Pupils to learn about Wilde’s life in LGBTI cur­ricu­lum

As Scot­land leads the world in a pro­gres­sive agenda of teach­ing LGBTI at school, Ed­u­ca­tion Cor­re­spon­dent AN­DREW DEN­HOLM looks at what pupils will study

The Herald - - FRONT PAGE -

great works of gay and les­bian artists and writ­ers from Os­car Wilde to Michae­lan­gelo are al­ready taught in Scot­tish schools.

But what is not so widely dis­cussed is how the sex­u­al­ity of th­ese men and women in­flu­enced their artis­tic and lit­er­ary en­deav­ours.

Sim­i­larly, while the achieve­ments of fig­ures such as English math­e­mati­cian and Enigma code­breaker Alan Tur­ing ap­pear in his­tory les­sons, less is known of his later pros­e­cu­tion for ho­mo­sex­ual acts.

That is set to change fol­low­ing a land­mark move by the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment to make the ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem the first in the world to recog­nise is­sues faced by the LGBTI com­mu­nity.

As a re­sult, schools will be pro­vided with a range of new teach­ing ma­te­ri­als which high­light is­sues such as tack­ling ho­mo­pho­bia, bi­pho­bia and trans­pho­bia, prej­u­dice in re­la­tion to the LGBTI com­mu­nity and aware­ness of the his­tory of the LGBTI move­ment.

The ma­te­ri­als will be used in dif­fer­ent ways, but one of the most ground­break­ing is their in­clu­sion by the Scot­tish Qualifications Au­thor­ity (SQA) in Na­tional 5 and Higher sub­jects such as mod­ern stud­ies, his­tory, English and art and drama.

That means all pupils study­ing th­ese qualifications are likely to be taught from the new ma­te­ri­als be­cause they could face ques­tions about them in their fi­nal ex­ams.

Jor­dan Daly, co-founder of the Time for In­clu­sive Ed­u­ca­tion (Tie) cam­paign, said the ma­te­ri­als would not mark a rad­i­cal de­par­ture, but would mark a shift in em­pha­sis.

He said: “LGBTI in­clu­sion in th­ese sub­jects will guar­an­tee that young peo­ple will learn about the achieve­ments and con­tri­bu­tions of the LGBTI com­mu­nity to the coun­try and the wider world. Teach­ers will teach it be­cause they need to help pupils pass the exam.

“Schools are al­ready teach­ing Os­car Wilde, but what is miss­ing is what his writ­ing means in the con­text of his ar­rest and con­vic­tion.

“A lot of schools teach au­thors like Carol Ann Duffy and Val Mc­der­mid and what we are say­ing is that if their work is in­formed by their per­sonal cir­cum­stances then it should be in­cluded in th­ese les­sons.”

Mr Daly said other ex­am­ples in mod­ern stud­ies and his­tory could be the in­car­cer­a­tion of LGBTI groups in Nazi con­cen­tra­tion camps, the Stonewall ri­ots in 1969 in New York and the story of Sally Ride, the first fe­male Amer­i­can woman in space, who was a les­bian.

The other way LGBTI ma­te­ri­als will be in­tro­duced is through the de­liv­ery of com­pul­sory re­la­tion­ships, sex­ual health and par­ent­hood (RSHP) ed­u­ca­tion for all pupils.

The new ma­te­ri­als will be un­der­pinned by up­dated statu­tory guid­ance which will “ap­ply to all pub­lic schools in Scot­land”.

Cur­rently, Catholic schools have greater free­dom over what is de­liv­ered in RSHP, with the Scot­tish Catholic Ed­u­ca­tion Ser­vice’s (Sces) own guid­ance stat­ing pupils will learn about mar­riage as the “ideal con­text for sex­ual in­ti­macy and self – giv­ing be­tween a man and a woman”.

De­spite this shift, Bar­bara Coupar, di­rec­tor of the Sces, wel­comed the new rec­om­men­da­tions say­ing they will help en­sure pupils and staff are prop­erly equipped to erad­i­cate prej­u­diced­based bul­ly­ing.

How­ever, there was con­cern from Si­mon Calvert, from The Chris­tian In­sti­tute. He said: “There is al­ready a great deal of em­pha­sis on LGBT is­sues in schools and per­haps the time and money would be bet­ter spent try­ing to im­prove ed­u­ca­tion for ev­ery­one.”

The new ma­te­ri­als will be de­vel­oped with the SQA and cur­ricu­lum body Ed­u­ca­tion Scot­land and then rolled out to schools by 2021. In or­der to en­sure all schools are adopt­ing them all fu­ture in­spec­tions will specif­i­cally ask for ev­i­dence of

LGBTI in­clu­sion.

There is also a com­mit­ment that, if the im­ple­men­ta­tion group do not see suf­fi­cient progress in de­liv­ery of LGBTI in­clu­sive ed­u­ca­tion by 2021, then the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment should con­sult them on fur­ther mea­sures, in­clud­ing leg­is­la­tion to en­force change.

„ Os­car Wilde and, above right, writer Val Mc­der­mid, as­tro­naut SallyRide and code­breaker Alan Tur­ing.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.