Broxburn Academy is first in Scotland to receive SILVER LGBT Schools Charter Mark

Broxburn Academy is the first school in Scotland to receive the SILVER Charter Mark from LGBT Youth Scotland.

The school, which can now display the LGBT Schools Charter Mark, received the prestigious Silver Level award for its work on tackling homophobia and supporting students. The award is part of a new development within LGBT Youth Scotland’s charter process to better include schools.

To achieve the award Broxburn Academy worked in partnership with the council, LGBT communities, West Lothian Youth Services and members of the LGBT Forum. The school carried out awareness raising activities and ensured that appropriate training and policies were in place across the school.

This award recognises the inclusive policy, practice and support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, and promotes best practice in terms of equality.

Presenting the award LGBT Partnership Manager (East) Ann Marriott said: “I am delighted to award Broxburn Academy the Silver Charter Award. The work submitted has been of a very high standard and the commitment to embedding LGBT equality across all sectors of Broxburn Academy has enabled us to award the Academy at SILVER level. The measures carried out by Broxburn Academy have sent out a strong message of equality to staff, parents, LGBT pupils and the wider school environment.”

Head Teacher Peter Reid said: “We are delighted that our work on LGBT has been recognised in this way, it is a fantastic honour for the whole school. Broxburn Academy is committed to ensuring that all students feel safe and respected. Our students have to know they don’t have to be worried about their sexual orientation or gender identity. I would like to congratulate everyone involved in taking the school through the process for their hard work and commitment.”

Evelyn Russell, Depute Head Teacher Support, and the Student Health and Wellbeing Forum, said: “Although the Award took two years it is just the start. In the past young people had felt unable to come out because of the fear factor. Although it would never be possible to eradicate bullying or hurtful comments completely, the initiative has changed the culture of the school. Now our young people feel there is an ethos of acceptance and equality. They also feel there is clear signposting about where they can go for support.”

Broxburn has run a Gay Pride event and pupils have released two CDs to raise awareness of LGBT and equality issues. The school has also held drop-in sessions for anyone with questions or concerns. The sessions were overseen by young people who were peer-trained by LGBT Youth Scotland.

To receive the award, schools need to carry out activities in areas including training, policies, practice, materials and resources, as well as monitoring and evaluation.

LGBT Youth Scotland offers training for staff and young people, and has developed a range of teaching materials to support schools. Visit www.lgbtyouth.org.uk/ pro-resources-education for more information on resources, and here for information on Schools Charter - https://www.lgbtyouth.org.uk/charter-schools