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.
Plume, Maldon’s Community Academy has appointed a designated staff lead who drives the whole-academy LGBT inclusion agenda. The Whole Academy Mental Health 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 explicitly states that homophobic, biphobic, transphobic (HBT) 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 HBT 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.
We offer all students Plume Pride, which is a student-led group and provides a safe place for students to socialise, support each other and talk about LGBT+ issues. We meet weekly at MRC and FRC to support our LGBT+ community and celebrate diversity.
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 can 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 our 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, 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.
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.
Students are aware that HBT bullying and language is wrong and this has been evidenced in the ongoing reduction of HBT and sexist bullying recorded across the academy. Our Academy trustees monitor rates of HBT and sexist bullying and language.
Plume Academy are accredited 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.
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.