Whakanuia te uenuku ki ia kura

Issue: Volume 101, Number 8

Posted: 30 June 2022
Reference #: 1HAUuK

Celebrating Pride in schools and supporting a sense of belonging for rainbow young people.

Kaiako Justin Lintern with students Lila, Madi, Georgee, Emma and Zoe

Kaiako Justin Lintern with students Lila, Madi, Georgee, Emma and Zoe

National Schools’ Pride Week is annually held in term 2 and is an opportunity to promote and celebrate a culture of inclusion amongst children and young people.

Created by InsideOUT Kōaro, the week supports schools to facilitate activities and pride celebrations in their school, through the sharing of resources and information and gives them opportunities to incorporate rainbow issues into NCEA standards and subjects and normalise rainbow identities across the curriculum.

Georgee, Sarah, Lachlan and Nathan.

Georgee, Sarah, Lachlan and Nathan.

In terms of The New Zealand Curriculum, activities connect to the inclusion and community engagement principles.

Inclusion means the curriculum is non-sexist, non-racist, and non-discriminatory; it ensures that students’ identities, languages, abilities, and talents are recognised and affirmed and that their learning needs are addressed. 

Community engagement means the curriculum has meaning for students, connects with their wider lives, and engages the support of their families, whānau, and communities.

Schools are encouraged to connect with their local rainbow community organisations to partner on events where possible. Young people organising Pride Week in their schools will have an opportunity to build on their leadership and event planning skills and feel the reward that comes with making a difference in their local community.

InsideOUT Kōaro says they had over 280 schools take part in School's Pride Week this year, including almost 50 percent of secondary schools.

Northcote Intermediate School

Northcote Intermediate celebrated New Zealand Schools Pride Week with flair and passion.

The theme of 'Inclusive-NIS' highlighted students' desire for their kura to be a safe place “to be who you are”.

Principal Phil Muir says, “We held lunchtime workshops throughout the week making badges and bag tassels to show support for our diverse community, held a rainbow non-uniform day, and enjoyed a visit and face painting with our local MP, Shanan Halbert.

“Our tamariki are now considering a legacy project that will form a permanent reminder that NIS is a rainbow of possibilities.”

Principal Phil Muir, MP for Northcote Shanan Halbert and assistant principal Ange Teague stand with Louis, Madi, Lachlan and Sarah.

Principal Phil Muir, MP for Northcote Shanan Halbert and assistant principal Ange Teague stand with Louis, Madi, Lachlan and Sarah.

Ao Tawhiti Unlimited Discovery

Be proud to be yourself display, with posters on important rainbow figures from InsideOut.

Be proud to be yourself display, with posters on important rainbow figures from InsideOut.

Students had a Q&A Session with Dr Elizabeth Kerekere and Jan Logie, talking about their experiences as members of the rainbow community.

Students had a Q&A Session with Dr Elizabeth Kerekere and Jan Logie, talking about their experiences as members of the rainbow community.

Pride Week at Ao Tawhiti Unlimited Discovery was jam-packed with a wide range of activities to celebrate rainbow young people, and the wider community.

The school started the week with rainbow face painting, followed by arts and crafts, a dance party, Pride Flags scavenger hunt, and a Q&A session with rainbow MPs Dr Elizabeth Kerekere and Jan Logie.

To round things off, they held the Ultimate Pride Week Quiz which tested the students’ general knowledge and New Zealand Pride Knowledge, thanks to questions from InsideOut.

Photo of two students with rainbow-painted hands.

Ao Tawhiti Unlimited Discovery Year 11 students Nicholas and Charlotte show their support for pride week.

Gisborne Girls’ High School

Wearing their pride; students at Gisborne Girls’ High School dressed in rainbow colours to mark pride week.

Wearing their pride; students at Gisborne Girls’ High School dressed in rainbow colours to mark pride week.

Gisborne Girls’ High School held a number of fun and exciting events to celebrate the pride of their LGBTQIA+ community at Tūranga Wāhine.

They kicked the week off by having a bake-off with students from across the entire school and then the following day, they had a bake sale, which is helping raise money to go towards a pride ball they are planning for later in the year. On the Wednesday, they had a ‘colours day’ to represent the colours of the rainbow, and to end the week, they ran a series of quizzes about the rainbow community.

One kaiako says it is awesome to see students celebrating the things that make them unique.

“Our Pride Week activities gave students opportunities to express their authentic selves, share their ideas and knowledge, and have fun together. It’s so important to allow students the time and energy to explore different ways of thinking, so that every student feels valued and that they belong.”

Students agree, with one Year 11 student saying, “The bravest thing you can be is yourself, seeing everyone happy with being who they are is the most beautiful quality of all.”

A Year 13 student says, “It’s so important to create space for queer people to come together and feel seen, it’s isolating enough in high school when you can’t join in all the heteronormative stereotypes surrounding the teen experience. Queer people deserve to feel their experiences are just as valid and fulfilling as everyone else.”

dressed rainbow colours

Bake sale

A bake sale helped students money to go towards a pride ball

Resources and support

The Ministry of Education has worked with InsideOUT Kōaro to produce resources to support schools in creating inclusive environments for their LGBTQIA+ young people. These resources include guides for staff who wish to set up or support a student-led diversity group, help for teachers in leaders in creating inclusive school policies and procedures for things like privacy, uniforms, and bathrooms, and information on how best to support transgender, non-binary, and intersex students.

Creating Rainbow-Inclusive School Policies and Procedures(external link) provides guidance and policy examples for school boards and staff to adapt to their unique school and learning environment. This document is the first of its kind in Aotearoa and provides valuable information on considering how rainbow students’ experiences are named and defined in governance and day-to-day operations.

Making Schools Safer(external link) is the second edition of InsideOUT’s resource first published in 2016. It provides up-to-date information for school staff on the key issues for trans, gender diverse and intersex young people at school, and offers practical advice on addressing areas of school life such as uniforms and facilities, curriculum and sports teams. This resource was co-written with Intersex Trust Aotearoa New Zealand.

Staff Supporting Rainbow Diversity Groups(external link) is a brand-new resource for staff who support, or would like to support, their school’s queer straight alliance or rainbow diversity group. These groups play an important role in many rainbow young people’s wellbeing. This resource offers comprehensive information on how to support your group at whatever stage they are at.

Further support

BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero, reporter@edgazette.govt.nz

Posted: 9:43 AM, 30 June 2022

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