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  • Writer's pictureAyrshire Daily News


Aspiring primary school teachers studying at Ayrshire College have recently had LGBT+ training delivered as part of their course.

In November 2018, it was revealed that Scotland would be the first country in the world to embed LGBT+ inclusive education in the schools’ curriculum.

Access to Primary Education and Humanities students at the College’s Ayr Campus have been piloting recognised training in LGBT+, which was delivered by representatives from East Ayrshire Council, NHS Ayrshire & Arran, and the Terrence Higgins Trust.

The students participated in a workshop which explored language around LGBT+, allowing the students to gain an understanding of stigma and discrimination faced by LGBT+ young people.

They also learned about current activity in schools and how the experiences for young people can be improved through a fully inclusive curriculum.

The hope is that the students will be much more prepared to deliver an inclusive education and better understand the needs of LGBT+ young people, when they enter the classrooms as teachers.

Kerry Jarvis, Health and Wellbeing Officer, East Ayrshire Council, said “I cannot emphasise enough how important this training is for our next generation of teachers.

“Ayrshire College is breaking new ground by ensuring that this training is embedded into this course.

“There is a lack of confidence amongst many primary school teachers around the subject of LGBT+ which I’m hoping, as a result of training like this, will not exist amongst the next generation of teachers. If LGBT+ inclusion is addressed from an early age I really do believe as a nation, we can eradicate homophobia.”

Ayrshire College has also created the Ayrshire LGBT+ Education Network in partnership with East Ayrshire Council. The network is holding its next meeting on 6 February at Prestwick Academy from 4pm to 6pm, where they will be joined by Time for Inclusive Education (TIE). TIE spearheaded the campaign to change the Scottish curriculum so that it better reflects, and is inclusive of, LGBT+ history, issues and identities.

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Sara Turkington, Equality and Inclusion Advisor at Ayrshire College, recently visited the College’s Access to Childhood Practice students at the Kilmarnock Campus to raise awareness of the Network.

Sara Turkington said

“There are many examples of excellent LGBT+ inclusive practices in Ayrshire and now, for the first time, the Network provides an opportunity to share that on a pan-Ayrshire basis. It is an exciting, forward-thinking initiative to be a part of.

“The Ayrshire LGBT+ Education Network remains the only one of its kind in Ayrshire and in the new year, it seeks to continue building on its membership and moving ever closer to its ultimate, fundamental aim – improving the educational experiences of LGBT+ children, young people and adults learning in Ayrshire.”

Access to Primary Education and Humanities is part of the Scottish Widening Access Programme (SWAP) and is specifically for people who have been out of full-time education for a number of years, but want to develop their academic and employability skills. The students have the opportunity to complete a placement within a school as part of their course.

Elaine Zenati, Curriculum Manager for Social Sciences, said

“The Social Sciences team are thrilled to be involved in this pioneering course. Education is much more than lessons within the classroom – we pride our students and staff in being community champions who challenge common held misconceptions and who are actively influencing future generations.”


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