Welcome and thank you for being so kind as to pay a visit to my site.

The journey to this website began one day in May 1987, aged 17 when I walked out of state education with the full intention of taking my own life. Having known I was gay from an early age, years of 'drip feed' homophobic messages and bullying from some of those closest to me, some of the media, some of my peers, some of my teachers, some politicians and some faith leaders all contributed to me forming the conclusion that my very presence on planet Earth was unwanted, bogus, irrelevant and perhaps even evil. Sitting on the side of a bath tub that day with a rusted razor blade and a Martini bottle a chorus of internalised messages and voices urged me to end my life. Yet amongst the multitude of voices came a whisper of hope, a fleeting thought that if I made a choice to stay on this beautiful planet, perhaps one day there would come a time when people such as me, born more attracted to those of the same sex than the opposite, would find a time and place where we truly and authentically belonged.

So I made a choice to try and fight on, yet tragically many young people around the world are not so fortunate in finding this glimmer of hope.

By 2009, I was working as a school leader in a very inclusive inner city London school. In November that year, the school undertook pupil questionnaires around bullying and prejudicial language. Questionnaires also went to teachers, asking them questions about their own confidence in preventing bullying.

The resulting data delivered a shocking message; 75% of pupils in and around the school were experiencing direct homophobic bullying and language on a daily basis. The same number were also hearing the word 'gay' used to describe something or somebody as rubbish, uncool and without worth. 0% of staff felt they had been given training to prevent and tackle this. At this point sexual orientation was not included in the UK Equality Act (as it is now) nor were Her Majesty's schools inspectorate OFSTED actively seeking out good practice in these areas as they would by 2013. I tried to place this pupil data within the context of racism and urged staff to consider how the school would act upon similar data for racist bullying; we would not hesitate to act upon it in our assemblies, teaching and learning and our use of role models. Surely then for bullying related to sexual orientation we owed it to our children to adopt the same urgent response to homophobia or risk putting young lives at risk?

Over Christmas 2010 I wrote the Inclusion for All (IFA) teacher training program using my experiences as a bullying survivor, as a class-teacher, as a part-time education consultant, as a school leader and as a concerned human being who wants the best for all, not merely some of our school children. It was apparent from our pupil data that bullying related to sexual orientation could be targeted at anyone, whether LGBT+ or not; it was also clear that these kind of bullying behaviours could also harm anyone with LGBT+ friends and family. IFA emerged after 15 years of me working in U.K. schools, during which time I had witnessed school leaders, staff and governors unable or unwilling to pro-actively tackle LGBT+ bullying. Most schools simply lacked the relevant training and in primary schools there was a palpable sense that children were somehow 'too young' to know about LGBT+ people. In 15 years in UK schools I had witnessed first hand some school leaders and teachers ignoring homophobic bullying and condoning homophobic, biphobic and transphobic language by using it themselves. I saw some gay teachers living in fear of being 'outed' living inauthentic lives and I saw some brave 'out' LGBT+ teachers being openly bullied by parents, pupils and even their colleagues with no managerial support.

I will never accept the view that political, personal or theological beliefs should enable discrimination towards children and young people of any identity. Article 2 of the UN Convention of Human Rights of the child states that the convention applies to children 'without discrimination' whilst Article 28 states that all children and young people have a 'right to an education'. Article 30 states that children of minorities have a right to learn and use the customs and identity of their own family, this means that LGBT+children and those with LGBT+ families have a right to be included, authentic, represented in our schools. Preventing LGBT+ bullying is not about promotion, instead it is education and information about the rich diversity of human existence. LGBT+ people exist and they are a fact of life.

The UK Equality Act 2010 provides a legal requirement for all schools (including those of faith) to tackle all forms of bullying, including bullying related to sexual orientation and gender identity. There is also an expectation for schools to pro-actively promote and foster good relations between those in our school communities that fall under the nine protected equality act characteristics - including sexual orientation and gender identity. It is important to note that under the current OFSTED criteria, schools are expected to show how they are fostering good relations and pro-actively tackling all forms of bullying, including homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying.

After IFA had very positive impact in my own school on all types of prejudice related bullying it made sense for me to start offering IFA out to other schools (on a not for profit basis) and to other interested organisations. The first schools to accept IFA were a special school and a pupil referral unit in Southwark. Very quickly the National College, Stonewall and the Department For Education wanted to know more about IFA's ground-breaking vision (especially in primary schools) and I was invited to speak at national workshops and conferences. Press interest was positive and rapid, articles about IFA's work in primary and secondary schools soon appeared in a variety of national newspapers and education journals. I began to deliver training across the rest of the UK, in the form of workshops, twilights, one day regional 'pop up conferences' in addition to running three IFA teacher ,training days in my own school involving pupils and other staff members to share good practice. This work was awarded the Southwark Good Practice Award in 2013 and I was voted one of the '101 most influential LGBT figures in the UK' by readers of the Independent on Sunday in 2012 and 2013. Soon I found myself appearing on national and children's television, on the radio and writing and blogging for the national press including The Guardian, The Huffington Post and Gay Star News. In the absence of profit or formal funding I used You Tube, blogging and free social media to try and facilitate political and educative change and change in wider communities. I was surprised to find my work increasing reported around the world and many private messages seeking help via this very website taught me that with very limited funds, any human being can make a difference, however small that might be. In 2012 my story and IFA work informed the production of the play 'Hero' by EV Crowe at the Royal Court Theatre In London. In 2014 I delivered training to delegates from the House of Commons and in the years following I was twice been invited to speak at Education Committees.Since 2013 I have supported the Amnesty UK teachers program in preventing LGBT+ bullying. In 2015 this website was recommended in the Church of England's anti LGBT bullying resource; I was invited to launch this alongside the Archbishop of Canterbury on national television In 2015 I was 'Highly Commended' at the National Excellence In Diversity Awards. As of Spring 2016 I have trained over 7,800 UK teachers alone and told my story to around 6,000 students in UK schools. In addition I have now worked with all of the main teaching unions, teacher training providers, national anti-bullying organisations, child protection organisations such as the NSPCC in addition to providing training for non educational organisations such as banks, police and NHS. I also speak at LGBT+ Pride events across the UK and increasingly abroad.

IFA is not a full time occupation, nor it is actually my job-I am currently a full time Deputy Headteacher of a primary (elementary) school in London, England. I am blessed with a Headteacher Stuart Hayter and a board of school governors who currently share and inform my vision. Some of my work takes place during my working week in the form of release time; much of it takes place at evenings, school holidays and weekends. IFA is mostly funded from my own pocket, money for events during school hours are used to back-fill my role; paid work undertaken outside of the school day is not undertaken for profit but is used to promote IFA and to maintain an online presence.

Finally I just want to share with you one more thing; since I first put my head above the parapet back in 2009 on these issues, so many of you have taken the time to write to me, Tweet, email or speak to me at conferences or even in the shop or restaurant to share your own experiences of being bullied or your own concerns. Where time allows I endeavour to reply to as many as I can in person. I want you to know that each story touches me and makes me even more determined to make a difference, not just for the sake of children and young people in schools now but also for generations of children and young people yet to come.The timeframe of the stories you have kindly shared with me over the past four years stretches out from the early 1900s to the present day; horrific, heart-breaking stories of bullying, self-harm, suicide and so many lives young and old blighted in passage through our education systems whilst governments and schools failed to act.

In 1968 I was born as an optimistic, happy and loving gay child onto this beautiful planet but years of homophobic bullying and the homophobic messages I internalised from my peers, adults, the media and some politicians and some people of faith made me hate myself, cut myself and want to end my life. I hold no anger, no judgement, but I want to try to ensure in my own small way and with my limited means that no child suffers in this way again in our schools. If this sounds like you now, please reach out for help and I beg of you, do not lose hope-there can and will be a better place for you and I want you there to see it.

Thank you for your interest and your support; feel free to join me on Twitter @ShaunDellenty and my blog can be found at http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/shaun-dellenty/

If would like to offer support, to donate or to volunteer for IFA please get in touch shaun@inclusionforall.co.uk

Be kind, be safe, be authentic, be proud, be you. Keep hopeful.

Love and respect - Shaun Dellenty Spring 2016

A personal greeting from Shaun

One of the key features of this site is the Inclusion For All Videocast library. These are short video interviews with members of school staff. Alfred Salter Primary School is currently represented and in time staff from a variety of educational contexts will appear. In posting these unrehearsed, candid chats, I hope that parents, school staff and managers will see a variety of people talking about the work that has been done to tackle homophobia in schools and the wider impact it can have.

Interviews are being conducted regularly, so please do keep checking back.

A brief introduction to Inclusion For All

To put it simply, Inclusion for All is an umbrella term for a series of strategies (developed and piloted by myself and serving teachers) that can be used to tackle gender stereotyping, LGBTQI stereotyping, homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying and related derogatory language. IFA has also pioneered work on tackling the endemic use of the word gay as a negative term, something which was later addressed by Stonewall in the U.K.

In sharing these strategies I recognize school contexts differ wildly, however the Education Equality Act 2010 still applies to faith and non-faith schools. More importantly, gender stereotyping, LGBTQI bullying and the use of negative language can potentially affect ALL children in ALL school contexts with sometimes tragic results.

After four years of work and experience in my own school and many others up and down the country, I have attempted to describe strategies that could be adapted (not used wholesale, since that could be counterproductive) for your own school context. Please take ownership.

In 2014 an IFA conference was observed by OFSTED, who thankfully saw right to the heart of our ethos; OFSTED saw that although on the surface IFA is about creating safe spaces for LGBTQI children and those perceived to be LGBTQI, at its core our work is concerned with empowering schools to develop cognitive empathy from the outset, to represent the diversity of family life in the 21st century without assumption or judgement and to take great joy in celebrating heritage and diversity in authentic individuals and whole school communities from the very first day in nursery.

Inclusion for All does not have all the answers, it has not been written by Equality and Diversity specialists, but by teachers and a serving school leader. I hope when used thoughtfully and passionately it makes a difference to you and the children being hurt in our schools and society.

The Inclusion for All ethos firmly places the needs of children first and can be offered as whole school INSET, one day conferences, twilights, and/or strategic support for leadership teams, individual teachers and governors. Training is inspiring, reflective, lively and interactive and will enable organisations to identify, acknowledge, understand and negate the barriers to tackling homophobia within individuals and organisations. In this way schools will be able to meet their statutory requirements and impress OFSTED with a co-ordinated approach to all forms of bullying and prejudice. I do hope you will invite me into speak at your school or organisation or that you will attend one of our many training events and lectures.

What school staff have said about Inclusion For All:

"I learned not to ignore the use of the word gay in a pejorative way."

"I now realise the effects of homophobic bullying can affect anyone and can be devastating."

"Life can be so confusing and difficult, I am now more able to imagine how hard it must be to be growing up LGBT."

"I now know I need to be more aware of the words I use and my own reactions."

"This training has enabled me to talk more openly about family structures and networks of affection."

"I very much appreciated having such open and honest discussions with other staff, many of us needed to air our views to see they were actually based on misconception and in many cases, prejudice."

"I feel that homophobic bullying is a serious issue both in and out of schools, this training has supported me in dealing with incidents in our own school and in my own family."

"I now have a greater understanding of how the misuse of the word gay can cause real hurt to LGBT people and especially children."

"I now realise I have been making assumptions about our pupils family groups for years."

"I will never again say 'that is not a nice thing to say' when dealing with an incident of homophobic bullying at school."

"It was very interesting to hear a range of opinions in a safe and respectful environment, whilst my view on homosexuality remains largely the same, I now see that it is the children who are telling us they need help and they come first in my book."

If you would like more information about the Inclusion For All strategy, or would like to discuss how the IFA strategy can be adapted to meet the needs of your school, don't hesitate to contact Shaun Dellenty.

What are the aims of this website?

  • To help in making children's lives free from homophobic bullying and language

  • To instill confidence in school leaders and staff in dealing with the issues of gender stereotyping, homophobic bullying and the pejorative use of homophobic language

  • To raise awareness of homophobic bullying in schools

  • To raise awareness of the use of homophobic language in schools and in society

  • To describe the negative impacts of both homophobic bullying and language

  • To describe how gender stereotyping can limit learning opportunities and the development of identity

  • To describe the statutory and moral obligations for tackling homophobic bullying and language in schools

  • To provide practical tips, anecdotal evidence and support strategies for school staff, parents and pupils in tackling homophobic bullying and language

  • To highlight good practice across the country

  • To highlight the positive impact for the whole school community in tackling gender stereotyping, homophobic bullying and the use of homophobic language