Inclusive education backed at Glasgow Pride

Pride tie collage

Calls for action to tackle homophobia in Scotland’s schools have been backed by politicians

22nd August 2016 by Gavin Stuart 0 Comments

Mhairi Black MP, Patrick Harvie MSP and Alyn Smith MEP are among those who gave their support to the Time for Inclusive Education (TIE) campaign at this year’s Glasgow Pride festival.

The campaign urges ministers to push through reforms in a bid to reduce high rates of mental health issues, self-harm and attempted suicide resulting from LGBT+ children being bullied at school.

During the Pride celebrations, marchers carried placards reading “Educate to Liberate” in support of the campaign while activists and politicians spoke in its favour.

We need to ensure that LGBTI people leave school knowing that there is nothing wrong with who they are, so that they can progress through life confident in their identity

Ms Black, who backed TIE earlier this year, said: “We need to ensure that LGBTI people leave school knowing that there is nothing wrong with who they are, so that they can progress through life confident in their identity.”

Mr Smith, an SNP deputy leadership contender, said that he expected that his party would make it compulsory for schools to teach LGBTI issues.

He added: “We need a more comprehensive approach and they [SNP ministers] are totally on board and are just mulling it over.”

Speaking ahead of the march, Liam Stevenson of the TIE campaign said LGBTI issues must become a mandatory part of the school curriculum.

He added: “There are young people with laceration marks on their arms and young people who have committed suicide due to being bullied.

“Clearly we are not getting it right for every child - when is that going to change?”

In the wake of the Orlando nightclub shooting in June, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon pledged to work alongside TIE campaigners to reform Scotland’s education system, but she would not commit to a timetable for change.

Education secretary John Swinney has confirmed that a “recommendation” is in place for schools to teach LGBT+ issues, but they are not required by law to do so.

He said: “When it comes down to the wider understanding of LGBTI issues, we don’t have a curriculum which prescribes. We don’t have a curriculum where we say ‘oh we can just put that in’.”

Mr Swinney was criticised by TIE’s Jordan Daly, who said: “Leaving the delivery of such vital education to the discretion or judgement of individual institutions simply falls short, and only allows for particular parts of the guidance - namely LGBTI issues - to be dismissed by schools or faculty who do not think that they should be discussed, regardless of what parents or pupils believe.”