Councillors approve plans to progress LGBT+ inclusivity in schools

The proposals, which were discussed at the Education Resources Committee on Tuesday (December 5) will include the council setting up a working group and focussing on equality during the next school session.

Councillors approve plans to progress LGBT+ inclusivity in South Lanarkshire schools iStock

South Lanarkshire councillors have approved plans to progress LGBT+ inclusivity in schools across the area.

The proposals, which were discussed at the Education Resources Committee on Tuesday (December 5) will include the council setting up a working group and focussing on equality during the next school session.

The working group will include members from across Education Resources with representation from schools, the Educational Psychology Service and the Youth, Family and Community Learning Service to examine the actions to be taken to further support schools to embed LGBT+ inclusive training in their practice.

As well as this, schools will be asked, as part of their normal improvement cycle, to ensure that parents and carers are kept fully informed about their work in relation to the equalities agenda and where appropriate, curricular materials will be shared with them.

And, schools will be asked to place a focus on equalities during the 2024/2025 session and each school will be asked to set out their plans for doing so as part of their school improvement plan.

During the next school year, all teaching staff will be required to undertake the Scottish Government professional learning course e-learning module and this will be included as an element of the annual mandatory training programme.

Chair of the Education Resources Committee, Lynsey Hamilton (Clydesdale West), welcomed the proposal.

She said: “Thank you very much for that very good report that’s been put in front of us.

“I think that there’s been an absolute power of work been done by the education department that’s already been done in schools and I think that it shows in this report how extensive the work has been.

“But I think that the report shows that there’s a bit more work to be done especially with the results of the survey that came out, so I think that going forward, it shows a clear path of how to do that and I know that equalities in general is going to be a big piece of work for education in the next year, so I look forward to seeing how that progresses.”

A survey was carried out in September across head teachers in South Lanarkshire schools to ensure a clear baseline for furthering work on progressing LGBT+ issues.

There were 64 respondents and the survey revealed that 33% of respondents did not feel confident in supporting LGBT+ children and young people, 64% of respondents were not aware of the LGBT+ inclusive education national platform, 32% have a pupil enquiry group and 24% have carried out an audit of class and library texts to ensure LGBT+ representation.

The results showed that there is a need to further develop partnership with parents and carers in promoting understanding of LGBT+ inclusive approaches.

The council’s progress and future plans on ensuring LGBT+ inclusivity in the education sector was praised by councillors at the meeting.

Councillor Katy Loudon (Cambuslang East), said: “There’s a lot of good work that we knew was going on already, but there’s clearly a lot of work still to do.

“It’s no secret that my group were very disappointed with the delay on the decision about using the national training materials after the SNP motion at full council to bring this forward was remitted back.

“So, I’m really pleased to see that this is finally a decision today with the recommendations about embedding LGBT+ inclusive education throughout various actions and training.

“In particular I’d like to welcome the professional model and e-learning will be included as an element of the annual training and there’s an aspirational target of all schools completing that training as well. “

Councillor Bert Thomson (Blantyre), said: “It’s a comprehensive and informative report, I welcome it. I think the really important people here are the young people, and it would be good to see the young people involved as they are the ones it directly affects.”

Councillor Ross Clark (Larkhall), who proposed the original motion at a full council meeting in August, welcomed the proposal.

He said: “Thank you for the report, I’d like to welcome what’s in it.

“I still don’t know why the motion couldn’t be passed at the time but I am pleased and I support that there is a recognition of the positive work nationally and locally in our schools, especially for our teachers and school staff who do some great work already. “

Councillor Gavin Keatt (Hamilton South), added: “I want to put on record my personal thanks to all the staff within education resources.

” This has been a power of important work, and it’s been a bit of a learning experience for myself.

“I think an important point to make is the fact that we’ve had this platform to discuss and take stock of where we are, where we need to improve and what we need to do to improve it.

“That’s invaluable, that’s the comprehensive and robust work that we owe our young people and our staff within South Lanarkshire and I’m grateful to the staff for putting this forward and letting us air it out and discuss it.”

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