Pupils create own LGBT lessons at Dagenham school

Jo Richardson students Sueda Oktay, Abigail Hall and Reggie Ryan

Jo Richardson students Sueda Oktay, Abigail Hall and Reggie Ryan - Credit: Archant

A trio of pupils will teach the rest of their school about gender and sexuality issues this month having devised lesson plans across the curriculum.

Coinciding with national LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) month, Jo Richardson students Abigail Hall, Sueda Oktay and Reggie Ryan – all 15 – have been busy teaching the teachers, who will deliver the lessons.

After approaching headteacher Ges Smith with their suggestion of rolling out LGBT lessons across a range of subjects, pupils will now study the works of LGBT writers in English and learn about prominent figures of the past in history including wartime code-cracker Alan Turing – subject of The Imitation Game.

“It’s great to come up with something that will hopefully change people’s perceptions positively,” said Abigail, who was invited to speak at Stonewall’s Education For All conference in July.

“The important thing is to create equality within the school and local community and to make people realise that not everyone is the same and raise awareness of important issues.

“Through education hopefully we can break down any barriers.”

The group launched their own LGBTQ+ club last year open for anyone, regardless of sexuality or gender to come together and have fun, while discussing important issues and educating each other.

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And drama teacher Michalea Boller was delighted by thier efforts.

“We are a really inclusive school and that’s one of the reasons our students feel safe,” she said. “Safe to be out and safe to express themselves.”