Getting started in primary schools

Getting started
in primary schools
Chris Gibbons
Senior Education Officer
What this will cover
• Homophobic bullying in primary schools:
what we know
• The school experience:
– Malmesbury Park School
– Broadgreen Primary School
• Group work: lesson ideas
• Q&A
Section 28: gone but not forgotten?
I’m not sure of the law – I know I am not allowed
to promote homosexuality and am not sure what
this involves.
Zoe, teacher, independent primary school
• More than two in five primary school teachers say
children in their schools experience homophobic
• Most reasons given are unrelated to sexual
• More than nine in ten have had no specific training
to prevent and tackle homophobic bullying
Homophobic language
• Most prevalent form of homophobic behaviour in
• One in five say primary school staff say children in
their schools experience homophobic verbal abuse
• Three quarters of primary school teachers hear
children say ‘you’re so gay’ or ‘that’s so gay’ at school
• Two in five report hearing remarks such as ‘poof’,
‘dyke’, ‘queer’ or ‘faggot’
Which children in primary schools
might experience
homophobic bullying?
Children who:
are thought to be “different” in some way
boys who don’t “act like boys”
boys who don’t play sports
girls who don’t “act like girls”
girls who do play sports
work hard in class or underachieve
aren’t “part of the gang”
have gay family members and friends
Alison Gaunt
Malmesbury Park School, Bournemouth
Malmesbury Park
A three form entry primary school with
approximately 700 pupils.
A happy and friendly atmosphere where
children can grow to be responsible and
caring members of the community.
A rich diversity of culture, religion,
colour and faith, celebrating 29 different
home languages.
How did the lesson
come about?
To tackle the incorrect use of the term
‘gay’ in our school.
To use the information gained from the
Stonewall conference in November 2011.
The opportunity to work in
partnership with the Local
Authority to produce a
lesson plan.
What did we want to
To link our anti-bullying work
to the PSHE days we already
have in place as part of our
To link different families in to
the Rainbow scheme of work.
To increase the children’s self awareness
of their own family and to give them a
sense of pride in their family.
What did we want to
For other children to be aware and respect
other family types and understand that
other children might be proud of their
Cover a range of family types including
same sex parents, single parent families,
foster parents, step parents and adoption.
What did the lesson
An introduction into similarities and
differences between us – eye colour,
hair colour, hobbies, clothing etc.
Reading books that subtly introduce
different family types.
What did the lesson
Main activity
was to produce
a Different
Families, Same
Love poster for
their class.
Avoid any isolating activities where
children might be singled out.
Staff reminded about how to report
or deal with any disclosures made
during the lesson.
The possibility of discussions or
feelings being brought up of
separation and loss.
Do you have any specially trained
staff who can help?
Our Emotional Literacy and Feelings
staff work with children who have
particular personal and emotional
Preparing the staff in advance meant
they could prepare.
Julie McCann
Broadgreen Primary School, Liverpool
Broadgreen Primary –
Our Journey
Julie McCann
Advanced Skills Teacher, Broadgreen Primary, Liverpool
SAPERE (Society for the Advancement of Philosophical
Enquiry and Reflection in Education) Trainer
• To demonstrate that talking about
homophobia in a primary school is not
• To share the experience of one primary
school in Liverpool.
Broadgreen Primary School: Context
Largely white working class intake;
Free school meals – 33%;
Outskirts of Liverpool;
Leading school in PSHEe;
Philosophy for Children;
Excellent community engagement;
CARE code.
Getting Started
• Initial Needs Assessment;
• Action Plan Targets:
– policies to address homophobia;
– issues of homophobic bullying to be recorded;
– all staff to access training to support them in
understanding and challenging homophobia.
Student Council
• Bullying survey;
• Rewrote bullying policy to include homophobic
• Met with Lydia Malmedie of Stonewall;
• Agreed to take part in a campaign to challenge
homophobia and gender stereotyping, and
celebrate different families;
• Disseminated information to their classmates.
School Staff
Head teacher commitment;
Committed to challenging prejudice but varying
levels of confidence in doing so;
Initial staff meeting following student council
INSET with other schools & LEA advisor invited.
The Family Book
Dad David, Baba Chris and Me - 1
Dad David, Baba Chris and Me - 1
Dad David, Baba Chris and Me - 1
Dad David, Baba Chris and Me - 2
Dad David, Baba Chris and Me - 2
Different Families Same Love
Impact on Learning
• Encourages empathy, care, respect for difference.
• Relationships within class improved.
• Children and adults more able and willing to tackle
• Children more comfortable with diverse family types.
Further advice, support or help...
[email protected]
Designing an inclusive curriculum
Curriculum and teaching
• Almost two thirds of primary school teachers have not
addressed sexual orientation in their lessons. A third who
have not done so think it is ‘not relevant’ in their lessons
• One in four would not feel confident in responding if a pupil
asked questions regarding gay issues in the classroom
• More than a third of teachers know pupils with gay parents
or family members
• What activities could a you do with children to address
difference and celebrate different families, including
families with lesbian and gay parents? What do you do
on ethnicity, for example?
• What issues might arise when, for example, making
mother’s and father’s day cards? How can you make
sure everyone feels included?
• Who else should you involve?
Primary school books
• And Tango Makes Three
• King and King
• Spacegirl Pukes
• The Sissy Duckling + lesson plans
More at
An inclusive curriculum :
- makes all children, including those with gay family and
friends, feel included
- reflects the lives of all children in your class
- helps tackle bullying
- helps create an environment of respect
- gives children the opportunity to discuss difference in a safe
and structured environment
• Take a consistent zero-tolerance approach to
homophobic language
• Make sure your school has an up-to-date antibullying policy which includes homophobic bullying
and language, and make sure the whole school is
aware of it
• Use the curriculum to talk about language (or SEAL
and Circle Time in primary)
• Use key events in the academic year (Anti-Bullying
Week, LGBT History Month)
• Involve your wider school community
• Practice what you preach!
[email protected]
08000 50 20 20