Inclusion for LGBTQ+ Students

Keeping Children Safe in Education 2022 has a section in Part 2: The Management of Safeguarding, in which it talks about inclusion for LGBTQ+ students. This blog explores this inclusion. 

Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSIE) has updated its guidance, which came into effect on September 1, 2022. This guidance applies to all schools and colleges in England and sets out the legal duties an establishment must follow to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people under the age of 18 in schools and colleges. 

LGBTQ+ Students at Risk  

In Part 2: The Management of Safeguarding, the guidance has a section dedicated to children who are lesbian, gay, bi or trans (LGBT); however, we will refer to these students as LGBTQ+ in order to be inclusive to all children and young people who may identify with these groups.  

Paragraph 202 of the guidance states:  

The fact that a child or a young person may be LGBT is not in itself an inherent risk factor for harm. However, children who are LGBT can be targeted by other children. In some cases, a child who is perceived by other children to be LGBT (whether they are or not) can be just as vulnerable as children who identify as LGBT.  

Stonewall’s research project School Report 2017 found that nearly half of LGBT pupils (45 per cent) – including 64 per cent of trans pupils – are bullied for being LGBT in Britain’s schools. While this number is down compared to research in 2007, the results show that many LGBTQ+ students still face discrimination in schools and colleges. 

LGBTQ+ students often can be at risk from homophobic bullying from their peers. Bullies Out has a list of types of homophobic bullying which can include: 

  • Name-calling 
  • Spreading rumours 
  • Online bullying 
  • Physical abuse such as hitting, kicking, punching or physically hurting them 
  • Sexual abuse such as inappropriate sexual comments or gestures 
  • Emotional abuse such as making comments about a person’s gender or sexuality that deliberately makes them feel uncomfortable 
  • Exclusion such as refusing to work or cooperate with someone because of their real or perceived sexual orientation 
  • Making nasty comments about a person online Mocking or imitating someone’s voice, mannerisms etc. 

Education staff need to be aware that students who identify as LGBTQ+ or are perceived as LGBTQ+ could face discrimination from their peers, therefore it is vital that staff put measures in place to educate on the equalities act to prevent this type of discrimination among students and event staff.  

Safe Space  

The guidance goes on to comment that children and young people who are LGBTQ+ can face risks when they do not have a trusted adult with whom they can be open. It is therefore vital for organisations to reduce any barriers that may exist for LGBTQ+ students and provide a safe space for them to speak out or to share their concerns with members of staff. 

I felt like whatever I was doing was worthless. Even if I did well in school, it wouldn’t matter to people because all they would care about is me being gay – Zoe, aged 12, England secondary school student. School Report 2017

We recommend that schools appoint a member of staff who be a point of contact for LGBTQ+ students and provide them with this safe space to discuss their concerns, whether that be during office hours or a school group/club; for example, Dallam School has a Queer Straight Alliance club

Relationships, Sex and Health Education Inclusion  

One of the noteworthy changes in KCSIE 2022 is diversity and inclusion. LGBTQ+ inclusion is now part of the statutory Relationships Education, Relationship and Sex Education and Health Education curriculum and there is a range of support available to help schools counter homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying and abuse. 

This is vital for LGBTQ+ identifying students to feel included in important conversations. In Stonewall’s 2017 research project mentioned above, LGBTQ+ students commented they felt excluded from these discussions which were often centred around relationships of the opposite sex, not including or acknowledging those of the same sex.  

Once in sex education, I asked about safe sex in same-sex relationships and I was told that it was ‘inappropriate’ and ‘that is not suitable for classroom discussion’. I was told to leave the room – Dorian, aged 13, West Midlands secondary school student. School Report 2017

We recommend that senior leaders look into training for staff members in diversity and inclusion to understand the issues LGBTQ+ students may be experiencing and encourage conversations.  

Support 

Stonewall is an amazing Charity that supports all lesbian, gay, bi, trans, queer, questioning and ace (LGBTQ+) people everywhere.  

Author
Georgia Latief
Marketing Content Manager

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