Hemel Hempstead teacher introduces initiatives to make school more LGBT+ inclusive

A school in Hemel Hempstead has been working on programmes and initiatives to make the school more LGBT+ inclusive.

Friday, 2nd October 2020, 3:47 pm
Updated Friday, 2nd October 2020, 3:50 pm

The Astley Cooper School, on St Agnells Lane, is sharing the positive steps it has been doing to raise awareness of inclusion and equality.

Mr Moscovici, joined the school in February as a MFL teacher and PSHE and Citizenship Co-ordinator, he wanted to make the school a welcoming place for LGBT+ students and staff.

The school's initiatives have included:

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Megan Whale in year 8 who won the poster designing contest

- LGBT+ Staff Allies where staff wear rainbow badges to show the students we can be approached to talk to about LGBT+ issues.

- Students designed posters for International Day Against Homophobia Biphobia Transphobia

- Mental Health First Aid training

- LGBT+ Society, a group of LGBT+ students and allies who get together to help make the world more LGBT+ friendly

Mr Moscovici

- PSHE, redesigning of PSHE curriculum to make it more inclusive and modern

- Putting up posters from LGBT+ charities around the school

- Staff Training, an inset day whole-staff training on making education more inclusive.

Mr Moscovici said: "Since February we have been doing lots with the students, we wanted the school to be inclusive and we want everyone to feel welcome.

LGBT+ Staff Allies

"I wanted to make the school an even more inclusive place for pupils and staff

"We have LGBT+ Staff Allies - staff wear rainbow badges to show the students we can be approached to talk to about LGBT+ issues - or about anything.

"This has already been successful, I had a student who came up to me and asked to talk to me about some issues she was having, it was great that she felt like she could talk to someone at the school.

"We have put posters up - Love is Love, and All Families Are The Same - they have been popular with students.

"We set up a LGBT+ Society and at the first session we had 35 people which was really good, one of the things they suggested was to put posters up around the school.

"All these things are already making a positive impact.

"We are seeing great benefits, even in lessons I have been raising awareness of inclusion and making scenarios more modern."

Headteacher Mr Gaynor said: "Mr Moscovici has made a huge impact since he started, it has been about teaching students with dignity.

"Making the point that we are all here together as a community and we should look out for each other.

"The work that he has done has made a positive contribution to the school already.

"The school, which is growing increasingly popular, has social justice and inclusion as core values.

"Mr Moscovici is raising awareness in the community and he is making sure all students, staff, and families feel included.

"He is getting positive feedback from the students, who do feel celebrated and included.

"I am very grateful for the work he is doing and the response he has had from staff has been great."

Mr Moscovici added: "We have had 48 teachers sign up for the allies programme, which is just over half of the staff, and others have enquired about putting posters up in classrooms. It has been a great response, it is great for mental health and is having a real positive impact."

Mr Gaynor added: "The school's values are social justice and inclusion.

"I'm proud to work with Mr Moscovici. He is an inspiring teacher and the work that he is doing for the school is outstanding.

"We have always prided ourselves on being an inclusive school and Mr Moscovici's work exemplifies this."

Ella Cairns (Year 9), who attended the LGBTQ+ society, said: "I really like how there was a club made for it. It is really fun. You can feel like you're at home somewhere without being judged."

Lily Johnson (Year 9), also attended the LGBTQ+ society, said: "I enjoy how inclusive the school is to everyone. If anyone is ever being bullied for their sexuality, it is immediately dealt with and sorted out."