LGBT+ inclusive education campaigners disappointed by SNP manifesto pledge

Tie calls on the SNP to go further on LGBT+ education

THE TIME FOR INCLUSIVE EDUCATION campaign has criticised the SNP for not including specific teacher training to provide and LGBT+ inclusive education in their manifesto pledges to tackle bullying and discrimination in Scottish schools.

The campaigners have been working to reform Scotland's education system for more than a year in an effort to combat the epidemic of mental ill health, self and harm and suicide among LGBT+ youth .

In recent months the campaign, which is supported by a range of civil society groups and celebrities, have been pushing political parties to adopt teacher training to supply an education which is inclusive of a variety of sexualities and identities in their manifestos for the 2016 Scottish elections.

In late March, the SNP announced that it would institute equalities training for all new, guidance and promoted teachers, in order for them to help tackle bullying and discriminatory attitudes at school.

SNP youth have welcomed SNP policy as "exactly what we were asking for".

The SNP's 2016 manifesto includes a pared-down pledge to supply equality training for guidance and promoted teachers, with an aspiration that this will be extended to all teachers eventually. The manifesto also pledges that the SNP will work with the Tie campaign.

After the manifesto launch, a spokesperson for the Tie campaign said: "Despite reassurances prior to this manifesto's release that the party would go further than umbrella equalities training, unfortunately they have not done this. It is yet to be seen what the party mean by 'equality' training, but a strategy to tackle homo/bi/transphobia must ensure that any teacher training is specific to LGBT+ issues.

"This is what we have been campaigning for, and while we are glad to see that the Scottish Greens and the Liberal Democrats have adopted our aims - it is disappointing that the SNP have not gone as far as they should have. This is not necessarily what the membership expected when they supported our campaign, and while we welcome the party's willingness to work with us - they must cooperate and go further than this, or else risk simply paying lip service to the idea of LGBT+ inclusive education."

To coincide with the drafting of the SNP manifesto, Tie and SNP Youth and SNP Students co-wrote a policy proposal that included specific LGBT+ inclusive teacher training with adequate financing specified to train teachers.

However, following the launch of the SNP's manifesto without these commitments, SNP youth have welcomed SNP policy as "exactly what we were asking for".

A spokesperson for SNP Youth told CommonSpace: "SNP Youth welcome the four paragraph inclusive education commitment in the SNP Manifesto.

Read: Tie, SNP Youth and SNP Students policy proposal

"The commitment - which includes the provision of funding for equality education - is an excellent step on an issue of great importance for young people across Scotland and exactly what we were asking for at this year's SNP Spring Conference.

"We have worked very hard to raise LGBTI+ issues within the SNP and the SNP Youth/Students Resolution on Inclusive Education at SNP Conference was a vital step towards this commitment and shows the party is listening to its members.

"We will continue to work with the SNP and with stakeholders to enact progressive change for the young people of Scotland."

The Tie campaign recently gained the official support of Scotland's 620,000 trade unionists at the Scottish Trade Union Congress's (STUC) annual conference in Dundee.

The Scottish Greens, Scottish Liberal Democrats and leftwing coalition Rise have all made manifesto pledges to institute LGBT+ specific teacher training.

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Picture courtesy Facebook