Penicuik High School aiming for LGBT charter status
Penicuik High is aiming to be among the first schools in Midlothian to be awarded the LGBT charter from the charity, LGBT Youth Scotland.
The charter is a way of making sure schools proactively include LGBT people.
Progress pride flag
In honour of the school’s progress, Depute Provost and Equalities Champion Councillor Connor McManus gifted the school a progress pride flag, which is flying throughout February to commemorate LGBT+ history month.
Councillor McManus said: “It was an honour to present Penicuik High with the flag in recognition of the positive programme of work towards achieving the charter status and the ongoing support of LGBT young people at what can be a really challenging time in their lives.
Support at a difficult time
“Many LGBT young people say they feel isolated at school when they may be struggling with their identity.
“By working towards this accreditation, Penicuik High is helping create a more welcoming and supportive environment for all LGBTQ+ people to come into.
Taking a lead
“I’m hoping our secondary schools will follow Penicuik’s lead and that of Newbattle Community High School, which has achieved Silver status.”
Head teacher Craig Biddick said: “Many thanks to guidance and art teacher Suzy McLennan and Neil Smith the school librarian for helping us work towards this award.
“This achievement also wouldn’t be possible without the input of our pupils including Jay Stuart and Ellen Nimmo. The Working Group of students meet every Wednesday to discuss our journey to getting the LGBT+ charter.
Proud of our journey
“We are very proud to be the first school in Penicuik to be working towards this charter status and we are proud to be flying the progress pride flag.”
Changing for the better
Jay Stuart, a fifth year pupil who is one of the pupil champions at the school for LGBTQIA+ community, said: "Gaining the charter is a really positive and progressive move for the school. Things have changed a lot for the better during my time at the school and the charter is helping young people who are finding their identities."
In the picture
The front row (left to right) is Iona Rogers from LGBT Youth Scotland, pupil Ellen Nimmo, Depute Provost Connor McManus, Head Teacher Craig Biddick, pupil Jay Stuart and teacher Suzy McLennan. Flanked by pupils from the schools LGBTQIA+ group and the school captains at the back.