Largest teaching union calls for LGBT issues to be taught in all schools

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‚ÄčTeachers' union overwhelmingly backs inclusive education 

12th June 2017 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

Scotland’s largest teachers’ union has supported calls for LGBT issues to be taught in all schools at its annual conference this weekend, after delegates voted to adopt a campaign’s proposals.

A motion calling on the Education Institute of Scotland (EIS) to officially affiliate to the Time for Inclusive Education (TIE) campaign and commit to supporting the group's five point policy pledge passed overwhelmingly, meaning the EIS now supports the formation of a new national strategy to tackle homophobic bullying.

Recent research from TIE highlighted that nine out of 10 LGBT pupils reported experiencing homophobia at school, while 42% had attempted suicide as a result of being bullied because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Speaking during the debate, John Kelly - president of the EIS Further Education Lecturers' Association - said: "If we are responsible for shaping young adults for the modern world, then our education system must be fully reflective of our society. Therefore, the needs of LGBTI young people must be met when they are at school, so we can put an end to the damage and despair that many LGBTI learners suffer while they are at their most vulnerable."

Among the group’s proposals are calls for LGBT issues, such as same-sex families and the history of the LGBT rights movement, to be included in curricular guidance and for teachers to be trained on how to address the topic in the classroom.

Responding to the motion passing, Pam Currie of the EIS said: "I'm delighted that the EIS has affiliated to TIE. The EIS LGBTI network has worked closely with the TIE campaign since its inception and the campaign has helped to raise the profile of LGBTI inclusive education within the EIS, as well as the challenges faced by both LGBTI learners and staff.

"The decision to affiliate affirms the role that TIE has played in changing Scottish education for the better and takes us another step closer to having an LGBTI inclusive education for learners in all Scottish schools and colleges."

That the largest teachers' union in Scotland has affiliated to our campaign is a massive step forward for us - TIE spokesperson

In February, the Scottish Parliament became the first in Europe to support LGBT inclusive education after a majority of MSPs signed TIE's campaign pledge. Following this, the Scottish Government launched a joint working-group with TIE and other relevant stakeholders, which has been tasked with proposing policy recommendations to ministers.

Party leaders Patrick Harvie, Kezia Dugdale and Willie Rennie are among the sixty seven MSPs who have signed the group's pledge.

A TIE spokesperson said: “That the largest teachers' union in Scotland has affiliated to our campaign is a massive step forward for us. We are often asked what teachers think about our proposals, and whether or not they support our aims: this move resolutely answers that question. This, along with the parliamentary mandate for our calls, makes clear that Scotland is ready for LGBTI inclusive education in all of our schools. 

"We have worked closely with many EIS representatives throughout the duration of our campaign and, indeed, the union has a seat at the national working group that has been established to implement our proposals.

"As such, we will continue to work with the EIS and others to ensure that the strategy outlined in our well supported pledge is realised, as it is time to end the legacy of Section 28 - once and for all.”

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