On Monday, Downfield Primary School in Dundee became the first primary school in the country to receive LGBT Youth Scotland’s LGBT Charter award.
At a whole school assembly, Jane Griffin, Senior Fundraising Manager at LGBT Youth Scotland, presented the Silver LGBT Charter award to the school’s Equalities Group. These 9 children took a lead role in the review and development of the school’s policies and were assembled from children who were keen to be involved in making change happen; some of whom have LGBT family members at home.
With choreographed dances from multiple age groups in the school and whole-school roof-raising renditions of “This Is Me” from the musical The Greatest Showman and The Downfield Primary Song, the children highlighted the school’s values and commitment to celebrating difference. The creation of a 400-person giant rainbow flag rounded off the warm and energetic afternoon.
Downfield Primary School received overwhelming support from parents during their Charter journey, with some writing letters to the Headteacher reflecting on the positive impact it had on their children. Now standing as an ambassador for effective LGBT-inclusive education with Primary children, other schools in the area and beyond have reached out to share good practice.
Fiona Ballie, Depute Head at Downfield and key staff member for the school’s LGBT Charter work, remarked that the changes in the school reflected nothing less than a cultural shift. She shared her warm memories of having had the opportunity to deliver assemblies on LGBT History Month and working with LGBT Youth Scotland to ensure that every staff member in the School (including all non-teaching staff) received comprehensive LGBT awareness training. She thanked Headteacher Karen Emmett for her support and encouragement from day one.
Paul Clancy, Director of Education at Dundee City Council, and Councillor Gregor Fisher Murray, Convener of Education, attended the presentation and commended the staff team at Downfield. Councillor Murray said: “To be the first in the entire country is an accolade that really demonstrates the hard work and commitment from all of the staff, and parents, and of course, the pupils. It is a fantastic achievement and will improve the experience of all pupils, not just those who identify as LGBTI”.
Fergus McMillan, Chief Executive of LGBT Youth Scotland said: “Downfield is the first primary school to achieve the LGBT Charter, demonstrating a commitment to diversity and the creation of inclusive learning environments. By involving pupils in the development of policy, Downfield sends a strong message of inclusion to the entire school community, including pupils, parents, carers and staff. LGBT Youth Scotland congratulates everyone at Downfield on this brilliant achievement.”
The LGBT Charter has been awarded to organisations including Barnardo’s Scotland and Scottish Women’s Aid; as well as 18 high schools across the country. It represents a serious and ongoing commitment to improving and evidencing an organisation’s policies and values around LGBTI inclusion. LGBT Youth Scotland provide comprehensive training for staff members and guide each organisation’s LGBT Charter team through the collation of a folder of evidence that tells the story of their journey and roadmaps the future.