A greeting from the site owner.
Welcome to Inclusion For All.
I devised Inclusion for All after 15 years of working in U.K. schools, during which time I witnessed school staff and school governors at every level, unable or unwilling to pro-actively tackle homophobic bullying. Many wonderful school staff lacked the training to support children who were obviously suffering, some of whom were questioning their identity and many of whom did not conform to established gender stereotypes. I saw some school leaders ignoring homophobic bullying and I saw some teachers using and condoning homophobic and transphobic language. I saw some gay teachers living in fear of being 'outed' living inauthentic lives and I saw brave out gay teachers being openly bullied by parents, pupils and even their colleagues with no support.
As a school leader my core purpose must be to educate and to ensure the safety and well-being of all pupils in my care; schools that fail to tackle all forms of prejudice related bullying for whatever reason are therefore, in my humble opinion, failing their pupils. It is important to note that homophobic and others prejudice related bullying and language can potentially affect ALL pupils in a school, not just those who may be perceived as different or those who may be questioning their identity. As a school leader it would be unthinkable (and illegal) of me to ignore bullying based on race, religion, gender or disability; allowing homophobic, biphobic or transphobic bullying to go on unchallenged in schools is no different. Similarly as a school leader, if I am unable to support my own staff to be authentic in the workplace, how can I hope to provide an inclusive and representative community in which LGBTQI children or those with LGBTQI friends or family can live and learn to the best of their ability?
I do not class myself as an overtly political individual, nor do I consider myself to be a campaigner or activist; my work was motivated by the needs of the pupils in my care and my moral purpose remains to put the needs of children first. One shouldn't have to be an activist or campaigner to put the safety and well-being of all children first
I know that there are occasional objections to the strategies shown to be effective in tackling LGBTQI bullying being used in schools, elsewhere in this site I will look at these objections in more detail in an attempt to reduce anxiety and to rationalise the work that needs to be done in schools to ensure Inclusion for All . I will never accept the view however that political, personal or theological beliefs should enable discrimination towards children and young people of any identity. Article 2 of the UN Convention of Human Rights of the child states that the convention applies to children 'without discrimination' whilst Article 28 states that all children and young people have a 'right to an education'. Article 30 states that children of minorities have a right to learn and use the customs and identity of their own family, this means that LGBTQI children and those with LGBTQI families have a right to be included, authentic, represented in our schools.
I am also aware that some people hold strong views on LGBTQI people; it is not the purpose of Inclusion for All to expect people to change their views (although if I can make people change their view to a more accepting one that would be wonderful); Inclusion for All exists to place the needs of children above the ongoing differences of opinion that limit the confidence of schools leaders in tackling LGBTQI language and bullying in their schools. Preventing LGBTQI bullying is not about promotion, but is education and information about the rich diversity of human existence. LGBTQI people exist and are a fact of life.
The Equality Act 2010 provides a clear legal requirement for all schools to tackle all forms of bullying, including bullying related to sexual orientation and transgender and there is an expectation for schools to pro-actively promote and foster good relations between those in our school communities that fall under the nine protected equality act characteristics - which includes sexual orientation. It is also important to note that under the OFSTED criteria 2012 schools are expected to show how they are fostering good relations and pro-actively tackling all forms of bullying, including homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying.
This project started back 2009 when I was faced with endemic levels of homophobic bullying and language in my own London school, as a survivor of child-hood homophobic bullying myself I was outraged that the same scourge that had driven me out of education was in the 21st Century still damaging young lives. Over Christmas 2009/10 I wrote a training programme informed by my own experiences as a child, as a teacher and school leader, school governor and part time education consultant; the result was Inclusion for All . I hoped through working with schools and other organisations to take some small steps to ensure that all pupils feel represented valued and included in our schools, for only then can they be free to fulfil their potential as human beings.
After having huge positive impact in my own school on all types of prejudice related bullying it made sense for me to start offering IFA out to other schools and interested organisations, as you will see from our Impact page things grew very quickly and over the past four years it has been my absolute honour and privilege to take my home-spun training programme to a wider audience in the UK and abroad.
IFA is not a full time occupation, not it is actually my job-I am a full time Deputy Headteacher of a fantastic primary (elementary) school in London, England. I am blessed with a Headteacher Stuart Hayter and a board of school governors who absolutely share and inform my vision for schools that are fully inclusive for all children. Some of my work takes place during my working week in the form of release time; much of it takes place at evenings, school holidays and weekends. IFA is mostly funded from my own pocket, money for events during school hours are used to back-fill my role; paid work undertaken outside of the school day is not undertaken for profit but is used to promote IFA and to maintain an online presence. As of 2014 I am now seeking corporate partners and sponsors to help shift IFA from its status as a small charitable organisation to a full charity by May 2015; please get in touch if you are interested and I can send more information.
Finally I just want to share with you one more thing; since I first put my head above the parapet back in 2009 on these issues, so many of you have taken the time to write to me, Tweet, email or speak to me at conferences or even in the shop or restaurant to share your own experiences of being bullied or your own concerns. Where time allows I endeavour to reply to as many as I can in person. I want you to know that each story touches me and makes me even more determined to make a difference, not just for the sake of children and young people in schools now but also for generations of children and young people yet to come.
The timeframe of the stories you have kindly shared with me over the past four years stretches out from the early 1900s to the present day; horrific, heart-breaking stories of bullying, self-harm, suicide and so many lives young and old blighted in passage through our education systems whilst governments and schools failed to act.
In 1968 I was born as an optimistic, happy and loving gay child onto this beautiful planet but years of homophobic bullying and the homophobic messages I internalised from my peers, adults, the media and some politicians and some people of faith made me hate myself, cut myself and want to end my life.
I hold no anger, no judgement, but I want to try to ensure in my own small way and with my limited means that no child suffers in this way again in our schools.
Thank you for your interest and your support; feel free to join me on Twitter @ShaunDellenty
Be kind, be safe, be authentic, be proud, be you.
Love and respect - Shaun Dellenty May 2014