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Education

From same-sex maths questions to queer icons, Stonewall launches LGBT-inclusive curriculum for primary schools

Lily Wakefield November 18, 2019
Stonewall primary schools guide

Calls for LGBT- inclusive education at Birmingham Pride. (Jim Wood/Barcroft Media/Getty)

Stonewall has launched a curriculum guide to help primary schools make all subjects LGBT-inclusive ahead of comprehensive relationships education becoming compulsory next year.

From September 2020, inclusive relationships and sex education will be statutory, which the guide says “will provide an additional impetus for primary schools to look again at their approach to LGBT inclusion”.

Creating an Inclusive Curriculum was funded by the Government Equalities Office and gives primary schools amazing ideas to integrate LGBT+ identities and different kinds of families into all areas of the curriculum.

According to the guide: “When schools don’t represent LGBT people in the curriculum, they send children the message that LGBT people are not to be spoken about.

“This can give children the impression that there’s something wrong with being LGBT or being part of an LGBT family… The LGBT inclusive curriculum must go beyond teaching children about LGBT issues in PSHE, ensuring that LGBT families, people and themes are embedded throughout the curriculum.”

It highlights that small changes can make a big difference and one its suggestions for maths lessons is simply changing the wording of problems.

For example: “Mark’s dads increase his pocket money by 10%. If Mark had £2 before the increase, how much pocket money does he have now?”

In English, it suggests, teachers can use LGBT-inclusive books in class and teach children how and why the pronoun “they” can be used as a singular.

The resource also encourages using LGBT+ icons in lessons for a variety of subjects, like Alan Turing in history, Frida Kahlo in art or Tom Daley in PE.

Geography lessons might include studying approaches to gender around the world “for example, the Hijra community in India; the Calabi, Calalai and Bissu genders in Indonesia; the Mashoga of Kenya; and two-spirit people from Native American cultures”.

One primary school headteacher quoted in the guide said: “Our aim in school is to have happy, confident, successful children who go on to be happy, confident, successful adults.

“Many of our children have LGBT family members, many will be LGBT themselves, some will go one to have LGBT children.

“If we didn’t teach our children about LGBT people and families and didn’t include LGBT people in our curriculum we would be failing in own aims, and failing our children.”

The guide also provides a “child-friendly glossary” of LGBT+ terms, as well as a glossary for teachers who may not feel confident with inclusive terminology, and suggests ways for schools to use team teaching and peer mentoring to get all staff on the same page.

In the wake of protests outside primary schools in Birmingham over inclusive education, with some protestors accusing schools of teaching anal sex, paedophilia and “transgenderism”, Stonewall suggests that schools be transparent over the curriculum changes they plan to adopt.

It said: “Communicate with parents and carers and be transparent. It’s a great idea to invite parents in to school to have a look at the books and other resources you’re using.

“Make sure your policies on LGBT inclusion – from your equality policy to your anti-bullying policy – are clearly available on your website and that you have an open door policy.

“When you share your curriculum with parents online, make the LGBT links clear so that parents and carers can see what you plan to teach and when.”

Sidonie Bertrand-Shelton, head of education programmes at Stonewall, said: “All children deserve an education which reflects the world that we live in, and teaches them to celebrate and embrace diversity.

 “LGBT-inclusive education is about teaching that some children have two mums or two dads. Learning about different kinds of families from a young age helps create inclusive environments so everyone feels they belong.”

More: LGBT-inclusive education, primary schools, Sex and relationships education, Stonewall

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