The Mary Erskine School has been awarded LGBT Youth Scotland Gold Charter Award, today (28 August 2020). The award follows the introduction of several new initiatives to support the school’s LGBT community and create a more inclusive culture, across the learning environment including:
- Setting up a new GLIDE LGBT Youth Group to provide a safe and supportive space for young people to meet and discuss LGBT issues and ways to prompt conversations on these issues across the school
- Introducing compulsory LGBT training for all staff
- Updating our school policies for staff and pupils to better protect and support our LGBT community and to make them more gender inclusive. Revised policies include our Anti-bullying Policy, Equality and Diversity Policy, Dignity at Work Policy and our Uniform Policy
- Introducing a new Trans Protocol Policy to protect and promote the rights of our trans pupils
- More regular inclusion of LGBT issues across the curriculum and in school assemblies
- Surveying staff and students to identify what changes we need to make to support our LGBT community and improve education on LGBT issues
- Changing the title “Head Girl” to “School Captain”
- Increasing the number of books reflecting the LGBT community and improving the promotion of these books across the school
- Celebrating dates in the LGBT calendar across the School
Linda Moule, Principal of Erskine Stewart’s Melville Schools, said: “I am incredibly proud of all the teachers and pupils at The Mary Erskine School who have worked so hard to achieve our Gold LGBT Youth Scotland Charter Award. The award marks an important step in a wider programme of work to champion diversity across our schools and create a culture of inclusiveness.”
Lily Burgess, School Captain, The Mary Erskine School, said: “The school’s attitude towards the LGBTQ+ community has come far over the past year or so. Simple things, such as our LGBTQ+ History Month assembly are helping to educate people who have little exposure to LGBTQ+ content outside of school and help those of us in the community to feel more seen. These types of initiatives are removing the stigma, which is incredibly important.
“One of the most meaningful changes is that the school’s environment is significantly less heteronormative. It feels like people are talking openly about these topics around school more than they ever have before. The school is not simply accepting the LGBTQ+ community – they are actively supporting and fighting for us.“
Ann Marriott, Youth Work Manager (East) from LGBT Youth Scotland, said: "It has been a pleasure to work with The Mary Erskine School over the past couple of years as they have embedded LGBT inclusion across the school paying particular attention to Leadership, Training, Policy, Practice, Visibility, Monitoring and Evaluation. The review panel highlighted many areas of excellent practice which will be used as exemplars for others to learn from. In particular they highlighted their LGBT Group, Sex Education Policy, Impact assessment, Fun Run wearing LGBT colours, Holocaust Memorial Day assembly and pupil survey. We hope that by achieving this accolade staff, pupils and families will feel confident to be their authentic selves and see themselves recognised across the learning environment."