School ethos and aims
Our school is an inclusive setting and our intention is to provide an environment in which students feel able to share their thoughts and feelings and gain the support they need in order to overcome any barriers they face. We strongly promote anti-bullying and our work to educate our students in relation to the nine protected characteristics within the Equality Act 2010 is key to ensuring inclusion. All of our students have SEND and we are sensitive to their needs and level of understanding. Our teaching staff differentiate resources and materials for all lessons and activities related to equalities requires the same. We find that due to our students’ needs, they often require more support and more explanation in relation to such important issues. Students who require additional support can gain this through the adult support available, our wellbeing hub intervention or through specialist interventions. Support is directed on a needs-led basis and parents/carers and fully involved in decision-making around this offer of support.
Equali-Tea focus group
Our whole school response to equalities issues is organised through our school equalities team which is made up of staff, students, parents/carers and governors. Our equalities team is called Equali-tea and the staff who work within this group have completed training with Stonewall. The group meet regularly to review a whole school action plan in relation to equalities and our work includes awareness raising about LGBTQIA+ but also the other protected characteristics within the Equality Act 2010. The group is led by Mr Reynolds and other members of staff who are part of the group includes;
Mrs Menagh – Head teacher
Mr Reynolds – Leader of the Thriving curriculum
Mrs Angland – Leader of our communication curriculum
Mrs St James – Teaching Assistant
Mrs Pritchard – Pupil welfare coordinator
Mrs Townson – Learning mentor
Mr Smythe – Teaching Assistant
Mrs Meyler – Teaching Assistant
Mrs Cowperthwaite – Teacher in our nurture class
Mr Wan – Teaching Assistant
The Equali-tea group meet every half term with the parent and pupil representatives to consider further developments across school. The logo for this group was designed by Mr Smythe.
The staff members of Equali-tea wear rainbow lanyards around school so that students know that they are people who they can talk to about issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity.
Organisations we work with
The Just Like Us organisation has provided focused assemblies for students. This work has focused on a wider understanding of protected characteristics and a strong purpose relates to our anti-bullying approaches.
The work of the Equali-tea team has included additional training for staff, gathering pupil voice and parent voice, organising whole school assemblies/events that recognise and celebrate diversity such as School Diversity Week and Neurodiversity Celebration week.
Parents/carers are updated through our school newsletters and through receiving information about our SRE curriculum and what is available on our website. We welcome the views and involvement of parents and have been pleased to have parental representation on our Equali-tea working party.
Rights Respecting School
Alt Bridge School have been recognised as a bronze level Rights Respecting School with UNICEF. An understanding of human rights and the rights of the child according to the UN Convention on Children’s’ Rights in embedded within our whole school culture and ethos. We are currently working towards the silver award and continue to refer to human rights in our discussions with students.
Each year we hold a celebration week for neurodiversity and educate our students about a range of neurodiverse conditions which include;
- Tourette’s Syndrome
Our students often become very involved and many are proud to speak about their neurodiversity and how it makes them unique and also exceptional individuals.
We are currently working with other settings to produce a neurodiversity film which we hope to showcase soon! Part of this work has been linked in with the Knowsley Borough of Culture 2022 year and is our commitment to ensuring that more and more children and young people across Knowsley are educated about Neurodiversity. This year we are also taking part in the Umbrella Project 2022 with the ADHD Foundation as a celebration of our differences. Our students also benefit from ongoing support from the ADHD Foundation, who we commission to provide a specialist from their organisation in school specifically for our students.
At Alt Bridge, our cohort of female pupils is typically around 20-25% of our whole school population, placing them in the minority. Our strategy for girls is to promote self-esteem, equal opportunity and empowerment. This year, we have supported the This Girl Can campaign through sports, enabling our female students to gain recognition and awards for their achievements in sports. We also provide girls focused extra-curricular sports clubs to support the participation of girls.
Our Wellbeing hub learning mentor team has also provided confidence building workshops for girls this year and has been involved in running focused sessions for girls in regards to healthy relationships.
We also look forward to working with the organisation ‘Confident Teens’ to deliver a Building Girls Confidence programme soon.
We have entered into a two year charter with the Anthony Walker Foundation who work with us to provide additional staff training, student workshops, assemblies and awareness raising events to tackle discrimination and work to prevent hate crimes from taking place.
We have designed our curriculum to ensure that our students have an understanding of a modern and fully representative society, ensuring there are many opportunities for them to learn about positive role models throughout history and also meet with modern day ones who inspire.
LGBTQ+ in the PSHCE Curriculum
The PSHCE Curriculum is informed by the Government`s Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) and Health Education 2019 guidelines which came into effect in September 2020.
A graduated approach is used with themes being introduced in Year 7 which start from where pupils are at. Knowledge and understanding is then reinforced by revisiting topics in subsequent year groups by building on prior knowledge. Group discussions, lots of visual clues and interactive resources such as quizzes and apps help to make learning engaging.
In PSHCE all Relationship education lessons begin with an understanding of what the nine protected characteristics are and that these rights are protected by Law through the Equalities Act 2010. This includes sexual orientation. All year groups are taught the meaning of the LGBTQ+ descriptions.
In addition LGBTQ+ awareness is promoted through external organisations such as “Just like Us”. They are a group of young adults from the LGBTQ+ Community who share their experiences to be positive role models to inspire others who identify as LGBTQ+.
In Year 9 PSHCE there is a focus on equality and respecting difference in relationship education and this includes pupils recognising the meaning of the terms prejudice and discrimination and stereotyping and the effect it has on others. Pupils know that people live their lives in different ways. Pupils again, are made aware of the term LGBTQ+.
Pupils can identify what pride represents and why it exists. Pupils are aware of different responses to pride around the world. Pupils can understand what is meant by homophobia and that it can be expressed in a number of ways. Pupils can say how homophobia affects people.
In Year 10 Sex and relationships PSHCE, pupils learn that there are different types of committed, stable relationships and recognise that sexual attraction and sexuality is diverse and the difference between biological sex, gender identity and sexual orientation. Pupil are made aware of terms such as gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender and gender fluid.
There are also lots of opportunity to explore LGBTQ+ organisations such as Stonewall through the Citizenship Curriculum when looking at themes of civil liberties in Year 8 and Human Rights in Year 11.
Wider awareness of LGBTQIA+ and whole school work
We have three trained Stonewall Champions amongst our staff and we have achieved the Bronze Stonewall award. All staff have received Stonewall training through these champions and our behaviour for learning policy and anti-bullying policy outline how we deal with incidents of discrimination amongst our student population.
Specialist support in relation to LGBTQIA+
Our wellbeing hub staff can offer support to students with any concerns around equalities. We also work with specialist agencies such as Mermaids, Stonewall and Just Like Us to provide higher level support and access to counselling or other forms of 1:1 work.
Our learning environment
Our learning environment and school displays are designed to support our ethos and understanding of equalities.