37 schools across Ireland awarded for championing LGBTQ+ inclusion

Post-primary institutions across the country are being recognised for completing Belong To's LGBTQ+ Quality Mark programme.

This article is about schools in Ireland receiving their LGBTQ+ quality mark. The image shows Belong To CEO Moninne Griffith smiling with Jack Chambers TD. Jack holds a sign reading
Image: Alan Rowlette

37 schools across Ireland have been awarded for championing LGBTQ+ inclusion. The post-primary institutions are the first cohort to complete Belong To’s 18-month LGBTQ+ Quality Mark programme, and received their accreditation at a ceremony on Friday, February 23.

While research shows that 76% of queer students feel unsafe at school, the awarded institutions have worked tirelessly to challenge that statistic.

The initiative saw the participating schools supported in implementing evidence-based actions across key areas, which have been proven to benefit the wellbeing and safety of LGBTQ+ students. These include ensuring that staff are equipped to support queer pupils, creating a safe and inclusive school culture and environment with student input, developing and implementing effective policies, plans and curriculums that champion diversity and respect, and working with parents, community organisations and LGBTQ+ youth projects or groups to promote inclusion.


People travelled from all over the country for Friday’s ceremony at The Foundry in Google’s Dublin Headquarters. Hosted by presenter and podcaster James Kavanagh, the event featured music and spoken word performances, a panel discussion with students and speeches from leading politicians and civil servants.

Minister of State and TD for Dublin West, Jack Chambers, addressed the room, saying: “I am delighted to join students, teachers and principals from schools across Ireland as they receive their LGBTQ+ Quality Mark today. Belong To’s LGBTQ+ Quality Mark recognises the importance of schools being places where members of the LGBTQ+ community can feel safe and supported.

“We know that a supportive school environment can have a hugely beneficial impact on the wellbeing and attainment of LGBTQ+ students. Together, we need to address the anti-LGBTQ+ stigma and discrimination that remains prevalent in our society,” he continued.

“The Government is committed to ensuring the safety, equality and inclusion of all students, including our LGBTQ+ students, by creating safe, supportive and inclusive school environments for all.”

Moninne Griffith, CEO of Belong To, stated, “School can be a difficult place for LGBTQ+ students, but that does not have to be the case. There are outstanding schools committed to creating safe and supportive spaces for LGBTQ+ students. The positive impact of inclusion and visibility allows students to live healthy lives and thrive at school.

“Today is about celebrating 37 brilliant schools who have shown leadership and outstanding commitment to LGBTQ+ inclusion through participation in the LGBTQ+ Quality Mark. I want to thank the entire school community in each of these schools and, in particular, recognise the incredible efforts of each LGBTQ+ Quality Mark Coordinator and Principal. Thank you for showing up for LGBTQ+ students and for demonstrating commitment, courage and leadership. Congratulations on being the first schools in Ireland to receive the LGBTQ+ Quality Mark!”

Speaking separately to GCN, she added, “For me, personally, it’s a dream come true because, after the Marriage Referendum when I came to Belong To, my dream was to ensure that students who are LGBT or exploring their gender identity or sexual orientation felt that they belonged in school, that they felt safe and supported. So to see 37 schools from all over the country here, who’ve gone through the whole programme over 18 months, looked at policy, curriculum, safe spaces, they’ve worked with all the staff, the board of management and the students to make sure that everyone feels welcome, it’s very personally rewarding for me.”

Moninne also noted the impact an LGBTQ+ Quality Mark can have on queer youth, explaining: “We know from the research that we’ve done over the past few years that school can be a very lonely and unsafe place for LGBT students…So what we’re hoping is, the more schools that undertake these programmes, the less students are going to feel like that. More young people are going to feel that they belong in school, that they’re welcome, that they’re in fact celebrated in school.

“They’ll see themselves in the curriculum, they’ll feel safe in the bathrooms and in PE…That will change over the coming years and hopefully then we’ll start to see an improvement in those statistics in our research over the next few years,” she concluded.

Ben Condon, a teacher with Marino College in Dublin, told GCN why his school decided to get involved: “The Quality Mark programme was something we wanted to do as a school because we recognise ourselves as a very diverse school and we wanted to show our school community and also the wider community that diversity, equality and LGBTQ+ inclusion are really important values for us. We wanted to make that public and make that really well understood for all of our students, for all of our staff and all of our families.”

Below is the full list of recipients of the Belong To LGBTQ+ Quality Mark in February 2024:

  • Bandon Grammar School, Co. Cork
  • Carndonagh Community School, Co. Donegal 
  • Colaiste Chill Mhantain, Co. Wicklow
  • Clonturk Community College, Co. Dublin
  • Coláiste Dhúlaigh Post Primary,  Co. Dublin
  • Colaiste Gleann Lí, Co. Kerry
  • Coláiste Pobail Naomh Mhuire, Co. Cork
  • Cork Educate Together Secondary School, Co. Cork
  • Curragh Community College, Co. Kildare
  • Holy Child Community School, Co. Dublin
  • Kingswood Community College, Co. Dublin
  • Kinsale Community School, Co. Cork
  • Loreto Crumlin, Co. Dublin 
  • Maria Immaculata Community College, Co. Cork
  • Marino College, Co. Dublin
  • Mercy College Coolock, Co. Dublin
  • Moville Community College, Co. Donegal
  • Naas Community College, Co. Kildare
  • North Monastery Secondary School, 
  • North Wicklow Educate Together Secondary School, Co. Wicklow
  • O’Carolan College, Co. Meath
  • Patrician Academy, Co. Cork 
  • Piper’s Hill College, Co. Kildare
  • Roscommon Community College, Co. Roscommon
  • Scoil Mhuire, Co. Tipperary
  • St. Aloysius School, Co. Cork
  • St. Attracta’s Community School, Co. Sligo
  • St. Benildus College, Co. Dublin 
  • St. Farnan’s Post Primary School, Co. Kildare
  • St. Joseph’s Secondary School / Mercy Rochfortbridge, Co. Westmeath 
  • St. Mogue’s College, Co. Cavan
  • St. Peter’s College, Meath 
  • St. Paul’s Secondary School, Co. Dublin
  • Sutton Park School, Co. Dublin 
  • Tyndall College, Co. Carlow
  • Villiers School, Co. Limerick 
  • Wesley College, Co. Dublin

© 2024 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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