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Pride in Moray visits Forres Academy to hear how pupils and staff embrace equality and welcome the LGBTQ+ community

By Garry McCartney

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Staff talked about the school's LGBTQ+ efforts.
Staff talked about the school's LGBTQ+ efforts.

REPRESENTATIVES of a regional diversity campaign visited a local school to talk about equality.

Following the Pride in Moray event at Grant Park on September 2, organiser and chairman David Harrison told the Gazette he was disappointed with lack of attendance from local schools including Forres Academy where "an inspector's report highlighted diversity and equality issues".

Head teacher Jan Sinclair subsequently invited him in to speak with pupils and staff.

She said: "Our young people enjoyed the visit. It has inspired them to raise the profile of LGBT+ within the school as they aim towards LGBT+ Youth Scotland Chartered Status.

"If anyone wants to sponsor us, they can contact our pupil support worker Emma for more information."

Pupils talking to the Pride in Moray representatives about the schools efforts to promote diversity.
Pupils talking to the Pride in Moray representatives about the schools efforts to promote diversity.

Academy students presented LGBTQ+ work they have carried out. They also spoke about fundraising events they have completed to raise funds for future projects and activities, as well as information sessions they provide for other students in the school.

Teachers talked about what the school had planned and support groups they have on a regular basis. They also provided details of the support they provide for LGBTQ+ students, including using preferred pronouns and providing gender neutral toilets.

Forres Academy has a display board near the pupil entrance which Pride of Forres Academy (POFA) change throughout the year and staff chaperoned young attendees at the first Pride event in Elgin.

POFA captains added: "Acceptance and shared awareness is visible throughout the school and there is extra support for anyone struggling with gender identity."

Helen Johnston and David Harrison appreciating the presentations.
Helen Johnston and David Harrison appreciating the presentations.

Mr Harrison said: "It was great to hear how much school has advanced in these areas compared to when I was in secondary school when Section 28 was very much in effect, prohibiting the promotion of homosexuality by local authorities!

"We were received with great enthusiasm and we very much look forward to working with Forres Academy on future projects."

Mrs Sinclair was proud to see different groups of pupils showcasing what they are focusing on.

She said: "It was really positive to see how much our pupils want to be part of the driving force towards equality for all and celebrating diversity.

"They feel safe and proud of who they are and feel included by staff."

Pride in Moray aims to work with more schools in the region. Anyone who would appreciate the group attending to speak about LGBTQ+ issues is asked to email pridemoray@gmail.com.

Pride in Moray's Queer Christmas Market is on Saturday December 9 from 2-5pm in Forres Town Hall.

Mr Harrison finished: "We will have plenty of stalls, charities in attendance and of course Moray the Dolphin!

"Forres Academy will also be there so if you would like to hear about more of their amazing work please come down."

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