Originally blogged at School Revision on 20 June 2016.
Shortly before 80 UK schools announced they had rewritten their uniform policies to include gender neutral dress codes, we held an exciting event. Contributing to the need to make schools more open to children who are questioning their gender identity, School Revision: Trans Inclusion in Education was a day-long event that began to imagine what school life for young, trans people could look like in the future. Taking place in Lark Hall primary school in Stockwell, south London on Saturday 11th of June, the event was planned around the daily life and school timetable of gender variant school pupils. It was a collaborative, voluntary event organised by grassroots voluntary organisation Wipe Out Transphobia, not-for-profit Community Interest Company Gendered Intelligence, former teacher now campaigner Juno Roche and non-profit project All About Trans. Read more about why we ran this event.
— Bridget Chapman (@BridgeeCee) June 11, 2016
On the day
The space held 65 delegates in total including 14 speakers or lesson leaders. Delegates included educators (primary, special needs, Montessori, secondary, further education), legal professionals, activists, trainers, support workers, young trans people, LGBTQ+ organisations, teacher’s trade unions and local authorities. ‘Trans people’ is used to mean the broad spectrum of people who feel they are gender variant in some way, including but not limited to transsexual, transgender, non-binary and gender queer people.
“Excellent networking opportunity – some really useful connections. Very positive, a lovely welcoming, friendly atmosphere. Raised my awareness of trans young people…the young people’s insights were insightful, intelligent and considered.” Helen Morton, Paul Hamlyn Foundation
At Morning Assembly, Dr Jay Stewart co-founder of Gendered Intelligence (GI), and a co-organiser, kicked off the event, established the participant agreement and ran through housekeeping. He was interrupted by four young GI members who presented their school of the future through a Dr Who Timelord theme. Sharing their personal experiences in school in 2016, they jumped to the future and set their School Ethos for the day, thus creating an inclusive, positive and participatory atmosphere. Bridget Chapman, keynote speaker of the day and Assistant Branch Secretary of Lambeth National Union of Teachers officially opened the event. Her opening speech is on her blog and our website.
“Was really interesting finding ways of improving education and well-being of trans students. Was so inspiring and empowering being in a room full of people wanting to make a difference for the best. Really want to help others make a difference now.” Young delegate
The day was broken down into three periods, with 3 lessons in each period. These followed Morning Assembly and included Biology, PE (2 lessons), Design and Technology, Media Studies, Literature, Drama and two workshops on supporting schools to be trans inclusive. Over 40 people attended each workshop and the lessons held on average 14 at a time, enabling exercises and group discussions. They took place in the classrooms and playground, whilst the larger groups gathered in the main hall where lunch and networking also happened. We tweeted throughout the day using the hashtag #TransPupilsAspire.
Had a soul-enriching day at School Revision #TransPupilsAspire where I have been part of fantastic discussions ready to change the world! <3
— MinkOwl (@axiomaticalice) June 11, 2016
“Hearing first hand accounts of experiences of trans people and what can help to feel accepted & improve wellbeing [was very useful]. Lots of ideas to take back into school.” Hannah Stainer, Farleigh FE College
At the end of the day, the Drama group presented several short plays created earlier, including “I Am…”, where a large group of people of all backgrounds presented their identities around the room. These were met with a wonderful reception.
Key Outcomes and ‘Homework’
A voluntary group of three scribes spent the day gathering observations, ideas and action points from each lesson which they then presented as key findings at the end of the day. This homework for all delegates to take away with them included:
- The importance of having adult role models in every school supporting gender variant pupils.
- Provide learning materials and classroom activities where trans pupils can see themselves represented.
- Challenge stereotypes and gendered assumptions and lobby for syllabus change.
- Make more space for gender neutrality in the school but ensure gender questioning pupils don’t feel exposed and aren’t outed without consent.
- Respect individuals and use correct pronouns.
- Make no assumptions about the pupils in your school. When in doubt ask.
- Put policies and procedures in place. Inclusivity should be an essential part of teacher training.
An open floor discussion followed, chaired by co-organiser and campaigner Juno Roche, with co-organiser Kate Hutchinson from Wipe Out Transphobia and Dr Jay Stewart. Delegates offered comments, insights and key learning from the day. Bridget Chapman closed the day with her final insights – audio recording available here.
Note to everyone: “don’t assume there are no trans or non binary students in your school.” #TransPupilsAspire
— Krishna Istha (@MXgenderslayer) June 11, 2016
— Hannah (@hannzii) June 11, 2016