UK’s first LGBT school planned for Manchester
Plans to open the first LGBT school in the UK are under way, with funding secured, and a site selected in Manchester.
The school, which is being planned by LGBT Youth North West, will host 40 full-time pupils, and will be established in the heart of the city.
Some part time places will be available for pupils who wish to continue attending a mainstream school.
The school is aimed at LGBT students who struggle to fit in at mainstream schools, but will also be open to any other children who wish to attend.
According to Children and Young People Now, LGBT Youth North West said it hoped the school would be a “trailerblazer”, which will be replicated by other parts of the UK.
The charity was awarded £63,000 from the Department for Communities and Local Government community assets and services grants programme.
Amelia Lee, strategic director for the charity said the school was backed by Manchester City Council, and fits into the city’s alternative provision offer.
“This will provide for LGBT young people who don’t feel they fit in the mainstream,” Lee said.
“In Manchester in December we had a girl called Lizzie [Elizabeth Lowe] who committed suicide in a park because she was struggling with coming out and was worried about telling her parents.
“Lots of pupils have a really tough time and we want to do what we can to help those pupils and to give them additional support.
“We can either hope every school is going to be inclusive or we can recognise we are not there yet and we need more specialised schools. This is about saving lives.”
The curriculum of the school will also be based around youth work techniques, Lee continued, saying: “The scope for having schools that work for pupils rather than work for the system is massive.
“We have an education system that sets up five to 10% of pupils to fail.
“This could be an example for other LGBT schools, but equally for young carers, young parents, and young people with mental health problems.”
Where the school will be built is currently the site of the Joyce Layland Centre, which provides a decidated space for LGBT organisations, including meeting spaces, offices for rent, and a library and cafe.