Staff, parents and pupils at two Oasis Academies in Southampton and Croydon are celebrating as they receive a bronze Stonewall School Champion status for inclusion.
Oasis Academy Lord’s Hill in Southampton, and Oasis Academy Ryelands in Croydon have both received the Bronze Stonewall School Status, the award gives greater recognition to schools tackling homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying and celebrating diversity.
Stonewall was founded in 1989 by a small group of people who opposed Section 28 of the Local Government Act, which Stonewall says was designed to prevent ‘the so-called promotion of homosexuality in schools’, and is well-known for its campaigning and lobbying.
Rob Forder, Principal at Oasis Academy Lord’s Hill, commented on the award saying; “Oasis is committed to equality and this award recognises our commitment and hard work to ensuring our Academy is inclusive of all. If we are not intentional about inclusion, then we will unintentionally exclude. I am delighted with this tremendous effort by staff and students to gain this award; it demonstrates our intent to tackle all forms of prejudice.”
The Stonewall Award is the second award that Oasis Academy Lord’s Hill has received this year having been presented with the prestigious EQualities Award in the summer. The Academy also hosted a city-wide Diana Award Anti-Bullying Conference earlier this term for 130 students and staff.
Glenn Lillo, Principal at Oasis Academy Ryelands, commented on the award saying; “As an academy we are committed to inclusivity and diversity, and will not tolerate bullying of any kind. The work we have done within the curriculum to promote equality has contributed to a culture of openness and trust between the pupils, parents and staff. We have displayed around the school a number of posters from Stonewall to celebrate diversity.
The introduction of staff LGBTQ+ ambassadors has helped the pupils and parents feel confident that there are designated people within the school that can support them with any concerns or issues surrounding equality. We have worked hard to ensure the culture of equality is part of our ethos and have achieved the BIG Award and Inclusion Quality Mark to demonstrate our commitment to this field.”
Both schools have had to action a number of points and provide evidence of these for them to receive the award, including; having relevant and up to date policies, show how they tackle bullying, the curriculum taught to students, community and celebration, and student support.
Stonewall Champion at Oasis Academy Lord’s Hill, Julie Myers added “One recent addition to our inclusion work has been the forming of a new LGBTQ+ group that meets during breaks and lunch. It is a popular group for students and provides a space for students to talk about any questions or worries they might have.”
Schools which take part in Stonewall’s Train the Trainer courses are automatically enrolled in the Stonewall School Champion programme.