For many LGBT+ young people, school can be a place of growth—a “home away from home”—or an environment just as bad as the alternatives. In a series of consultations, young LGBT+ people said that teachers and other staff who understand LGBT+ students could create more accepting environments and help prevent mental health issues.
We want to understand what training is already available to school staff about LGBT+ students. This includes whether training considers other aspects of social identity, focusing on race, ethnicity and religious/faith communities. We will compare this with what students and staff say is important. We also aim to improve understanding about what makes it easier or more difficult for schools to access training.
To do this we will describe existing training and how it may be relevant for LGBT+ mental health. We will ask people delivering training what barriers they think schools face in taking it up. Next, young researchers will lead group discussions with pupils (aged 13-19 years) to learn what they think is important for school staff to know. Based on this, we will choose staff to include in further young person-led discussions about the training needs they think are important.
Last, we will hold two creative workshops co-led by young researchers. The first will include pupils aged 13-19 years (school Years 9-12). Based on what students and teachers thought were important in relation to mental health, we will identify potential improvements to existing training for school staff.
The second workshop will include school staff, people who run teacher training courses and who offer training to schools about LGBT+ issues. We will visually show what things influence whether schools take up training to support LGBT+ students and together design ways to increase training uptake by schools.
We will share findings with current training providers and teacher training organisations to start a conversation about how things might be improved. We will also use them as a basis for a larger project to test out improvements to existing training in different settings, as well as ways to encourage training uptake.
Young LGBT+ people have been central to designing this project and will be supported to be involved in all aspects of it.