South Shields children and teachers celebrate School Diversity Week
Students and staff in South Tyneside are mark School Diversity Week to take a stand against hatred and prejudice, and celebrate people of all identities.
The national campaign, which runs from June 20 to 26, celebrates LGBT+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans plus identities) equality in education.
At Mortimer Community College, a range of activities are being organised from a whole-school diversity quiz to an assembly focusing on the history and importance of the Pride movement.
Students will also have the opportunity to hear from guest speaker Smajo Beso, who survived genocide in Bosnia.
And Hayes Travel boss Irene Hays will speak to students on to help promite diversity in careers.
Joanne Thornton, deputy Headteacher (Quality of Education), said: “As a school we are committed to ensuring everyone feels included.
"Everyone is diverse, we are all unique. Mortimer wants to promote an environment that invites, encourages and supports those differences and guarantees an inclusive, diverse and safe environment to learn and grow.”
Mortimer Community College is working towards achieving the Rainbow Award which is a national quality assurance framework focusing on positive LGBT+ inclusion and visibility.
It is also part of the Department for Education’s Inclusion in Schools project which helps schools reduce the barriers to participation that young people face by creating an inclusive environment in which pupils can thrive.
Councillor Adam Ellison, Lead Member for Children, Young People and Families, said: “Growing up LGBT+ can be incredibly tough for some young people. Almost half experience bullying while a staggering 86% still hear homophobic remarks which can have a negative impact on their wellbeing and school attainment.
“I, therefore, applaud Mortimer Community College for the proactive work it is doing to eliminate prejudice and creating a school environment where everyone is free to be themselves without fear of reprisal.
“Everyone should be able to live as their authentic selves. Initiatives such as School Diversity Week and embedding these values of equality take us closer to achieving that.”
Councillor Ruth Berkley, Lead Member for the Voluntary Sector, Partnerships and Equalities, added: “It is vital that all our young people can be themselves and learn in an environment which is accepting and tolerant.”