Dr Elly Barnes MBE was voted No: 1 in The Independent on Sundays Rainbow List 2011 for her commitment to LGBT in education and awarded a ‘highly commended’ by the TES ‘Teacher of the Year’ 2012. More recently in 2018 was voted DIVA Activist of the Year.

As an experienced teacher, Elly began LGBT+ inclusive work with her year group in 2005, setting up her own school as a Diversity Training Centre for teachers in 2010, offering LGBT+ training, CPD and resources to teachers nationally.

This whole school approach was recognised by Ofsted as ‘best practice’ for successfully tackling homophobic bullying in 2011 and described as innovative and visionary in 2016.

Elly developed her Educate & Celebrate PRIDE in Inclusion Award Programme – an accredited best practice certification, by drawing on her experiences of implementing the most effective strategies. There are now has 1000’s of schools accessing Educate & Celebrate services nationally and internationally. 

As Elly says, ‘Educating through the curriculum is key to creating an enlightened environment where we can begin to build cohesive communities with social justice at its core. On the other side of fear lies freedom’. 

In 2015, she spearheaded the Educate & Celebrate programme as part of the pilot Anti-HBT bullying project with the Department for Education for which she received an MBE for her contribution to Equality and Diversity in Education. This was followed by an Honorary Doctorate from The University of Aberdeen. 

Throughout the development, Elly formed a close partnership with Goldsmiths University of London and together with Dr Anna Carlile wrote a book of all the research from the Educate & Celebrate Programme released in March 2018  called How to Transform Your School into an LGBT+Friendly Place: A Practical Guide for nursery, primary and secondary teachers 

Elly is a regular keynote speaker, writer, author and panel member. She has spoken at numerous conferences globally and works in partnership with County Councils, Boroughs, Universities, Organisations, Charities, Consortiums and Multi Academy Trusts. 

The work continues to impact education globally, firstly through the EU, followed by training for teachers in Germany, Spain, India and Turkey and more recently in 2019-20 in Switzerland, Ireland and Thailand. 

“She was mesmerising! She is such a great public speaker it was nice to have someone like her come into our school” Walsall Teacher

“Best Training on ANY topic I’ve had in years!” KittyC on Twitter Feb 2020

“..just 10 minutes of E&C’s @elly_barnes and the way I communicate about diversity has changed forever: So damn good” Robert James Twitter Feb 2020

Elly is regularly interviewed on the radio and by the press regarding LGBT+ inclusion in schools. She is an energetic, ebullient and inspirational speaker.