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Getting started in primary schools

Getting started in primary schools. Chris Gibbons Senior Education Officer. What this will cover. Homophobic bullying in primary schools: what we know The school experience: Malmesbury Park School Broadgreen Primary School Group work: lesson ideas Q&A.

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Getting started in primary schools

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  1. Getting started in primary schools Chris Gibbons Senior Education Officer

  2. What this will cover • Homophobic bullying in primary schools: what we know • The school experience: • Malmesbury Park School • Broadgreen Primary School • Group work: lesson ideas • Q&A

  3. Section 28: gone but not forgotten? I’m not sure of the law – I know I am not allowed to promote homosexuality and am not sure what this involves. Zoe, teacher, independent primary school

  4. More than two in five primary school teachers say children in their schools experience homophobic bullying • Most reasons given are unrelated to sexual orientation • More than nine in ten have had no specific training to prevent and tackle homophobic bullying


  6. Homophobic language • Most prevalent form of homophobic behaviour in schools • One in five say primary school staff say children in their schools experience homophobic verbal abuse • Three quarters of primary school teachers hear children say ‘you’re so gay’ or ‘that’s so gay’ at school • Two in five report hearing remarks such as ‘poof’, ‘dyke’, ‘queer’ or ‘faggot’

  7. Which children in primary schools might experience homophobic bullying?

  8. Children who: • are thought to be “different” in some way • boys who don’t “act like boys” • boys who don’t play sports • girls who don’t “act like girls” • girls who do play sports • work hard in class or underachieve • aren’t “part of the gang” • have gay family members and friends

  9. Alison Gaunt Malmesbury Park School, Bournemouth

  10. Malmesbury Park School A three form entry primary school with approximately 700 pupils. A happy and friendly atmosphere where children can grow to be responsible and caring members of the community. A rich diversity of culture, religion, colour and faith, celebrating 29 different home languages.

  11. To tackle the incorrect use of the term ‘gay’ in our school. To use the information gained from the Stonewall conference in November 2011. How did the lesson come about? The opportunity to work in partnership with the Local Authority to produce a lesson plan.

  12. What did we want to achieve? To link our anti-bullying work to the PSHE days we already have in place as part of our curriculum. To link different families in to the Rainbow scheme of work. To increase the children’s self awareness of their own family and to give them a sense of pride in their family.

  13. What did we want to achieve? For other children to be aware and respect other family types and understand that other children might be proud of their family. Cover a range of family types including same sex parents, single parent families, foster parents, step parents and adoption.

  14. What did the lesson include? An introduction into similarities and differences between us – eye colour, hair colour, hobbies, clothing etc. Reading books that subtly introduce different family types.

  15. What did the lesson include? Main activity was to produce a Different Families, Same Love poster for their class.

  16. Considerations Avoid any isolating activities where children might be singled out. Staff reminded about how to report or deal with any disclosures made during the lesson. The possibility of discussions or feelings being brought up of separation and loss.

  17. Considerations Do you have any specially trained staff who can help? Our Emotional Literacy and Feelings staff work with children who have particular personal and emotional needs. Preparing the staff in advance meant they could prepare.

  18. Julie McCann Broadgreen Primary School, Liverpool

  19. Broadgreen Primary – Our Journey Julie McCann Advanced Skills Teacher, Broadgreen Primary, Liverpool SAPERE (Society for the Advancement of Philosophical Enquiry and Reflection in Education) Trainer

  20. Aims • To demonstrate that talking about different families and tackling homophobia in a primary school is not difficult. • To share the experience of one primary school in Liverpool.

  21. Broadgreen Primary School: Context Largely white working class intake; Free school meals – 33%; Outskirts of Liverpool; Leading school in PSHEe; Philosophy for Children; Excellent community engagement; CARE code.

  22. Getting Started • Initial Needs Assessment; • Action Plan Targets: • policies to address homophobia; • issues of homophobic bullying to be recorded; • all staff to access training to support them in understanding and challenging homophobia.

  23. Student Council Bullying survey; Rewrote bullying policy to include homophobic bullying; Met with Lydia Malmedie of Stonewall; Agreed to take part in a campaign to challenge homophobia and gender stereotyping, and celebrate different families; Disseminated information to their classmates.

  24. School Staff Head teacher commitment; Committed to challenging prejudice but varying levels of confidence in doing so; Initial staff meeting following student council consultation; INSET with other schools & LEA advisor invited.

  25. Resourcing

  26. The Family Book

  27. Dad David, Baba Chris and Me - 1

  28. Dad David, Baba Chris and Me - 1

  29. Dad David, Baba Chris and Me - 1

  30. Dad David, Baba Chris and Me - 2

  31. Dad David, Baba Chris and Me - 2

  32. Different Families Same Love

  33. Impact on Learning Encourages empathy, care, respect for difference. Relationships within class improved. Children and adults more able and willing to tackle homophobia. Children more comfortable with diverse family types.

  34. Further advice, support or help... julie.mccann@liverpool.gov.uk

  35. Designing an inclusive curriculum

  36. Curriculum and teaching • Almost two thirds of primary school teachers have not addressed sexual orientation in their lessons. A third who have not done so think it is ‘not relevant’ in their lessons • One in four would not feel confident in responding if a pupil asked questions regarding gay issues in the classroom • More than a third of teachers know pupils with gay parents or family members

  37. Discussion • What activities could a you do with children to address difference and celebrate different families, including families with lesbian and gay parents? What do you do on ethnicity, for example? • What issues might arise when, for example, making mother’s and father’s day cards? How can you make sure everyone feels included? • Who else should you involve?

  38. Resources

  39. Primary school books • And Tango Makes Three • King and King • Spacegirl Pukes • The Sissy Duckling + lesson plans More at www.stonewall.org.uk/primary

  40. An inclusive curriculum : • makes all children, including those with gay family and friends, feel included • reflects the lives of all children in your class • helps tackle bullying • helps create an environment of respect • gives children the opportunity to discuss difference in a safe and structured environment

  41. Take a consistent zero-tolerance approach to homophobic language • Make sure your school has an up-to-date anti-bullying policy which includes homophobic bullying and language, and make sure the whole school is aware of it

  42. Use the curriculum to talk about language (or SEAL and Circle Time in primary) • Use key events in the academic year (Anti-Bullying Week, LGBT History Month) • Involve your wider school community • Practice what you preach!

  43. education@stonewall.org.uk 08000 50 20 20 stonewall.org.uk/primary

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