We believe young people are more likely to feel safe, happy and fulfil their potential if they feel able to be themselves and valued for who they are; feel included and part of the school community; have access to resources and information relevant to them and feel they have people to talk to and know how to access support services. At Budehaven, we have strived to embed support networks to remove isolation barriers for LGBTQI+ young people and create an inclusive school environment.
Here is a reflection from one of our current Year 10 students:
“As a year 10 student, I have found that Budehaven has many different ways of supporting young students who may identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community or may be questioning. Every other Thursday, Steve from the Intercom Trust comes into school and runs lunchtime group sessions at the Haven. This group allows students to seek both professional and peer support about any problems they may be facing regarding coming out, bullying and more. It is also a safe space to talk about common experiences with other students. The Intercom Trust also provides 1:1 sessions for students who may require extra support.
Our school also promotes positive attitudes towards the LGBTQ community; staff wear pride lanyards and students also wear pride badges that are provided by the school; negative behaviours are challenged by both staff and students. Before Covid hit, (when I was a year 8) the school was able to host bigger events, and we hope to do so once again as restrictions are removed. There have been pride days that feature non-school uniform, a decorated school building, karaoke and themed lessons amongst other things. There have also been fundraisers such as bake sales, trips to other schools and local pride events.
Older students who are a part of the LGBT community are encouraged to engage with younger years who may be questioning to help them in what can be a very difficult journey and share their experiences. There is a Year 7 that I know and they refer to me as their big sister. We have built a very strong bond since meeting at one of the lunchtime sessions and other extra-curricular clubs. This shows that not only does this lunchtime group provide support and confidence building it also inspires strong friendships across the school.
Finally, as a part of the PSHE curriculum students learn about a wide variety of topics regarding LGBTQ and its community. There is also a display board within the school that features the history of the LGBT, information and resources for any student who may need it. In conclusion, our school is a very inclusive environment that is able to support students whenever they may need or want it all while providing a positive and friendly atmosphere for all students.”
Intercom Trust is a lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans+ charity working across Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and the wider South West, providing help and support, advocacy, counselling, training , information, support groups , online directory, community surveys, conferences and consultancy.