LGBT+ Inclusion at Plume Academy
At Plume, Maldon’s Community Academy, it is our intent to support all of our students broader personal development thus enabling them to develop their characters further by:
Fully discovering their interests and talents;
developing resilience, confidence and independence and help them know how to keep and maintain good physical and mental health:
equipping them to be responsible, respectful, active citizens who contribute positively to modern British society;
preparing students for life in modern Britain by developing their understanding of fundamental British values; and
developing their understanding and appreciation of diversity − celebrating what we have in common and promoting respect for the different protected characteristics as defined in law.
Our high-quality LGBT+ curriculum and pastoral support is key to achieving many of these personal development valued characteristics.
For the last four years, Plume Academy has appointed a designated staff lead who drives the whole-academy LGBT inclusion agenda. This LGBT+ Stonewall Champion has driven change which has had a positive impact on LGBT students as well as developing a culture of acceptance where diversity is not only acknowledged but rightfully celebrated.
Academy policies have been developed to be LGBT inclusive and include clear distinction between sexual orientation and gender identity. The academy’s Anti bullying policy has been adapted to explicitly state that homophobic, biphobic, transphobic and sexist bullying is unacceptable.
Student Anti-Bullying Ambassadors have been appointed in each year group and offer support to their peers as well as lead on key assemblies on anti-bullying including Homophobic, biphobic and sexist bullying. They have developed a student-friendly anti-bullying policy which includes HBT bullying and sets out clear advice to students on how to report bullying of all types.
All academy teaching and support staff have been trained on how to tackle HBT bullying and language. Pastoral staff have also been trained on how to support LGBT+ students including working with parents and carers to access support outside of the academy. This training continues to include how to support trans young people and has been successfully used to help student transition. Parent forum sessions have been delivered to spread the message of our LGBT inclusive work which have been positively received by our parents and carers.
Gender stereotypes are actively challenged by staff, through the rejection of ‘boy/girl’ seating plans and the increasing use of gender-neutral language used in our whole teaching environment.
Areas of the curriculum have been developed to ensure that students continue to have opportunities to discuss LGBT people, themes and gender identities. The academy’s three separate libraries also contain a large range of books with LGBT+ themes. The academy also has many displays that celebrate diversity and LGBT+ people which are accessible for all students.
The academy holds regular events to celebrate equality and diversity. For example, our annual LGBT History Month where students have the opportunity to buy and wear rainbow ribbons to show their respect for LGBT+ people throughout history and in doing so, raising money for LGBT+ charities at the same time. Our PE Faculty hold annual events which celebrate diversity in sport and this is highlighted through our Rainbow Laces campaign. Our Anti-Bullying week has an LGBT focus which in turn continues to embed our anti HBT bullying message. All events are celebrated via out Plume Newsletter sent out fortnightly to our academy community.
Assemblies are structured for all year groups to include the delivery of LGBT related themes across the academic year. These include: LGBT+ ‘lets get the meaning straight’, #NoBystanders Anti Bullying, gender equality and trans visibility. Assemblies are also supported by a developed tutorial programme that give students the opportunity to discuss and develop a greater understanding of LGBT related people, issues and themes.
Students are aware that HBT bullying and language is wrong and this has been evidenced in the ongoing reduction of homophobic, biphobic, transphobic and sexist bullying recorded across the academy.
Governors monitor rates of HBT and sexist bullying and language.
On 5 December 2019, the academy secured the ‘Stonewall School Champion Bronze Award’. A prestigious award that has effectively benchmarked our progress whilst also providing that all-important further direction to our ongoing work in tackling homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying, whilst embracing and celebrating diversity in everything we do and are involved in.
On 11 February 2020, Plume Academy were also national runners-up for the ‘School of the Year Award’ at the ‘Just Like Us Role Model Awards’. Just Like Us is an LGBT+ charity which was founded for the simple reason that growing up LGBT+ is still one of the most challenging experiences young people can face. The Role Model Awards recognise the individuals and institutions making outstanding contributions to tackling prejudice against LGBT+ people at school, university and the workplace. We were nominated and shortlisted down to the final two schools for the ‘School of the Year Award’ which recognises a whole-school effort to make LGBT+ inclusion a central priority, involving students, staff, parents, carers and governors in their work, and making positive improvements for LGBT+ young people through policy changes, pedagogy, campaigns and anti-bullying interventions.
Our staff and students continue to work hard and in collaboration to create an environment where bullying, peer-on-peer abuse or discrimination is simply not accepted or indeed tolerated. If they do occur, staff deal with issues quickly and effectively, and do not allow them to spread. We also continue to work hard that those few who behave in such a manner are not only sanctioned but perhaps more importantly, worked closely with the core objective of them learning from their previous poor decision making.
LGBT+ History Month 2021
Every February, since 2005, the UK celebrates LGBT+ History Month. The purpose of LGBT+ History Month is to raise awareness of, and combat prejudice against the LGBT+ community, whilst celebrating its achievement, diversity and making it more visible.
I am proud that at Plume Academy we have been getting involved in the national campaign for the last 3 years and this year our celebration of LGBT+ history and role models has continued to grow. During February this year, across the academy, we focused on LGBT+ role models in lessons, during tutor time and assemblies. If you wish to see the recorded assembly please click here and watch the 9 minute presentation.
Please do look at our picture gallery to see some of the content from this year’s LGBT+ History Month.
Our growing student led Plume Pride group has over 50 members and the Student Leaders ran a successful 'Well-Being Special' presentation, the recording of this session is available to watch and offers the viewers tips on well-being and further positive mental health support that is available. click here Our Plume Pride group is open to staff and students regardless of whether they are LGBT+ or allies, if you would like to be part of this very special student led group then please request to join by clicking here.
If you or your child would like more information or support regarding the issues that have been raised in this LGBT focus month, please encourage your child to talk to their Assistant Head of Year, to get in touch with Mrs Ollett or check out the Stonewall website which has a great deal of support material for both young people, parents and carers. There are also further support materials and LGBT+ related books in each of the academy’s libraries, as well as display materials around the school.
It is my pleasure to announce that Plume Academy were national runners-up for the ‘School of the Year Award’ at the Just Like Us Role Model Awards. This event took place last night in the Great Hall on London’s Embankment and included inspirational speeches from students and teachers. It was a star-studded event and celebrity guests included This Morning’s Dr Ranj, The Only Way is Essex star Bobby Norris, Dancing on Ice pro skater Matt Evers and award-winning author Juno Dawson.
Just Like Us is an LGBT+ charity which was founded for the simple reason that growing up LGBT+ is still one of the most challenging experiences young people can face. The Role Model Awards recognise the individuals and institutions making outstanding contributions to tackling prejudice against LGBT+ people at school, university and the workplace. Plume Academy was nominated and shortlisted down to the final two schools for the ‘School of the Year Award’ which recognises a whole-school effort to make LGBT+ inclusion a central priority, involving pupils, staff, parents and governors in their work, and making positive improvements for LGBT+ young people through policy changes, pedagogy, campaigns and anti-bullying interventions. This positive news comes in addition to the Academy securing the Stonewall School Champion Bronze Award at the end of last term.
As you know I am passionate about LGBT+ inclusion and feel extremely proud of all Plume staff for your support and input which has had a positive impact on LGBT+ students as well as developing a culture of acceptance within our community.
National Anti-Bullying Week 2020
16 - 20 November 2020
Throughout the whole of last week at Plume, Maldon’s Community Academy, staff and students have been taking part in a variety of activities to demonstrate that we as an academy are ‘United Against Bullying’ for national Anti-Bullying Week. To highlight this important topic and national agenda the week started with a whole academy assembly delivered remotely to every classroom by Mrs Alison Ollett, our LGBT+ Stonewall Champion. This assembly acted as a reminder to students as to what bullying actually is and in what forms it can occur, and outlined the activities on offer over the course of the week. The Anti-Bullying Alliance who spearhead this anti-bullying movement also supplied us with excellent resources which were adapted to meet the needs our students.
‘Change starts with us’ activities were then explored during tutorial times each morning with all year groups. These helped our students to understand that verbal, physical, online or in-person bullying can all have a significant detrimental impact on a young person’s life and that by challenging our collective power as well as through shared efforts and shared ambitions, we can reduce or even stop bullying together. Small, simple changes can break this cycle and create a safe environment for everyone.
Each of our three library areas created displays of topical books available to our students to borrow and they also lunched an anti-bullying competition at our Mill Road Campus for our 617 Years’ 7 and 8 students in an effort to further entice them to become even more involved.
Student led groups of volunteers sold Anti-Bullying merchandise, including ‘Bullying – I won’t stand by!’ wrist bands and LGBT+ rainbow ribbons and laces. These have been received well by our students who have taken on the ‘United against bullying’ statement and collectively show their support through wearing these items. The money raised through the selling of these items will also be donated to anti-bullying charities.
On Friday 20 November, we also held an ‘Odd Socks Day’, which was designed to be fun and an opportunity for students and staff to express themselves and appreciate individuality and uniqueness – we had dozens of wonderful examples!
Our academy’s teaching and support staff also had the opportunity to update their understanding of bullying through staff briefings and additional information shared throughout the week.
We are pleased that bullying incidents remain low at the academy remain, however, the information shared with staff enables them to be vigilant of any possible bullying incidents. During the week we were also able to reiterate to our students that the academy is a safe environment where they can talk about their feelings and problems and will receive support where it is deemed necessary, or whenever it is asked for.