Students explain why they're championing LGBT+ equality in School Diversity Week

When we were informed of School Diversity Week, we knew we had to take the opportunity to get involved. We though that, with this chance to raise awareness of the issues faced by LGBT+ youth, both in our school and across the country, we needed to do something great.

During School Diversity Week, we held a cake sale which allowed for the whole school to get involved, and all the money raised went to Intercom, our local LGBT+ charity. On the last day of diversity week there was a whole school flash mob to celebrate and embrace our own diversity within school. Everyone got involved, even the teachers! We also worked on educating staff on how to approach a diverse classroom, which is just as important as educating the students.

Alongside diversity week, we met with our Senior Leadership Team to discuss issues faced by LGBT+ students in our school and what we could do to help them. We brought along real accounts from students of their experience in our school, unfortunately many not being so positive and we pitched our ideas for change. From these ideas and initial meetings, we now have our Respect Group which provides a safe place for students to talk, seek out education and embrace being allies or young LGBT+ people with access to information.

After noticing a worrying rise in homophobic and transphobic bullying not only in national statistics but also in our own school, we decided education was the best way forward. Raising awareness through individual form activities for students concerning LGBT+ terminology and slurs has been a massive part of our groups work in encouraging diversity.

We hope that other schools will get involved with School Diversity Week, as well as encouraging the wider community to make small changes that will impact the lives of LGBT+ pupils for the better, such as changing the Sex Education curriculum to be more inclusive and informative. This will also open doors to opportunities like guest speakers from diverse members of your area, and the chance to have your voice heard in the House of Commons to vote for the things you care about.

This nationwide week of celebration and education allowed us to spread the core value of respect, something that, coming from a small town in Devon, shows the power of acceptance and tolerance. We thank you for this award, and the opportunity to hopefully inspire other schools like us to do the same

The Respect Group from King's School, Devon, were the winners of the 2018 School Star Award for Student Leadership

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