The importance of an inclusive environment
Your aim is to increase the visibility of LGBT+ people, issues and equality by utilising the all-powerful, accessible tool of the physical environment. In this way, you can make information widely available to all stakeholders (staff, governors, pupils and parents) to stimulate conversation.
Considering the environment enables the process of change to flow into the corridors, classrooms, reception areas, school hall, staffroom, social media and publicity. Your plan is to make the entire physical environment a safe space through visible displays and key words in prominent areas and teaching spaces, for everyone to experience.
How to make your environment LGBT+ friendly
- Decide on a key message, like ‘We Educate and Celebrate!’
- Link displays to your curriculum
- Get the children and young people to participate in choosing and creating display content
- Don’t forget the internet as well as your school’s physical walls
- Make a real impact on visitors and potential families in your institution’s reception area
3 examples that primary school teachers can implement
1. A positive poster in the reception area affirming LGBT+ identities can make a huge difference to the confidence, productivity and self-esteem of a parent or staff member.
2. A primary school in a rural area in the north of England has an electronic message on the digital signing-in station in the reception area, stating: ‘Our school welcomes everyone from all walks of life. Everyone must welcome and celebrate others in our school.’ The visitor then has the choice to ‘accept’ or ‘not accept’. If they do not accept, then they cannot gain access to the school. Each visitor who accepts then receives a printed lanyard with an equality statement mounted on a rainbow background. The theme continues on the wall, with a flag display representing all the different nationalities of students, with a Rainbow Flag among them showing an intersectional approach to the school’s equality agenda.
3. Don’t forget how uniform and uniform policies can impact on your school environment. A gender-neutral uniform can really send a message out about how all children, regardless of the gender roles imposed on them, have the right to express their gender as they need to.
For more activities for primary school teachers, check out How to Transform Your School into an LGBT+ Friendly Place by Dr Elly Barnes MBE and Dr Anna Carlile.
Follow this link for more LGBT+ inclusive books for use in the classroom.