Herts & Essex receives Silver Stonewall Award
Herts & Essex is the proud recipient of a recently awarded Stonewall Silver Award. It acknowledges all the work that the school has done for the LGBT+ community and its allies over the past year and builds on the Stonewall Bronze Award that the school received in 2015.
Raising awareness, promoting equality and building this into the school ethos has been a fundamental part of the work; this has been achieved through staff training, student assemblies and lesson time, as well as communication with parents.
Stonewall commented, in their review document, that ‘it is great to see how Herts & Essex explores LGBT throughout the curriculum in lessons such as Media Studies and how you use modern media examples in contrast to old to amplify this. (In addition to this) your student-friendly anti-bullying policy is clear and details various ways for students to seek help or support. (We) particularly like how you describe bullying as involving a “imbalance of power”. The role of power in bullying is an important aspect to highlight when helping young people to understand what it is and its effects. The school’s anti-bullying/behaviour policy and your school’s behaviour ladder are both LGBT inclusive.’
The Kaleidoscope group meets weekly to discuss and debate LGBT+ issues and to plan the various events we have during the year such as LGBT History Month and the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia. Our group has attended Stonewall's annual Education For All conference, meeting inspirational LGBT figures from around the world and bringing back lots of great ideas that we have used to further promote equality at Herts & Essex.
Whole school community events have raised awareness on a collective level. LGBT History Month was celebrated in February by the sale of rainbow lanyards for staff and a rainbow cake sale for students, whilst IDAHOBIT Day (International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia) in May was supported by a rainbow/brightly coloured non uniform day and by creating rainbows in Physics lessons.
Back in early summer, Ellen Jones, then a Year 13 student and who is now studying Classics at Kings College, London, was awarded the title of Stonewall UK Young Campaigner of the Year for her work on promoting LGBT issues and her Queeries YouTube series. Her award was presented in London by Sir Ian McKellen. Since then, Ellen has appeared as a spokesperson on a number of television and radio shows.
The school is delighted with this award; the ongoing work is much appreciated by the school community, with one parent commenting: "I really feel that such pioneering work in schools is vital in educating young people to be world citizens."