https://equalities.blog.gov.uk/2017/11/16/guest-post-the-rainbow-flag-award-and-reducing-homophobic-biphobic-and-transphobic-bullying-in-schools/

Guest Post: The Rainbow Flag Award and reducing homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying in schools

The Rainbow Flag Award is a quality assurance framework for schools, a consortium project between four organisations, all of which have a vast wealth of experience working with lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) young people.

The Rainbow Flag Award is a quality assurance framework for schools, a consortium project between four organisations, all of which have a vast wealth of experience working with lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) young people.

There is no shortage of evidence that homophobic, biphobic and transphobic (HBT) bullying happens in schools. There is also no shortage of evidence that LGBT young people are more likely to seek medical help for mental health issues, than their non-LGBT peers. We think we can help LGBT young people lead happier and healthier lives by supporting schools to prevent this kind of bullying, by taking a whole-school approach to recognising and celebrating this existence of LGBT people and identities.

Funded by the Government Equalities Office and the Department for Education, four organisations are attempting to improve this situation, with the Rainbow Flag Award. The Proud Trust, Allsorts Youth Project, The Kite Trust and DISC North East have an extensive history of working with LGBT young people, and have brought together their knowledge, expertise and resources, to create a new and pioneering quality assurance framework for schools, (primary and secondary) - The Rainbow Flag Award.

An important part of the work that is being undertaken is giving teachers and other school staff the confidence to effectively recognise and challenge homophobia, biphobia and transphobia. However, the Rainbow Flag Award takes schools on a much deeper, more meaningful journey, encouraging schools to take a proactive whole-school approach to LGBT inclusion, a positive recognition and celebration of the existence of LGBT people and identities. The Rainbow Flag Award requires schools to actively involve pupils, governors, teachers, senior leaders, and parents in the conversation about how we actually achieve safe and welcoming schools, not only for our LGBT children and young people, but for all our children and young people.

The creation of LGBT inclusive lessons by schools and teachers is something that is encouraged by the Rainbow Flag Award, as is the sharing of good practice between schools. The Rainbow Flag Award delivery partners also produce and share resources for learning and best practice. Many of these resources are available free to all schools.

For example, each term The Proud Trust produces a free resource around a key date in the calendar. This term, November’s Anti-Bullying Week has as its theme “All Different, All Equal”; we’ve produced free resources to help schools talk about LGBT inclusion and really asks if we are all equal, and if not, whose responsibility is it to get us to a place where we are all equal?

Look out for the extensive LGBT History Month education pack for secondary schools, from The Proud Trust, that comes out each year, with a primary school version also coming for the first time in 2017.

All four Rainbow Flag Award delivery partners are inundated daily with calls and emails from schools, with requests for support for trans children and young people and their families. Trans inclusion in schools is often missing when we hear talk about “LGBT” inclusion; it is time to get skilled up and get ready. To help us all along this very particular journey, Allsorts have just refreshed and updated their Trans Inclusion Toolkit for Schools. This is available to download from the Allsorts Youth Project website.

The Rainbow Flag Award is about caring, sharing, celebrating, making visible, and including LGBT children and young people.

To find out more about the Rainbow Flag Award, contact Project Coordinator, Rachel Williams.