Scotland has become the first country in the world to launch LGBT+ education in schools.
Campaigners have welcomed news that the Scottish Government has launched the new online platform for teachers and say understanding LGBT history will help empower young people.
The new resource includes an educational website, e-learning courses and tools which parents, teachers, young people and LGBT organisations helped to create.
The resource, which has been backed by leading teacher unions as well as the Equality and Human Rights Commission, includes LGBT history and current issues with a focus on promoting equality and anti-bullying.
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The move has been welcomed by the Time for Inclusive Education (TIE) Campaign, a charity dedicated to achieving inclusive education across Scotland.
The charity’s co-founder Jordan Daly said: “I experienced bullying and prejudice at school for being gay, and it had a detrimental impact on my confidence and wellbeing for some time.
“This new website, and the supporting resources, which have been co-developed with teachers across Scotland, will support teachers to take a proactive, educational approach to tackling prejudice.
“Most importantly, this work will empower young people and provide them with an opportunity I didn’t have at school – to feel valued, confident, and proud of who they are.”
TIE successfully campaigned for the formation of the LGBT Inclusive Education Working Group who put forward 33 recommendations to Scottish Government ministers in 2018.
The recommendations were accepted and the latest stage includes today’s rollout of the new website – lgbteducation.scot.
Children’s Minister Clare Haughey said: “I am proud to say that Scotland is leading the way as the first country in the world to embed LGBT inclusive education right across the curriculum.
“By doing so, we can help young people to reach their full potential and flourish in a diverse and inclusive society.
“The launch of this ground-breaking suite of resources for schools takes us another step forward in ensuring that our curriculum is as diverse as the young people who learn in our schools.
“The Scottish Government, in partnership with COSLA, is determined to provide a fully inclusive education for Scotland’s children and young people.”
COSLA Children and Young People Spokesperson Cllr Stephen McCabe said: “Improving inclusion in our schools is a priority for Local Government.
“We welcome the materials published today, which will assist schools, teachers and education staff to drive this important agenda forward, ensuring all children and young people receive the support they need.”
Scotland’s largest teaching union, The EIS, welcomed the news and said the new resources will ensure LGBT issues are taught alongside gender, disability and race equality.
A spokesperson said: “The EIS very much looks forward to the launch at the Scottish Learning Festival of a dedicated website to support teachers in the delivery of the LGBT-inclusive component of equality-focused education.
“In addition to a series of free e-learning professional learning modules, the website contains a suite of exciting new high quality resources which are also free of charge and that have been thoughtfully created to help develop young people’s understanding of LGBT experiences, histories and issues.
“The new website reflect a strongly intersectional approach to learning and teaching about LGBT equality, placing it firmly alongside gender, disability and race equality.
“This approach led by TIE is a valuable blueprint for the development of further resources to support learning and teaching around the other equality strands.”
National Parent Forum of Scotland Chair Margaret Wilson said: “We welcome the roll-out of LGBT inclusive education across the school curriculum.
“With other stakeholders, we have developed an information resource on LGBT inclusive education for parents and carers to help them to support their children and ensure they have a positive educational experience, using an approach underpinned by children’s rights, kindness and respect.”
A spokesperson for the Equality and Human Rights Commission said: “LGBT inclusive education is essential if we are to ensure that all pupils and staff are able to reach their full potential, and can help schools in Scotland meet the legal duty to eliminate discrimination, advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between people from protected groups.
“We are pleased to have been able to support this work and hope that it will go a long way towards making sure that the needs of LGBT staff and pupils are considered in a whole school approach.”