All Together Now is a new primary school resource which aims to tackle homophobia and inequality in the classroom
BeLonG To have just launched an anti LGBT bullying resource for primary schools in Ireland.
The All Together Now project was created in response to the findings of research which indicates that twelve is the most common age for people to discover that they are LGBT.
BeLonG To are encouraging schools to get involved in this new initiative which can be implemented as part of SPHE (Social Personal Health Education) and will help educate children with the goal of reducing the amount of homophobic bullying that goes on in primary schools and going forward into secondary schools.
The resources, lesson plans and full report for All Together Now were developed by Dr Bernie Collins, Dr Seline Keating and Prof Morgan from St Patrick’s College (DCU) and are now available to download for primary school teachers.
Young LGBT People’s Needs
Moninne Griffith, Executive Director of BeLonG To explains why the organisation are bringing these workshops to primary schools.
“We know from our work with young people throughout Ireland that going to school can be a difficult experience and that anti-LGBT bullying is commonplace,” said Moninne Griffith.
“Recent research found that 67% of Irish LGBT students witnessed bullying of other LGBT student in their schools and 50% had personal experience of [homophobic bullying].”
Griffith highlights another finding of this research – the direct link between bullying and increased likelihood of mental health problems like self-harm and suicide among LGBT youth.
“Young people have been telling us for some time now that there is a need to begin tackling this problem in primary schools.
“The LGBTIreland report confirmed that addressing homophobia and transphobia is urgent for primary schools as 12 is the most common age for LGBT young people in Ireland to discover their sexual orientation.”
All Together Now was piloted in fourteen schools this year in Dublin, Wexford and Donegal, with feedback from teachers and principals being hugely positive.
“The children reacted brilliantly in the lessons,” one sixth class teacher said.
“They showed a maturity I hadn’t expected and they felt almost ’empowered’ when they learned the little things they do could help to make a stand against all types of bullying.”
To improve the initiative, researches used surveys to evaluate the teacher training and classroom materials.
Another sixth class teacher said: “The children become involved from the very beginning. They liked discussing the rights of the child and were shocked at some of the rights listed. They had taken these rights for granted.”
Minister for Education and Skills Richard Bruton explained that The Action Plan on Bullying “set out a series of recommendations to promote an anti-bullying culture in schools.”
“My Department also issued procedures to all schools which required them to have an anti-bullying policy in place,” Bruton said.
All Together Now is funded in part by the Department of Education and Skills.
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