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UK's first LGBT school revealed

Category: Industry News, bisexual, gay, transgender, lesbian

UK's first LGBT school revealed

Britain’s first school for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender pupils could soon open in Manchester, after a local charity won a £63,000 grant.

LGBT Youth North West will use feasibility funding from the Social Investment Business to take on a local community centre from Manchester City Council, with the site potentially being developed to include educational facilities.

Potential plans for the Joyce Layland LGBT Centre include an LGBT inclusive school, designed for LGBT young people struggling in mainstream education but also open to other children.

While plans are at a ‘very early consultation phase’, the charity said it would ‘explore’ setting up a school on the site if it is requested by young LGBT people.

However campaign group Stonewall said that it didn't think a separate school would be 'the answer' to bullying and harassment of LGBT student.

LGBT Youth North West currently trains over 10,000 pupils and teachers in mainstream schools every year to help make site safe for young people.

Amelia Lee, strategic director at LGBT Youth North West, said: ‘Going into 2015 we’ve got big plans for The Joyce Layland LGBT Centre, and this money will help us with the first step. It’s time to do some commonsense developments that will make us sound and stable as a social business, so that we can continue to serve and support young LGBT people and the wider community.’

A spokesperson for Manchester City Council confirmed said: ‘We supported LGBT Youth NW in their bid for funding to look at the feasibility of expanding their premises and developing the work they do.’

‘One of their development ambitions is around how they might make additional educational support available to LGBT young people. We’ve had an initial discussion with them about that but there are no current plans that we’re aware of to open a LGBT school in the city.’

Reacting to the news, chief executive of Stonewall, Ruth Hunt, said: 'We know that LGBT students still experience bullying and harassment. That needs to change. While we’re sympathetic to the aims and objectives of LGBT-only schools, we don’t see them as the answer.

'Our experience working with more than 12,000 schools across the country shows that it is possible to create safe and inclusive environments where all pupils can be themselves. This makes the learning environment better for all students – regardless of their sexual orientation – and is key to eradicating homophobia in every single school in Britain.'

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