Creating an LGBT Inclusive Curriculum with LGBT Youth Scotland

At the EIS event "Taking Pride in Teaching LGBT+ Young People" LGBT Youth Scotland Education Capacity Building Officer Caitlin Wood led a workshop on Creating an LGBT Inclusive Curriculum.

The workshop began with a brief overview of the history of and work undertaken by LGBT Youth Scotland. Attendees were asked to pair up and discuss who their own LGBT role models are, and why. A discussion then ensued where members listed various politicians, journalists, authors and celebrities who they considered to be role models within the LGBT community.

Participants were led through some of the existing policies and legislation in place to ensure children's rights within schools, and members then shared their own experiences of children still using inappropriate and homophobic language towards each other, with the general consensus being that the underlying factor in fuelling such language is an overall level of ignorance amongst the children, as they use these words without comprehending their meaning.

It was also noted that once questioned about their use of language, children in general then showed a level of understanding as to why it should not be used.

Caitlin then touched on Curriculum for Excellence, and broke this down in terms or early and primary, and secondary, before discussing three duties that schools need to be mindful of under the Equality Act 2010 –

  • Eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment, victimisation and any other conduct prohibited by the Act
  • Advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and people who do not share it
  • Foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and people who do not share it

Caitlin outlined the commitment of the Scottish Government to LGBT inclusive education and referenced the member organisations of the LGBTI Inclusive Education Working Group, who's 33 recommendations cover the professional learning of teachers, practice and guidance, school inspections and anti-bullying, to be delivered before the end of the current Parliamentary term in March 2021.

Those in attendance discussed in small groups what they think is missing for LGBT+ pupils in 2020 around the school, in the curriculum and from teachers and the wider school community.

This prompted comprehensive discussion and there was consensus that an increased visibility of diverse family structures throughout the school curriculum was necessary and that the desired outcome would be to arrive at a place where LGBT inclusion is a given, and a high visibility is embedded throughout a child’s educational experience.

The workshop concluded an exercise on the topic of curriculum inclusion. Again, those in attendance split up into smaller working-groups, and were asked to think of ideas for a more inclusive curriculum, across all subjects, in terms of LGBT people; LGBT characters, books, films; LGBT themes; and LGBT history

Due to time restrictions the groups were unable to formally present back their ideas but were encouraged to take this framework into the classroom and were asked to email Caitlin their findings also.

Further resouces are avilable from LGBT Youth Scotland via