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First in Ayrshire – LGBT charter mark for Prestwick Academy

Prestwick Academy has become the first local authority school in Ayrshire and one of only nine secondary schools across Scotland to be awarded a prestigious silver LGBT Charter Mark Award.

LGBT Youth Scotland awarded the Charter Mark to the school in recognition of their push to include LGBT issues in the curriculum and for their engagement with staff, parents, carers and young people to challenge discrimination while promoting a more inclusive society.

Over the last year, young people and staff have taken part in a number of activities to raise awareness of LGBT issues in the school and in the wider community including school assemblies, coffee mornings, workshops and even movie screenings.

Powerful video messages were produced by a group of young people at the school who also pulled together training material for staff on LGBT identities.

Pupils also took part in a virtual reality tour of New York to explore places of historical significance to the LGBT community all without leaving the classroom.

Councillor William Grant, Lifelong Learning Portfolio Holder for South Ayrshire Council said: “Congratulations to the school for this significant achievement. A lot of hard work has gone in to securing the Charter Mark and the school is an inspiration to others in South Ayrshire and beyond.

Councillor Laura Brennan-Whitefield, Chair of the Equalities Forum said: "This is a great accolade for the school and it’s even more poignant because of the significant role played by pupils to get the accreditation. We need young people in society to not only be aware of LGBT issues but to help break down barriers."

Kerry Riddell, Partnership Manager South for LGBT Youth Scotland said: “Prestwick Academy’s Silver LGBT Charter Award is well deserved. Over the last year the school have embarked on a journey of real cultural change to celebrate and mainstream LGBT identities across the curriculum, create safe spaces for LGBT young people within the school and involve pupils, staff and parents/carers in awareness raising activities.  Their work has been innovative and positive and included some excellent practice which other schools can learn from.  We’re looking forward to continued partnership working with Prestwick Academy to continue to improve the lives of LGBT young people in Ayrshire.”

Inspired by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the LGBT Charter is a positive step towards challenging discrimination while promoting a more inclusive society.

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