A MAJORITY of South Ayrshire’s secondary schools have engaged in a charter programme designed to support inclusivity and the experiences of LGBTQ+ staff and pupils.

The LGBT Charter scheme is a programme which provides schools and organisations with training to challenge prejudice and ensure that equality and diversity is at the heart of the school.

In total, seven of South Ayrshire’s eight secondary education providers have either been awarded charter status or are actively working towards it with the support of the awarding body, LGBT Youth Scotland.

The most recent school to be awarded chartered status in the local authority area is Girvan Academy, while schools including Ayr Academy, Carrick Academy, and Marr Academy are all working towards various awards.

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The charter programme has now reached 212 of Scotland’s 357 secondary schools, with a further 40 primary schools and 21 colleges and universities either awarded charter status or working towards it.

Ali Kerr, head of partnerships at LGBT Youth Scotland, said the charter’s reach is a positive step for building a more inclusive Scotland and hopes to reach 75 per cent of secondary schools over the coming year.

She said: “These are formative years for young people and it’s vital that LGBTQ+ individuals are supported and that non-LGBTQ+ people feel equipped and inspired to champion inclusivity at every turn.

“Having such a high proportion of South Ayrshire schools working in partnership with us and participating in our LGBT Charter shows that they are playing a key role in creating safe spaces for young LGBTQ+ people in Scotland.

“With over half of secondary schools participating, this represents a significant commitment from Scottish educators to LGBT inclusion.

"The job isn’t done though, we’d ideally love all of our secondary and further education providers to achieve charter status.”

There are four LGBT Charter awards offered: Foundations, created for local authority teams with a focus on developing tools and processes used to increase inclusion across the organisation; and Bronze, Silver, and Gold, designed for education providers to support the development of policies, CPD for teachers, inclusive practice and learner participation.

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Gaining Charter accreditation takes place over a 12-to-18-month period, during which institutions and organisations are guided step-by-step by expert LGBT Youth Scotland facilitators on training, policy, practice, promotional material and resources, and monitoring and evaluation.

Organisations and businesses can also apply to become chartered to support the inclusion of LGBTQ+ people in every aspect of work, protecting staff and providing a high quality service to customers and service users.

The LGBT Charter is based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Policy advice is guided by the Equality Act 2010.

For more information on the LGBT Charter, visit: https://www.lgbtyouth.org.uk/the-lgbt-charter/

For more information on LGBT Youth Scotland, visit: https://www.lgbtyouth.org.uk/