October 6, 2021 | 0 comments
Scotland becomes the first country to introduce LGBTQ-inclusive curriculum
Ask students: How do you think an inclusive school curriculum impacts students who identify as LGBTQ? How can it reduce bullying and improve mental health?
Focusing on LGBTQ Inclusion
Aiming to promote equality, reduce bullying and improve the educational experiences of LGBTQ students, Scotland recently became the first country to introduce LGBTQ-inclusive education across the school curriculum. All school staff will receive training on the importance and implementation of the new curriculum requirements as well as access to a new toolkit of LGBTQ-inclusive educational resources.
The success of this initiative is a relief to LGBTQ advocates in the United Kingdom who for years have fought against Section 28, which banned discussion of same-sex relationships in schools and, although it was repealed in 2000, left a damaging legacy that endures.
The successful implementation of this new curriculum is due in part to the streamlined Scottish education system where decisions are made almost entirely at the federal level. Conversely, in the United States, the hyper-localized school districts and policymaking decisions for education have made it difficult for the government to institute similar changes to its own curriculum.
The inclusive LGBTQ curriculum came to be on behalf of the efforts of a nonprofit advocacy group, Time for Inclusive Education, which lobbied the Scottish parliament to institute a nationwide LGBTQ-inclusive curriculum. In 2017, Scotland created a working group consisting of TIE and many other advocacy groups, which eventually drafted the list of recommendations that led to the new curriculum.
Read these two press releases from the Scottish government, answer the discussion questions, and work on the extension activities below.
- LGBTI Education—press release from the Scottish government (2018)
- Milestone for Equality in Schools—press release from the Scottish government (2021)
- How do you think an inclusive school curriculum impacts students who identify as LGBTQ?
- One main goal of this initiative was to prevent bullying, improve mental health and increase awareness. Can you think of other ways schools can work to achieve this?
- Why do you think Section 28 was so controversial for the LGBTQ community in the United Kingdom?
- Why do you think it’s important for LGBTQ students to learn about LGBTQ relationships and history?
- Much of the success of this initiative was due to the work of nonprofit and advocacy organizations. What is the function of these entities? How do they act to influence the government?
- What are press releases, and why do governments and other organizations use them?
- Why is it so difficult for the United States to implement an LGBTQ-inclusive school curriculum?
Extension Activity: Poetry Discussion
Have students read the poem “Life Gets Better Together” and/or watch the video below and react to the discussion questions or offer comments of their own.
- Why is it important for all students to have a safe and welcoming environment in school?
- Look up the definition of “empathy.” Why do you think it’s important for students to empathize with each other? How can empathy build community?
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