consideration. For this reason, the Implementation Group decided to create a separate working group dedicated to this I/VSC inclusion. This group will therefore move forward as the LGBT Inclusive Education Implementation Group. The new I/VSC working group will consider inclusion firstly within the relationships, sexual health and parenthood (RSHP) curriculum guidance review and update, and later, more broadly within school education. This new I/VSC Education Working Group will be made up of I/VSC parent and support groups, I/VSC individuals, and further stakeholders who are better placed to develop this work. The I/VSC Education Working Group will communicate with the LGBT Inclusive Education Implementation Group when appropriate and necessary.

LGBT Inclusive Education Implementation Group

In November 2018, the Scottish Government accepted, in full, the recommendations of the LGBTI Inclusive Education Working Group. The LGBT Inclusive Education Implementation Group has since been established to oversee and facilitate delivery of the recommendations. The Implementation Group includes members of the Working Group along with representation from the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA). The Scottish Government and the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) are jointly Chairing the group.

LGBT inclusive eeducation recommendations

The 33 recommendations cover the professional learning of teachers, the availability of resources, practice and guidance for schools and their inspection. The Implementation Group has published an action plan outlining a timetable for the delivery of each recommendation by March 2021.

The Deputy First Minister agreed to keep the Scottish Parliament updated on progress of the Implementation Group and this will be done using the action plan. You can check periodically for updates on progress.

Purpose of recommendations

The difficulties experienced by LGBT children and young people in relation to bullying, discrimination, mental health concerns and attainment are well documented and have been highlighted by LGBT organisations for a number of years and also by the Scottish Parliament’s Equalities and Humans Rights and Education and Skills Committees. The Working Group was established in April 2017 to advise on the concerns and pledges of the Time for Inclusive Education (TIE) Campaign on how the educational experience of LGBT pupils could be improved.

This work also aims to contribute more broadly to wider inclusive practice in the education system and is linked to a number of legislative duties on local authorities and practitioners across sectors, related to the Children and Young People Act, Additional Support for Learning Act, Equalities duties, GIRFEC policy and Safeguarding.

Curricular inclusion

While the recommendations do not suggest wholesale changes to the curriculum, they will strengthen LGBT inclusion across all curricular subjects. The recommendations are in line with the principles of Curriculum for Excellence (CfE), the national approach to learning and teaching for young people aged 3 to 18 in Scotland. The curriculum is not statutory and therefore it is for teachers, headteachers and other professional educational practitioners to decide the development and implementation of the curriculum within the overall framework.

While the inclusion of LGBT content in every subject is not mandatory, the recommendations will provide teachers with resources to enable them to include LGBT issues across the curriculum and help ensure all pupils are learning in a fully inclusive environment. We will also look to provide new and existing teachers with relevant training opportunities to ensure they can confidently deliver learning in this important area. School inspectors will also be able to use LGBT prompt questions during standard school inspections.

The Scottish education system must support everyone to reach their full potential. That is why it is vital the curriculum is as diverse as the young people who learn in our schools. These recommendations will not only improve the learning experience of our LGBT young people, they will also support all learners to celebrate their differences, promote understanding and encourage inclusion.

Protected characteristics

Local authorities and schools are subject to equalities duties, through the Equalities Act 2010, which should be considered in all aspects of school life, including curriculum development at local level. Under the Equality Act, it is against the law to discriminate against someone because of:

  • age
  • disability
  • gender reassignment
  • marriage and civil partnership
  • pregnancy and maternity
  • race
  • religion or belief
  • sex
  • sexual orientation

These are called protected characteristics.

The LGBTI Inclusive Education Working Group’s recommendations followed a detailed and lengthy engagement process, which was aimed at addressing an identified need of LGBT children and young people. Learning in relation to the remaining protected characteristics (age, disability, race and religion or belief) is already supported within Curriculum for Excellence.

Furthermore, one of the recommendations of the recently published Personal and Social Education (PSE) Review commits Education Scotland to build on the recommendations of the LGBTI Inclusive Education working group by undertaking a peer-review, in collaboration with practitioners, of selected effective curriculum materials to support learning related to the other protected characteristics. These recommendations will be taken forward by a new PSE Delivery and Implementation Group, which will monitor progress against each of the recommendations, with the aim of full delivery by the end of the current Parliamentary term in March 2021.

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