We at LGBT Youth Scotland are so proud of all the schools and organisations we work with through the LGBT Charter Programme. There are 184 education settings accredited with the LGBT Charter which includes Primary, Secondary, Colleges and Universities. Over 50% of all secondaries in Scotland have achieved or are working towards the Charter.
We want to take time to celebrate some schools who are engaging in innovative LGBTI+ inclusion work in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. This week we're looking at Wick High School, who are working towards their Silver LGBT Charter Award.
Wick High School have been working hard to raise the visibility of LGBTI+ identities and expand awareness within the school community.
Pupils have been leading events for LGBT+ History Month and Purple Friday, planning activities such as bake sales, making displays and taking part in LGBTI+ inclusive lessons.
The school also provides safe spaces for LGBTI+ young people through lunchtime clubs and have been celebrating Pride this June.
Staff have also participated in training as part of this work with over 40% of teaching staff completing training with LGBT Youth Scotland on how education professionals can support LGBTI+ students within schools. School staff have also been working to update school policies to reflect the inclusive school environment.
The school also created the opportunity for pupils to design a logo for their LGBTI+ lunchtime group which demonstrates inclusion of all identities. One modern studies teacher has said,
“Being a Charter Champion has been an inspiring experience. I have learned a lot about LGBT inclusive education, especially the nuances surrounding the LGBTQIA+ community. I have become more empathetic as a teacher and have learned more about our LGBT population. Our work updating school policies has informed my practice and has supported my work with our Human Rights Club, too. Doing the Charter has absolutely been a step in the right direction for Wick High School”
Some pupils that attend the lunchtime group spoke with P7 pupils coming to the school about some of the activities the group has been involved to showcase their work and share their inclusive practice.
The pupils of Wick High School have also commented on how the LGBT Charter programme and LGBTQIA+ inclusive education more generally has impacted their school experience:
“Being part of the Charter Champion group has been a positive experience. I’ve learned more about different sexualities and gender identities. I’ve noticed more teachers using more gender-neutral language and more teachers seem to be aware of LGBTQIA+ issues. Overall, it’s been a fun and interesting experience.” S2 Pupil - Junior Charter Champion Representative
“Most staff attitudes have improved as we have been doing the Charter. There is less homophobia in school.” S1 Pupil
“Since we started the Charter, we have been asked our opinion more about LGBT inclusion in school. I think it’s been good to allow our voices to be heard more.” S4 Pupil
We want to congratulate Wick High School on all the hard work they have done within the school to make it an increasingly inclusive place for all pupils and support them in continuing this work throughout the LGBT Charter programme and for years to come!
Currently we have 161 schools across Scotland completing the charter, however only a handful of these schools are in more rural areas of Scotland.
Our recent Life in Scotland Survey has revealed that just 28% of rural-based participants rated their local area as a good place to be LGBTI+ as compared to 62% of urban-based participants.
It is so important that schools in rural communities are showing support to LGBTI+ young people and providing safe spaces such as LGBTI+ lunch time clubs or celebrating LGBTI+ events.
Interested in your school or organisation undertaking the LGBT Charter programme? Find out more here