- What is IFA?
- The aims of this site
A greeting from the site owner.
Welcome to Inclusion For All.
Welcome to my webpage and to the Inclusion For All project.
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
A personal greeting from Shaun
One of the key features of this site is the Inclusion For All Videocast library. These are short video interviews with members of school staff. Alfred Salter Primary School is currently represented and in time staff from a variety of educational contexts will appear. In posting these unrehearsed, candid chats, I hope that parents, school staff and managers will see a variety of people talking about the work that has been done to tackle homophobia in schools and the wider impact it can have.
Interviews are being conducted regularly, so please do keep checking back.
Upcoming Public Event - Homophobic Bullying Workshop
On , Shaun will be hosting a workshop to introduce to you legislation and techniques that will enable you to address the issue of homophobic bullying in your school.
The course is open to all interested professionals, including (but not limited to) teachers, school leaders, inclusion managers and school governors, and refreshments will be provided.
For more information, or to book your place on the course, please contact Shaun at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 0207 252 3676.
If you feel that any of your colleagues would be interested, or may benefit from attending, please feel free to download and print this flyer to give them, or to display on your staff notice board.
A brief introduction to Inclusion For All
To put it simply, Inclusion for All is an umbrella term for a series of strategies (developed and piloted by myself and serving teachers) that can be used to tackle gender stereotyping, LGBTQI stereotyping, homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying and related derogatory language. IFA has also pioneered work on tackling the endemic use of the word gay as a negative term, something which was later addressed by Stonewall in the U.K.
In sharing these strategies I recognize school contexts differ wildly, however the Education Equality Act 2010 still applies to faith and non-faith schools. More importantly, gender stereotyping, LGBTQI bullying and the use of negative language can potentially affect ALL children in ALL school contexts with sometimes tragic results.
After four years of work and experience in my own school and many others up and down the country, I have attempted to describe strategies that could be adapted (not used wholesale, since that could be counterproductive) for your own school context. Please take ownership.
In 2014 an IFA conference was observed by OFSTED, who thankfully saw right to the heart of our ethos; OFSTED saw that although on the surface IFA is about creating safe spaces for LGBTQI children and those perceived to be LGBTQI, at its core our work is concerned with empowering schools to develop cognitive empathy from the outset, to represent the diversity of family life in the 21st century without assumption or judgement and to take great joy in celebrating heritage and diversity in authentic individuals and whole school communities from the very first day in nursery.
Inclusion for All does not have all the answers, it has not been written by Equality and Diversity specialists, but by teachers and a serving school leader. I hope when used thoughtfully and passionately it makes a difference to you and the children being hurt in our schools and society.
The Inclusion for All ethos firmly places the needs of children first and can be offered as whole school INSET, one day conferences, twilights, and/or strategic support for leadership teams, individual teachers and governors. Training is inspiring, reflective, lively and interactive and will enable organisations to identify, acknowledge, understand and negate the barriers to tackling homophobia within individuals and organisations. In this way schools will be able to meet their statutory requirements and impress OFSTED with a co-ordinated approach to all forms of bullying and prejudice. I do hope you will invite me into speak at your school or organisation or that you will attend one of our many training events and lectures.
What school staff have said about Inclusion For All:
"I learned not to ignore the use of the word gay in a pejorative way."
"I now realise the effects of homophobic bullying can affect anyone and can be devastating."
"Life can be so confusing and difficult, I am now more able to imagine how hard it must be to be growing up LGBT."
"I now know I need to be more aware of the words I use and my own reactions."
"This training has enabled me to talk more openly about family structures and networks of affection."
"I very much appreciated having such open and honest discussions with other staff, many of us needed to air our views to see they were actually based on misconception and in many cases, prejudice."
"I feel that homophobic bullying is a serious issue both in and out of schools, this training has supported me in dealing with incidents in our own school and in my own family."
"I now have a greater understanding of how the misuse of the word gay can cause real hurt to LGBT people and especially children."
"I now realise I have been making assumptions about our pupils family groups for years."
"I will never again say 'that is not a nice thing to say' when dealing with an incident of homophobic bullying at school."
"It was very interesting to hear a range of opinions in a safe and respectful environment, whilst my view on homosexuality remains largely the same, I now see that it is the children who are telling us they need help and they come first in my book."
If you would like more information about the Inclusion For All strategy, or would like to discuss how the IFA strategy can be adapted to meet the needs of your school, don't hesitate to contact Shaun Dellenty.
What are the aims of this website?
This site aims...
- To help in making children's lives free from homophobic bullying and language
- To instill confidence in school leaders and staff in dealing with the issues of gender stereotyping, homophobic bullying and the pejorative use of homophobic language
- To raise awareness of homophobic bullying in schools
- To raise awareness of the use of homophobic language in schools and in society
- To describe the negative impacts of both homophobic bullying and language
- To describe how gender stereotyping can limit learning opportunities and the development of identity
- To describe the statutory and moral obligations for tackling homophobic bullying and language in schools
- To provide practical tips, anecdotal evidence and support strategies for school staff, parents and pupils in tackling homophobic bullying and language
- To highlight good practice across the country
- To highlight the positive impact for the whole school community in tackling gender stereotyping, homophobic bullying and the use of homophobic language