Kirkcaldy High School has become only the second state school in Scotland to be awarded the LGBT “Gold” Charter by LGBT Youth Scotland.
The programme has been developed to support businesses and organisations, including schools, to undertake training and to review policies, practice and resources to make sure that they are as inclusive as they can be.
The LGBT Charter sends out a message that Kirkcaldy High is a champion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender inclusion, where staff and learners will be safe, supported and included.
The Charter also makes a clear statement that equality and diversity are at the heart of any establishment, business or school.
KHS rector Derek Allan said that he was immensely proud of the school’s achievements in creating a safe and fair environment for all, regardless of identity or sexual orientation.
“We are the kind of school where it’s not just acceptable to be yourself, we actively celebrate diversity and encourage all our staff and students to think freely…as long as our values of respect for self, others and learning are upheld,” he explained.
“We have effectively tackled homophobia and discrimination at KHS and we still have some work to do, but I am proud that we are recognised as being a bit of a beacon for equality and fairness.”
Mr Allan also stressed the important role played by Dr Paul Murray, the teacher link to the student-led steering group.
Chemistry teacher Dr Murray said: “It’s so impressive to see how far we have come since the dark days of “Section 28”.
“It’s amazing that schools like KHS are managing to shed that legacy and become places where all pupils and staff can be welcomed, supported, and celebrated.”
Cara Spence, who oversees LGBTYS national programmes, said the award highlights the fact that 99% of staff are now trained in LGBT awareness so pupils and staff can get the support they need, when they need it most.
The school also has an anti-bullying policy which considers the needs of all equalities groups and has delivered innovative and inclusive lessons.
“This is a school that truly believes in equality for all,” Ms Spence added.
Much of the work towards the charter has been led by students, and John Hamilton, 17, is the current chair of the steering group.
John said that he was so proud of the impact the group had had and saw the charter as the best possible “parting gift” as he leaves school at the end of May.
“My time at KHS has been nothing but amazing and I am grateful that the LGBT+ group is in more than capable hands going forward,” he said.
Meanwhile, group chair elect, Finley Tracey, 16, said she has been inspired by such a great group of friends and proud to be part of a school like KHS.
“I can’t wait for the future of the group and am grateful that I am to be the chair person for the next year” she concluded.