NEU members have made ‘Inclusion not Exclusion’ their theme as they have marched, this Pride season, all around the country. Pride reminds us why we must create learning environments which are safe and welcoming places for LGBT+ young people, staff and families. The NEU is committed to supporting the profession to do this, and lobbying Government for crystal-clear guidance to help schools embed inclusive values and develop inclusive pedagogy.   

NEU members proudly marched at over 20 Pride events around the country, with a further 20 events still to come over the summer. Crowds have been supportive of LGBT+ staff and marchers have been greeted with cheers, hugs and sometimes even tears as members of the public have shared their own experiences of coming out at school. Pride season has prompted a flurry of activity in schools and colleges around the country including Pride youth group events, solidarity marches and increased equality- focused classroom work.

However, Pride season 2019 has taken place against an unsettling backdrop. The consequences of rising intolerance and division have made headlines all year. Hate crimes continue to increase with homo, bi and transphobic hate crime doubling in the last 5 years.  The well-resourced anti-LGBT+ education lobby have made headlines this spring and summer, with their actions seriously damaging teacher mental health, spreading misinformation and negatively affecting pupils’ self-esteem and access to education. Schools are left to pick up the pieces when senior politicians here and abroad set a tone of overt prejudice and perpetuate the stereotypes that harm LGBT+ staff and students.  

In complex times, schools need to provide security and inclusion for every pupil. Those are the values on which education rests. Teachers can provide a challenge to the growth of intolerance and division, by modelling different values. The NEU is focused on providing practical support to schools to ensure classrooms remain welcoming spaces where everyone  can access motivating learning. The NEU’s national conference in April selected an Urgency Motion on LGBT+ inclusion for debate, putting this at the heart of policy and campaigning work.

The NEU wants the Government to show proper leadership so that schools aren’t feeling confused or isolated. In July, the joint General Secretaries wrote to Ministers demanding they clarify that all education settings must be LGBT+ inclusive, in line with existing legislation including the Equality Act, anti-bullying legislation and curriculum legislation. 

Recently the NEU has been involved in:

  • In February, the General Secretaries signed a statement on inclusive RSE and co-signed a statement with faith leaders
  • In April, Parkfield Primary’s Andrew Moffat spoke to members at Annual Conference
  • In May, the Pride Season Campaign commenced which took Inclusion not Exclusion leaflets across the country, with 25, 000 leaflets distributed nationally
  • In July, LGBT+ delegates moved 2 motions on LGBT+ inclusive education and against LGBT+ hate crime at the TUC LGBT+ Conference, and the NEU motion was prioritised by the TUC
  • Throughout the year, the NEU engaged LGBT+ members around the issues.

Next term, the NEU will:

  • Release a new Breaking the Mould publication focused on using reading to develop LGBT+ inclusion in primary;
  • Develop a range of LGBT+ inclusion guidance;
  • Take the annual LGBT+ Educators’ Conference to Blackpool;
  • Gather case studies and develop advice about ways to engage parents about equalities work and your school values.

If you have developed good resources on LGBT+ inclusion in your work place that you would like to share, please email lgbt@neu.org.uk