Why is the partnership with George at ASDA important to the organisation?
We built our relationship together with George at ASDA over two years because we believe they share deeply in our values for inclusion and embracing difference. George at Asda is one of the largest kids wear clothing brands in the UK meaning we’re able to raise awareness of our work within the parent demographic and with our beneficiaries directly. Like us Asda share a vision for a more diverse and inclusive society and believe in the importance of education to create more inclusive and supportive communities.
What are you going to do with the donation?
DRM are committed to reaching the most students in primary and secondary schools and colleges. The generous donation of £100,000 from Asda will be invested internally to strengthen DRM and enable us to increase our reach and deliver more workshops in more schools. The 2019/20 school year was projected to be DRM’s biggest year prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and the closure of schools. We are preparing for the 2020/21 school year and the donation will support our growth and build empathy in more young people.
What safeguarding measures are in place?
Safeguarding children and young people is of the highest importance to our organisation. As such, all staff members, trustees and volunteers have undergone Safeguarding training relevant to their role at the charity and where relevant, staff, trustees and volunteers will undergo DBS checks at the appropriate level. The charity has robust safeguarding policies and practices that are regularly updated to ensure they are aligned to statutory guidance and best practices. The policy was last updated in February 2020. Materials are regularly reviewed to ensure their suitability for use in the classroom, taking on board feedback from teachers and education experts and ensuring they are aligned with our safeguarding policies, statutory guidance and safeguarding best practice. Teachers are also encouraged to personally review any materials to ensure they are aligned with the school’s policies and best practice in relation to safeguarding young people.
What are your workshops about?
Diversity Role Models have over nine years’ experience delivering workshops to young people in education settings and have delivered workshops to over 100,000 young people to date. Our lessons involve our volunteer LGBT+ or ally role models sharing their personal stories in the classroom alongside a trained facilitator. Through storytelling, discussion and interactive activities students explore the importance of recognising and celebrating our differences and challenging prejudice and discrimination.
In primary schools we focus on understanding that families in school and the wider world may look different but are all characterised by love and are deserving of respect. In secondary schools we explore the impact of homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying and language, stereotypes around gender and sexuality and how to create a more inclusive school environment.
How are materials selected for use in your workshops, online learning packs and other materials?
Our highly experienced and trained Education Team design our workshops and resources using age-appropriate, interactive and impactful materials. All of our materials are regularly reviewed by the Education Team and a member of the Safeguarding Team. Teachers are also encouraged to review any materials they use in the classroom to ensure they are suitable for their students and aligned with their school’s policies and practices. Our workshops are regularly evaluated by teachers who observe the sessions and are consistently praised for their content, delivery and impact with 99% of teachers who saw our sessions in 2018-19 stating the workshops will have a positive impact on students. We have an Education Steering Group, comprised of teachers and educational experts, and a Student Voice Group, comprised of young people, who regularly input into the development and review of our workshops, materials and resources.
What has sex education got to do with DRM?
Our work enhances the teaching of the new Relationships and Sex Education curriculum in England. However, all of our workshops for young people fall under relationships education areas of learning, with students exploring different identities, prejudice-based bullying and language, different families and stereotypes. We do not cover sexual health or sex education within our sessions or materials and this is communicated clearly to all staff and volunteers during their training.
Why is DRM needed if PSHE is taught in schools?
The government’s new Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) and Health Education statutory guidance notes that “working with external organisations can enhance delivery of these subjects, bringing in specialist knowledge and different ways of engaging with young people.” A recent survey found that over two third of teachers had received no recent training on LGBT+ issues. Given that many teachers lack the confidence or specialist knowledge of sexual orientation and gender identity, charities like DRM play an important role in ensuring students are “taught the facts and the law about…sexuality…and gender identity in an age-appropriate and inclusive way” as per the statutory guidance. In the academic year 2018-19 99% of teachers who saw our workshops stated that the workshop had a positive impact on their students. The National Association of Head Teachers President Ruth Davies, when announcing Diversity Role Models’ selection as the association’s charity partner, noted that as a school leader she has “witnessed first- hand the impact its work has had in breaking down barriers caused by prejudice, ignorance and misinformation.” Our work in schools compliments the work teachers are already doing to tackle prejudice based-bullying and supports the delivery of high quality PSHE education.
What is the purpose of Diversity Role Models?
Diversity Role Models actively seeks to embed inclusion and empathy in the next generation. We were founded by a teacher at a North London school who saw that schools needed support in tackling prejudice-based bullying and language and creating more LGBT+ inclusive learning environments.
Our vision is a world where everyone embraces diversity and can thrive. This will help create a world where future generations embrace, accept and support difference. Our mission is to foster an LGBT+ inclusive environment where students are empowered to embrace difference and end bullying.
We create safe spaces where young people can explore difference and consider their role in creating a world where we all feel accepted. Our student workshops feature LGBT+ or ally role models who speak openly about their lived experiences, building young people's empathy so they can understand the (often unintended) impact of their language and actions. In order to ensure sustained change we supplement this by training school governors, staff, and parents/carers.