Glasgow primary school first in Scotland to embed ‘vital’ LGBTQ+ education into all teaching 

Castletown Primary School

A Glasgow school has been praised after becoming the first in Scotland to fully embed LGBTQ-inclusive education across its entire curriculum. 

Castleton Primary, in the city’s South Side, has, with the help of pupils, parents and teachers, implemented and evaluated the effectiveness of LGBTQ+ education, to become the first school to implement the Scottish government’s national approach to inclusive education.

In 2019, the government launched a package of resources to help schools build on existing practices to promote equality, reduce bullying and improve the experiences of LGBTQ+ children and young people.

And, on Tuesday (22 August), Scotland’s education secretary, Jenny Gilruth, visited the school and praised the “important milestone”. Improving the inclusivity of teaching has already improved experiences for young people, resulting in less bullying and anti-LGBTQ+ behaviour, in and out of the classroom, she said. 

Adam Barkes, Stonewall’s associate director of education, youth and sport, told PinkNews: “LGBTQ-inclusive education plays a vital role in fostering respect for others and for the ways in which difference enriches our society.

“All children and young people deserve an education that is representative of the society around them, and educators need more support to embed LGBTQ+ topics across the entire curriculum.”

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This sort of initiative this shouldn’t have to “be seen as bravery”, he added, but due to the UK facing an “ever-more visible manufactured culture war, leading to an alarming increase in anti-LGBTQ+ hate crime, inclusive education is a vital preventative step to ensure all people are safe”.

‘Inclusive education can help to stamp out prejudice’

Gilruth added: “Scotland’s education system must support everyone, and it is vital the curriculum is as diverse as the young people who learn in our schools. 

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“The inspirational work being undertaken at Castleton and schools like it across the country highlight how inclusive education can help to stamp out prejudice and I look forward to seeing further progress on this work in the coming months and years.”

Jordan Daly, the co-founder and director of Time for Inclusive Education – a charity that aims to tackle prejudice and bullying of LGBTQ+ young people – agreed that inclusive education helps to proactively tackle the problems. 

“We have been privileged to work with Castleton Primary School to take this forward, and are encouraged by reports from pupils and teachers about the positive impact that this has had on their school experiences.” 

He encouraged all teachers in Scotland to engage with the array of resources provided free by the Scottish government, to improve “outcomes for LGBT young people and families in their school community”. 

Scottish Green Party councillor Blair Anderson praised the Scottish government for its work and pointed out that when he was at school, the lack of such an initiative led to him be “outed, bullied and left out”.

Had it been in place, he wouldn’t have felt so “wrong or so dirty or so sinful or shameful of who I was”, Anderson added.

“I spent most of my teenage years so disgusted by who I was, by my sexuality, that I didn’t know that what I was going through at the time was wrong. Because I didn’t get an LGBT-inclusive education, I also didn’t really get a childhood.”

Laura Mackay, chief executive of LGBTQ+ young people’s charity, Just Like Us, congratulated Castleton Primary School and told PinkNews that such inclusive education allows students to know that being LGBTQ+ is “something to be celebrated”.

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Mackay referenced research by the charity and said inclusion and support benefits pupils wellbeing and has a profound positive impact on them into adulthood, from their mental health and personal relationships, to their career prospects.

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