What is Out in Education?
Out in Education is a not-for-profit that delivers workshops, lessons and assemblies about homophobia and what it means to be lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender to primary and secondary schools across the UK. We have three aims: to tackle homophobia/transphobia at primary and secondary schools, to support young LGBT+ people coming to terms with their sexuality and also to train teachers on how to organically bring LGBT+ issues into the classroom.
We deliver workshops to pupils from KS1 to KS5 concerning a range of topics including: stereotypes, cyber-bullying, different families, healthy relationships and sexual health. We also help schools create effective pupil-led anti-bullying policies. We have worked with local education authorities and been into over 50 schools in the UK. The positive impact that Out in Education has on pupils at schools we go into can be seen through Ofsted reports, schools that have displayed pupils’ anti-bullying policies at their school and our continued visits to schools in the area.
Who we are
All of our volunteers are LGBT+ university students who have recently come through the education system and thus can relate to homophobic bullying and coming out at school. Our volunteers study a diverse range of subjects (physics, counselling, nutrition, economics, sociology…) and are all keen to share their own stories and experiences in a positive light. Our aim in every session is to be the person who we needed when we were younger, providing a voice of acceptance and validation for every pupil. We were founded at The University of Nottingham by Lucy Wake in 2013, and are sustained by new waves of enthusiastic student volunteers carrying on our legacy each year in our Nottingham and Loughborough branches.
Why we do it
This quote from Stonewall’s ‘The Teacher Report’ (2014) emphasises the need for positive LGBT+ education in schools:
“Nine in ten teachers in secondary schools and seven in ten teachers in primary schools hear pupils use expressions like ‘that’s so gay’ or ‘you’re so gay’. More than half of primary school teachers have not addressed different families in the
classroom, and a third of secondary school teachers say they have not addressed issues of sexual orientation.”
We firmly believe that acceptance starts with better education – by destigmatising words like ‘gay’ in the classroom, we are able to organically bring LGBT+ concepts into the classroom and get the conversation about different identities in motion. We have seen from our visits that this benefits not only LGBT+ pupils, but every single pupil in the classroom.
At the end of the day, a lot of our volunteers felt like they couldn’t be themselves as they went through the education system, since the curriculum does not make LGBT+ education compulsory. We don’t want any more pupils to suffer in silence, and so we are there to provide a voice for them and for their peers.
“[Students] have worked with [Out in Education] to run workshops for the entire student body. Consequently, those students who spoke to inspectors were very well-informed about what constituted homophobic bullying and understood it to be unacceptable.”
– The Dukeries Academy Ofsted Report, 2014.
“It has been an absolute pleasure working with Lucy Wake and the Out In Education team. Lucy’s enthusiasm is infectious and her commitment inspiring. She was a real hit at our conferences this year and I think delegates learned a lot from what she shared. She is also entirely reliable and personifies the meaning of the words “positive collaboration”. I would wholeheartedly recommend Lucy and the project to anyone considering working with them or funding them. The work is so desperately needed.”
– Sarah Lee, Achievement and Equality Manager, Nottingham County Council.
– Feedback from Year 10 students following workshops on ‘Different Identities’ and ‘Healthy Relationships and Sexual Health’, June 2016.
– Nottinghamshire’ s Rainbow Heritage Awards Ceremony, 28th February 2017. Accepting an award recognising our work in helping to combat homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in schools.
Bryony Harper, Co-Project Leader
Bryony studies Humanistic Counselling Practice at the University of Nottingham. She grew up in Nottinghamshire and has been involved with Out in Education since 2013. She has visited dozens of schools as well as represented Out in Education at numerous events including delivering workshops at Hate-Crime Conferences.
Andrew Coe, Co-Project Leader
Andrew is a fourth year student originally from Hertfordshire studying for a Masters in Physics. After discovering Out in Education in his second year at The University of Nottingham, Andrew has been keen to help people understand what it means to fall under the LGBT+ spectrum and to provide a voice of acceptance that he wishes had been there during his years in school. As well as regularly visiting schools and overseeing the committee, he also manages Out in Education’s social media and web platforms.
Katrin Dallimore, Treasurer
Katrin is a second year Economics student at the University of Nottingham and oversees Out in Education’s finances. In volunteering with Out in Education, she hopes she can provide a discussion of what it is to be LGBT that was sorely missing from her time at school, and plant the seed for an environment where young people can embrace their gender and sexual identities without fear of being bullied.
Kelly Emma Waldorf, Outreach & Liaison Officer
Kelly Emma is in her third year at the University of Nottingham studying Criminology and Sociology. She first became a volunteer for Out in Education in 2014, and has recently taken up a position on our committee to help educate younger generations and promote diversity and acceptance in schools. With aspirations to go into teaching when she graduates, her role networking with schools and youth groups and arranging our visits is something she is passionate about doing well.
Michele Lucherini, Outreach & Liaison Officer
Michele is a second year Theology and Religious Studies student. He discovered OiE during his first year at university and has now joined the position of Outreach and Liaison Officer. In this role he hopes to further the collaboration between OiE and local institutions and faith schools in particular. He is also passionate about challenging the apparent dichotomy existing between the spheres of religion and sexuality.
Poppy Tait, Outreach & Liaison Officer
Poppy is a fourth year student studying languages at the University of Nottingham. As of 2016 she is a new member of the committee, and believes that the best way to tackle homophobia is through education so that the younger generation can pave the way for a more inclusive society. As Outreach and Liaison Officer she aims to expand the network of institutions that OiE works with so that as many people as possible can benefit from the work of the organisation.
Chris Smith, Social Media Officer
Chris is a second year English and Creative Writing student at The University of Nottingham. He is delighted to be the new Social Media Rep for this year at Out in Education, and looks forward to meeting everyone and helping to spread awareness of the beautiful LGBT+ umbrella that he’s happy to be a part of! Chris is also on the UoN LGBT+ Network committee as a Welfare officer, and hopes to bring that experience to use with OiE.
Ben Dolton, OiE Representative
Ben is a third year Nutrition and Food Science student at The University of Nottingham. He is an Out in Education representative on the committee, and represents the organisation at public events, as well as sharing some social media responsibilities. Ben is passionate about social justice issues, and believes that the best way to tackle homophobia and transphobia in young people is by increasing the level of education about LGBT+ issues in schools. He hopes that this will make the next generation more inclusive and accepting, and will allow young LGBT+ students to see that they aren’t alone.
Elisha Marie, OiE Representative
Elisha is a second year student at the University of Nottingham studying American Studies and English. This is her first year with Out in Education and she is very proud to be a representative on the committee. Elisha hopes to make a difference by educating youth on LGBTQIA+ issues and challenging the dominant heteronormative ideology that can be so damaging. As a representative, she hopes to spread awareness about the work we do, allowing this crucial education to be realised as a necessity for future acceptance an inclusivity.
Jack Doughty, OiE Representative
Jack is a fourth year languages student at the University of Nottingham. He joined OiE in his second year and is looking forward to getting involved again after a year out. Jack believes that students are much better at tackling homophobia, transphobia and biphobia than teachers as pupils are more receptive to people of a similar age.