Lesbian teacher Elly Barnes has been ‘Highly Commended’ at the annual awards ceremony held by the Times Educational Supplement.
The commendation came under the category of ‘Inspirational teacher of the year’ and is recognition of her commitment to educating students and staff about LGBT issues to eradicate homophobia in her school, Stoke Newington, North London. Her effective strategies proved so successful that she now shares the good practice with other teachers across the country through her teacher training programme ‘Educate and Celebrate – How to make their school LGBT friendly’. Barnes also is the national Schools Representative for SchoolsOUT, the organisation that campaigns to make schools safe places for staff and students to be out and proud.
Barnes said ‘In the current climate in schools, it is thrilling to know that equalities are being recognised by teaching professionals for their importance in educating our children’
Recent reports from OFSTED and Stonewall highlight continued homophobic abuse in schools, an issue that SchoolsOUT believe can be tackled with effective strategies that schools can easily use.
SchoolsOUT Media Officer and mathematics teacher Sue Caldwell said ‘recent reports have shown the disastrous consequences that can ensue when schools ignore these issues, and we hope that schools will take up training opportunities and use appropriate resources. You rightly wouldn’t expect any school nowadays to only use resources that show white people and ignore minority groups; equally it should not be acceptable for schools to ignore LGBT people and their families’.
Elly Barnes pictured second from right