At Governors for Schools, we believe in providing everybody with the opportunity to help their local communities thrive, especially those who are underrepresented within the governance landscape.
According to data from the 2021 census, there are over 262,000 people identifying as transgender (trans) within the UK. We’re keen to encourage more trans people to become governors and boost our current placement stats, which showed around 1% of our placed volunteers identified as trans and/or gender non-conforming in 2022/3.
Importance of Trans Awareness Week for school governors
With Trans Awareness Week (13th – 19th November) taking place this week, now has never been a better time to consider how your board promotes trans inclusion both in board meetings and the wider school community, ensuring trans students’ needs are represented.
In our ‘Boards Against Bullying’ campaign, we discussed the importance of highlighting the ways governors can tackle bullying by driving strategic and cultural change in their schools. Data shows that 64% of trans young people are bullied for being LGBTQ+ at school or college while trans students were 17% more likely to report having a bad experience, with bullying attributed in many cases as the main reason.
Being aware of issues directly affecting trans pupils, such as making sure that they are referred to with their new name and correct pronouns and that they are able to present in a way that feels comfortable, among other needs, allows members of governing boards to have meaningful discussions about supporting transition and ensuring all students have equal and equitable experiences. For more information about how governors can support the wider LGBTQ+ community, take a look at our past article from Just Like Us.
Diversity on boards is vital, so we encourage school governing boards to appoint governors from a variety of backgrounds and lived experiences. Getting people with these lived experiences onto boards is an important step, but it’s crucial that we ensure boards retain volunteers. Our most recent campaign, Inclusive Governance, aims to support governors by providing resources to allow important conversations around inclusion to take place.
Our work with LGBTQ+ charity ‘Just Like Us’
As the Inclusive Governance campaign develops, we hope to expand our list of resources for inclusion aimed at the LGBTQ+ community, and as a first step, we’re proud to work alongside Just Like Us. On Thursday, 23 November at 12pm, we’ll join forces to host a webinar entitled ‘How can governors support LGBTQ+ inclusion in schools?’ to provide current and prospective governors with the opportunity to learn more about this vital topic.
Laura Mackay, Chief Executive of Just Like Us, the LGBT+ young people’s charity, said:
Governors play an absolutely vital role in shaping the culture of a school, and we must make sure that for all schools, that culture is LGBT+ inclusive. Unfortunately many LGBT+ pupils, and especially trans pupils, face difficulties at school, from anti-LGBT+ bullying to a lack of representation and inclusion. However, we know that positive experiences at school result in hugely positive outcomes for LGBT+ young people which last into adulthood. To make this a reality for as many young people as possible, we need governors that are aware of the issues LGBT+ pupils are facing, as well as LGBT+ representation on boards.
If you’re feeling inspired to support younger generations, we encourage you to apply to become a school governor – especially if you identify as LGBTQ+. Our friendly team is here to respond quickly and guide you through the matching process. We also encourage current and prospective governors to learn more about LGBTQ+ inclusion in schools at our upcoming webinar with Just Like Us.