Fifty pupils from the north of Scotland had the unique opportunity to share their passion for LGBTI+ education and inclusion at last year’s Scottish Learning Festival (SLF).
James Cook, a Quality Improvement Officer from the Northern Alliance Regional Improvement Collaborative, arranged for young people, as part of the Northern Alliance Equality and Diversity LGBTI+ Group, to attend SLF.
James said: “It was brilliant for the young people to be able to address a full room of delegates, including education professionals and the Scottish Government, on the work they’d been doing in LGBTI inclusion.
“They not only took on the leadership role of running the session through round table conversations, but also staffed the Regional Improvement Collaborative Village over the two days to share their developments.
“Pupils commented that being given such a high presence at a national festival was a real statement that they were being listened to by educators from across Scotland.
“By having the opportunity to speak directly to people at SLF, the young people were able to spark up partnerships with other schools.
“This wonderful accolade was all down to Jo attending SLF and really showed the group that Scotland was positive about moving forward in LGBTI education.”
James has been to four Scottish Learning Festival events and says the festival is a great opportunity for delegates to hear directly from people working in classrooms and schools, as well as get the most up-to-date research.
“You learn things of a practical nature that you literally can take into your school the next day,” he said.
“It’s the only education festival in the country that provides practical pedagogical professional enquiry from educators and young people, and research-informed practice from international academics in the one event.”
LGBTI Inclusive Education Working Group Report to the Scottish Ministers
Life Gets Better Together By Jo Fitzpatrick, Nairn Academy Equality Forum
We don’t feel safe anywhere: home, school, anywhere in between, We don’t feel safe anywhere where there’s another human near. It’s a mix of lack of trust and support, Too many people bring us to fear. We live too much inside our heads, Where we can finally roam free. We know we don’t belong where we are constantly judged, Just for being happy.
But love is too beautiful, To stay hidden in the closet.
A simple walk home can turn sinister, scary; We can still hear their whispers through our steady music’s beat. That usually keeps us calm, keeps our heart in sync, But nothing can help us once our eyes meet. Your stares burn through our brain, You’re inside our head once more. We blink back brutal tears, What are all of the names, stress, hatred for? No one can see what goes on in our mind, No one will see how we’re breaking Inside.
Being gay isn’t a choice, Being homophobic is.
Doors locked, curtains drawn, Sit in silence, safe in darkness. No one can notice our tear stained faces, the scarred memories in our minds. Then the cycle repeats, an ongoing battle in our brain, Forced to reflect on the day left behind. Yet there is never a dark moment for long in our hearts, Painted rainbow and full of colour. Throw wild parties to help us survive, The day, just done, much duller.
Too much blood flows from the wrists, Of those shamed for who they choose to kiss.
If only everyone were kind, accepting, Welcoming people like us with an open heart. Then we may feel less alone, Then we may feel more a part Of the society that we are forced to live in. And there are so many like is who are open. So many who are free, Can choose who they want to be. And we know friends are never apart, Maybe in distance but never at heart.
The beauty of standing up for your rights, Is seeing other stand as well. LGBT Life. Gets. Better. Together.
Scottish Learning Festival Online
Scottish Education Expo SEC Exhibition Way Glasgow G3 8YW