Chris Kelly from Trent College tells us about their journey with E&C to an LGBT + friendly school


What is the Educate & Celebrate programme?

At the end of the Summer term in 2018, we signed up to the Educate & Celebrate programme in order to ensure that Trent College was an LGBTQ+ friendly environment. In order to achieve this, the Educate & Celebrate PRIDE in Inclusion Award provided the school with goals for the year, which came under the following headings:

Dr Elly Barnes, MBE came to Trent to lead our staff INSET session in September 2018 and helped pave the way for the work we were about to do
A steering group was set up with key members of Trent staff to ensure our policies included the correct terminology and that LGBTQ+ was represented.
How do we ensure LGBTQ+ people are included in the curriculum? Departments worked hard to look into representation in their schemes of work
Is the school a welcoming place to LGBTQ+ students, staff and parents? Posters and displays were set up in key areas to make sure LGBTQ+ was visible in school
How do we engage with parents and our community? Social media played a big role here, celebrating the successes of the programme, from the Rainbow Pride Bake-Off to the various in-school events

As a gay member of staff, the school has always been supportive, but I am still so pleased with how far the school has come in the last two years with LGBTQ+ inclusion. We now have a Pride Youth Network, which is a group open to everyone who would like to discuss LGBTQ+ issues and is, of course, a safe place for our LGBTQ+ students. The theme of our House Shout last year was LGBTQ+ artists and I was so proud to see everyone (staff and students) getting involved in something so positive – Owen House’s rendition of Miley Cyrus’ ‘Wrecking Ball’ will stay with me for a long time. The Elms has also been an integral part of the programme with a ‘Love is Love’ week and joint projects with the Pride Youth Network.

Highlights of the programme:
Other highlights of the two years with Educate & Celebrate have been the two events for LGBTQ+ History Month in February 2018 and 2019, where students signed a pledge to celebrate diversity and took the time to create Pride poems, flags and photos. In my own personal journey, I led an assembly with Main School and Sixth Form about growing up in the 1980s, and how it felt to be an LGBTQ+ child at that time. It was the first time I had spoken about my sexual orientation openly and I was so proud that Trent allowed me to be simply who I am. The students listened respectfully and it was amazing to have had so many positive comments from staff and students alike.

It has been the conversations with staff and students, which have been sparked by the work we have done, which has really made me feel that we are an accepting community at Trent. I could not have asked for a better reception to the work we have been doing.

We are delighted to have achieved the Educate & Celebrate Silver Award and we will continue with the programme next year to achieve our Gold Award.

Chris Kelly, House Guardian of Shuker House,Teacher of German & French