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Ilford headteacher calls for more LGBT education in faith schools

PUBLISHED: 10:09 16 October 2016

Stonewall educational material

Stonewall educational material

Stonewall

A deputy headteacher says faith schools should make sure LGBT+ education isn’t “swept under the carpet.”

Last week, the Department for Education announced funding for two projects to tackle homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying in faith schools.

Sam Walters, from Jewish King Solomon High School, Forest Road, Barkingside, said it is a great idea.

“I do think faith schools can do more,” he told the Recorder.

“We are always striving to do more and held our first awareness week for LGBT+ rights last November.

“I think we were one of the first Jewish schools to hold such a week.

“We had students from other schools across London get in touch and tell us they wished their school had run one.”

The school’s awareness week garnered national attention after a post from an unhappy parent branding it “filth” on Facebook received almost 500 responses.

Mr Walters said: “That was the only negative response we got, to be honest.

“It was far outweighed by how much support we received, from all over the world.

“Just recently, I got a message from another faith school, asking us for tips ahead of their own awareness week.”

The government funding is aimed at improving LGBT+ inclusivity in faith schools.

Equal rights charity Stonewall will deliver school staff training on how schools can support LGBT+ pupils.

“We have a changing demographic in schools, and we want to promote the idea of tolerance,” said Mr Walters.

“We felt quite passionate about running the week, as it’s our duty to make sure that children understand the world, when they leave school.

“We polled students before and after the awareness week and saw a difference in the way they spoke and their mindfulness.”

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