You asked and we answered…well, Just Like Us did! Join Beyond RSE as we ask the experts about School Diversity Week. Alongside their answers, we have linked some of our excellent Beyond RSE resources, created in partnership with Just Like Us! These resources should give you access to everything you need to celebrate School Diversity Week within your school or other learning environment.
What is Just Like Us, and how did it start?
Just Like Us is the LGBT+ young people’s charity and we were founded in 2016 because growing up LGBT+ is still unacceptably tough. We work with primary and secondary schools across the UK to make sure that all young people know that being LGBT+ is something to be celebrated. We run School Diversity Week and implement our Pride Groups programme, as well as having our wonderful ambassadors deliver school talks.
What is School Diversity Week?
School Diversity Week is the UK-wide celebration of LGBT+ equality in primary and secondary schools. School Diversity Week is run every June by Just Like Us, the LGBT+ young people’s charity. This year will be our biggest yet – more than 5000 schools are signed up to take part.
Our informative What Is School Diversity Week? PowerPoint is the perfect tool for a form time session or assembly to introduce the topic of School Diversity Week.
What is diversity, and why is it important to celebrate and champion diversity in a school environment?
Diversity is about what makes each of us unique, including our backgrounds, personality, life experiences and beliefs, all of the things that make us who we are. It is a combination of our differences that shape our view of the world, our perspective and our approach. Diversity in education is about making sure that these different experiences are recognised and celebrated.
How did School Diversity Week start?
School Diversity Week started back in 2016. We recognised that schools needed an event just for them to celebrate LGBT+ diversity and inclusion and initially founded the event with a few hundred schools taking part. This year more than 5000 schools are signed up to take part.
Use our School Diversity Week Discussion Prompts to spark meaningful conversations about diversity and LGBT+ topics with your students.
School Diversity Week takes place in June, which is also Pride Month. How is the event different from Pride?
School Diversity Week is a chance for primary and secondary schools to celebrate diverse families, learn about LGBT+ people and really celebrate diversity within their school community through inclusive lessons, assemblies and talks. Just Like Us provides free posters, video resources, assemblies and form time activities for EYFS to key stage 4, so that all schools can take part without the need for any budget.
Pride Month is of course a really important month for the LGBT+ community but it’s not always something that young people can attend. It’s really important that all young people grow up knowing that being LGBT+ is something to be celebrated, which we believe starts at school.
What can we do to celebrate School Diversity Week?
Sign up to take part so that you have access to all our free school resources! You can book a school talk by one of our amazing Just Like Us ambassadors, run a Rainbow Ribbon fundraiser or speak to us about setting up a Pride Group for your LGBT+ and ally students, to continue celebrating LGBT+ inclusion beyond June. Schools also often come up with their own unique and creative ways of celebrating, which is always really exciting to see!
Hand out these School Diversity Week Activity Cards to your students to get them thinking about LGBT+ diversity in their own time.
What are your top tips for anyone that wants to set up an LGBT+ Pride Group in their school or college?
Don’t go it alone! We have fortnightly resources and termly training available for staff and student leaders to help you with either setting up or running your Pride Group, or both! We can also help with getting SLT involved or answer any questions you may have. Please do just get in touch. We also recommend watching this video of the recent winner of our Outstanding Pride Group award, Alison Ollett at Plume in Essex. Not only is it a heartwarming watch but also the work they’re doing is really inspiring and helping a lot of LGBT+ young people whose time at school will be entirely transformed by having a Pride Group.
What is the role of Just Like Us ambassadors?
A: Just Like Us ambassadors are LGBT+ 18 to 25-year-olds who volunteer with us. Our Ambassador Programme gives LGBT+ young people the opportunity to use their voices, develop skills and find community through a range of different activities. These include speaking in schools about why allyship is important, featuring on panels, getting involved with the charity’s campaigns, career mentoring and more.
How can we start to make our schools and other learning environments more inclusive?
Very often, LGBT+ inclusion in schools starts with one dedicated teacher. Our job as a charity is to make sure that person has everything they need to change their school culture and make it a safe and welcoming place for LGBT+ young people. School Diversity Week is an excellent place to start, but once you’ve done that you might want to consider forming a Pride Group and booking a school talk from one of our inspiring ambassadors. Ultimately, you don’t need to be an expert to get started – all it takes is the will to change and a little help from us.
Head over to our main website here and don’t forget to read even more of our blogs here! You can also subscribe to Beyond for access to thousands of secondary teaching resources. You can sign up for a free account here and take a look around at our free resources before you subscribe too.