This should have been published last summer. It never was, because lifehappened – results, uni, and doing lots of weird and wonderful and new and busy things. I initially wanted to wait until I had time to review my work before I posted it publicly.
But I’ve decided not to proofread or edit this dissertation again. When I handed it in – and learned months later I’d been graded a rare 100% – I was bloody proud of it! If it made me proud, and others thought it was good, I’m going to leave it as it is. Even though a lot of progress has been made on the topical issue I researched, I think my dissertation serves as an important message about the specific time it was written in.
This was produced for my EPQ project during sixth form. I could research anything I wanted, so I decided to write about education itself. Specifically, about LGBT-inclusive learning.
By the age of seventeen I had become hyper-aware of the lack of LGBT identities in the classroom. We didn’t exist on the history timeline, in the English books we read, or in PSHE/sex education. That’s damaging for LGBT kids – more damaging than anyone else can imagine.
I researched several subjects studied in secondary schools – History, English Lit, Science and PSHE. I looked mainly at how current exam specifications / reform is negatively impacting the potential for equality and inclusion on the curriculum. The second half of the dissertation explores the positive and negative impacts of government policy, Ofsted, and several charities.
Since I submitted my dissertation, this topic has reshaped a lot. I learned about even more charities doing wonderful things to improve inclusive learning. There have also been landmark change, such as breakthrough announcement that Scotland would be the first country in the world to embed LGBTI issues in the national curriculum. This was a triumph for the TIE Campaign which fought effortlessly at the same time as I was conducting research.
But even though a lot has changed, there’s still work to do. I thought I was alone in researching this but I’ve discovered so many people – plenty of them students like myself – fighting for change. I sent this dissertation to a list of key activists and educators in the summer, but I want it to be open and accessible. Here, on my blog, it can hopefully be reached by anyone who needs it.
I hope it’s read by even more teachers and people working in the field. And most importantly, I hope more students read it, and that it inspires them to do something.
If you know of a charity/organisation/group/academic that’s also fighting for LGBT-inclusive learning, let me know! Later this month I want to add a resource list here, so readers can explore other people’s research and projects.