Welcome to Inclusive Education.


Supporting LGBTIQA+ students

http://inclusive.tki.org.nz/guides/lgbtiqa/

As a school, you have have an obligation to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all learners. This guide provides strategies and suggestions for supporting the inclusion and wellbeing of students who identify as sex, gender, or sexuality diverse (SGSD).

The strategies in this guide encompass a variety of initiatives, from school policies and guidelines, to learning experiences that acknowledge, value, and respect the diversity that exists within the school community.

In this resource we have used terms including “LGBTIQA+”, “diverse sexualities and genders”, and “sex, gender, or sexuality diverse”. We acknowledge that not everyone will identify with these terms.

There are also many different cultural understandings and terms for sexuality and gender diversity such as “takatāpui”, “whakawāhine”, and “tangata iratāne” (Māori), “hijra” (Bengali), “fa’afafine” Samoan, and “fakaleiti” Tongan.

Download the LGBTIQA+ guide summary (PDF 108 KB)

Categories

Specifically about
LGBTIQA
Highly relevant to
Inclusive curriculum
Leadership
Deterring bullying behaviour

Understanding sex, gender, and sexuality diversity

Sexuality education in New Zealand schools supports and acknowledges diversity among students. It recognises the rights of those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, takatāpui, transgender, intersex, and other sexual and gender identities.

Source: The place of sexuality education in schools

Every school has an obligation to provide an environment where all young people are supported and given the chance to flourish, free of discrimination.   


Source: Making schools safer for Trans and Gender Diverse Youth

 

Suggestions and resources

Young people’s perspectives (NZ) (video)
Understanding key terms

Young people introduce key concepts about sex, gender, and sexuality and what makes each of these things unique.

Closed captioning available in player

Source: Inside Out – RainbowYOUTH (NZ)

Young people’s perspectives (NZ)
Definitions

Sex refers to particular characteristics of bodies, including reproductive  organs, genitalia, hormones, and chromosomes. Sex is often seen as a binary: male or female. There is however considerable physical variation within these physical characteristics, and the term intersex describes those who do not fit this traditional binary.

Gender includes identity and expression.

Gender identity refers to how you identify your gender internally, regardless of the sex of your body. Gender expression refers to how you express your gender –  masculine, feminine, both, neither, or in between.

Sexuality refers to who you are attracted to. You may be attracted to people of the the same and/or differing sex or gender. You also may not be sexually attracted to anyone.  

These concepts differ across cultures and languages. Indigenous terms may involve a more holistic understanding of these aspects of identity.

Source: Dr John Fenaughty

Definitions
Why pronouns matter (video)
Understanding pronouns

Students talk about what pronouns are, why they matter, and how to use new ones.

Closed captioning available in player

Source: Minus18 (AUS)

Why pronouns matter
Knowing what words to use

Respectfully and privately ask students:

  1. their preferred name

  2. which pronouns they would like you to use (he/him, she/her, they/them)

  3. how they would like their names displayed on the class roll or around the learning environment

  4. how they would like to be referred to when communicating with their family, as some young people may be out at school but not at home.

Source: Making schools safer for trans and gender diverse youth

Knowing what words to use
Transgender identities (video)
The basics

This video introduces and explores transgender identities.

Closed captioning available in player

Source: Minus18 (AUS)

Transgender identities

Resources and downloads

Queer and Trans 101: A super simple comic guide

This is a New Zealand guide to sexuality and gender basics in comic format, distributed by RainbowYOUTH.

Making schools safer for trans and gender diverse youth

Tools and information on how to create safer and more inclusive environments for trans and gender-diverse students. Developed by InsideOUT.

Useful words

This is a glossary of language and terminology, developed by RainbowYOUTH for schools and whānau.

Asexuality

This information sheet defines asexuality. It includes FAQs and links to additional resources.

Cultural and religious considerations

Sexuality may be viewed differently according to people’s social and cultural contexts, values, and beliefs.

Consider how you will plan for differences in:

  • religious and spiritual beliefs and values
  • cultural protocols for the delivery of sexuality education
  • cultural protocols for viewing images and videos
  • cultural beliefs around gender and gender roles.

Source: Ministry of Education

Cultural and religious considerations
Takatāpui: Māori identity expressions (image)
Takatāpui resource
Understanding Takatāpui

Takatāpui is a traditional Māori term meaning ‘intimate companion of the same sex.’

This resource was created to provide information and support for takatāpui and their whānau.

It aims to build understanding and prevent discrimination.

 

Source: Takatāpui: Part of the whānau

Takatāpui: Māori identity expressions
Takatāpui stories (NZ) (video)
Takatāpui: Part of the whānau

Five takatāpui speak openly about their experiences, identity, and wellbeing, and about suicide prevention.

Closed captioning available in player

Source: MHF Suicide Prevention (NZ)

Takatāpui stories (NZ)
Pasifika youth perspectives (NZ) (video)
Silent talanoa

Young people share their experiences of school, family, and culture.

Stories highlight how to nurture understanding and create belonging for Pasifika communities.

First of 4 videos.

No captions or transcript available

Source: Village Collective (NZ)

Pasifika youth perspectives (NZ)
Challenging binary norms (NZ) (video)
Understanding key terms

Young people explore and challenge norms about gender, sex, and sexuality.

Closed captioning available in player

Source: Inside Out – RainbowYOUTH (NZ)

Challenging binary norms (NZ)

Resources and downloads

Takatāpui: A resource hub

Online resource hub for takatāpui and their whānau.

Silent talanoa – Episode 1

A four-part video series that offers a glimpse into the lives of Rainbow Pasifika youth – “lifting the veil of silence so that young people could talanoa (talk/share) about the realness in society and how they overcame adversity”.

Same or both-sex attracted young people in Aotearoa/New Zealand

Infographic highlighting the positives and challenges that same or both-sex attracted young people face in society and the impacts of these.

Transgender young people in Aotearoa/New Zealand

Infographic highlighting the positives and challenges that transgender young people face in society and the impacts of these.

Seven common concerns (image)
Diagram showing student concerns
Build understanding

Listen and learn from students.

Create opportunities for them to share their concerns and experiences in ways that work for them.

 

Source: Ministry of Education

Seven common concerns
Bullying, homophobia, transphobia (NZ) (video)
Personal experiences

Young people discuss their experiences of homophobic and transphobic bullying.

Closed captioning available in player

Source: Inside Out – RainbowYOUTH (NZ)

Bullying, homophobia, transphobia (NZ)
The need for visibility

Don’t talk “around” LGBTIQ issues.

Acknowledge our existence and make it clear that we matter and will be protected by the school.

Ministry of Education ; Source: Bullying prevention and response: A guide for schools
The need for visibility
Risks of isolation (NZ) (video)
The need for understanding

This short video excerpt highlights the need for visibility to build understanding and reduce isolation. 

It is taken from the LGBTQI+ Aotearoa Then & Now documentary. 

Closed captioning available in player

Source: Tairawhiti Production House Ltd (NZ)

Risks of isolation (NZ)
Six wellbeing objectives (image)
Students standing
Wellbeing and participation

Consultation with LGBTIQA+ young people identified 6 key objectives to support wellbeing and participation.

Source: Derivative from Wellington College CC BY-NC 2.0

Six wellbeing objectives

Resources and downloads

Supporting LGBTI young people in New Zealand

This document outlines six objectives to improve the lives of LGBTIQ+ young people in New Zealand. Commissioned by the Ministry of Youth Development.

Out on the fields

Report on homophobia in sport based on data from the US, UK, Ireland, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

Qmunity Youth Gisborne: The story of us

Booklet including stories from Qmunity Youth members about how they became part of the LGBT+ community and about their lives.

Trans people: Facts & information

Website providing practical information to support trans, whakawähine, tangata ira tane, fa’afafine, fakaleiti, akava’ine, gender-queer, and other gender-diverse young people.

NZC values

Upholding student rights 

The New Zealand Curriculum is underpinned by values of diversity, equity, and respect, and upholds human rights. These values ensure the rights of all students to self expression, identification, and support.

Source: Sexuality education: A guide for principals, boards of trustees, and teachers

NZC values
Legal obligations

All students have the right to learn in an environment where they feel accepted, supported, and are safe. Boards of trustees play a key governance role in ensuring the learning environment addresses the needs of all learners.

It is the legal obligation of the board of trustees to:

  • provide a safe physical and emotional environment for students
  • ensure the safety of students and employees.

Source: The National Administration Guidelines

Legal obligations
Commitment to diversity

Inclusion means preventing invisibility, especially in curriculum.

School boards and staff must ensure that they recognise and affirm the diversity within their school so that everyone feels welcome and valued.

Diversity in schools includes diversity of:

  1. cultures

  2. ethnicity

  3. beliefs and values

  4. learning needs

  5. sexes

  6. sexualities

  7. gender identities and expressions.

Source: PPTA

Commitment to diversity
Freedom from discrimination (image)
High school students walking through foyer
Human rights

Human rights are about dignity, equality, and security for every person.

All students have the right to be accepted for who they are and access to positive environments for learning.

Human Rights Commission

Source: Ministry of Education

Freedom from discrimination
Inclusive school policies

We have a policy of safety around identity and culture, and that includes gender. We feel strongly that every child deserves to feel safe in the school environment.

I'm proud to be part of a school that says, “It's okay to be who you are and we are going to make sure you get the best education, without worrying about anything else.”

– Primary school BoT member

Source: Stuff
Inclusive school policies

Resources and downloads

Affirming diversity of sexualities and gender identities in the school community

Guidelines to assist boards of trustees and PPTA branches to consider how well their schools recognise and affirm diversity of sexualities and gender identities. Published by the PPTA.

School anti-violence toolkit

Resource to assist schools to develop and implement effective anti-violence policies, practices, and procedures. Developed by the New Zealand Post Primary Teachers‘ Association (PPTA)

School trustees booklet: Helping you ask the right questions

This ERO publication provides support for the role of Boards in supporting student achievement and wellbeing.

Keep an open door (image)
Two adults chatting
Support open communication

Create opportunities to meet with whānau and the wider community.

Create culturally respectful spaces and be responsive to individual needs.

Source: Enabling e-Learning

Keep an open door
Communication and information sharing

Attitudes to sexual orientation and gender diversity will differ across and within communities, families, generations, and cultural groups.

Consider how you will:

  1. listen to the concerns of parents and caregivers and acknowledge their points of view

  2. provide multiple opportunities for parents, caregivers and students to express their values and beliefs

  3. communicate the systems and processes that support families and whānau in how to have a say

  4. provide multiple ways to keep parents informed (for example, through newsletters, parents’ meetings, online spaces)

  5. promote your anti-bullying policy and explain its connection to these inclusive practices 

  6. share your school vision for all learners, with a focus on increasing respect and understanding of difference and diversity, and including diverse sexuality and gender identities.

Source: Health and physical education online

Communication and information sharing
Possible approaches

Value and support the diversity in families through:

  1. using inclusive language on forms

  2. including sexuality and gender diversity in the curriculum

  3. school systems that support families when issues of harassment or prejudice occur 

  4. ensuring families know about the school’s harassment policy and that the school supports gender and sexuality diversity

  5. asking families about ways to create a supportive environment for their children

  6. seeking a wide representation of diversity on school boards, parent committees, and in wider school activities and events

  7. asking families about the support options and information they need

  8. working with families on how they want specific questions from other parents, teachers, and students to be handled

  9. communicating the school’s commitment to being a safe, respectful, supportive, and inclusive environment for all members of the school community

  10. engaging and working with parents who can offer skills and expertise around LGBTIQA+ identities and experiences. 

Source: Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) parents and their children: Support strategies for educators

Possible approaches
Reflective questions

Consider how you will:

  • engage your school community in building understanding of creating safe and inclusive school environments for all
  • provide opportunities that support your community to share their expectations and perspectives in a safe and respectful way
  • work collaboratively with whānau on concerns relating to student safety and wellbeing
  • promote programmes that focus on accurate information and respect for differences
  • become informed about different cultural and religious views and beliefs about gender and sexuality to expand understanding
  • address sexuality and gender diversities in your school charter.

Source: Affirming diversity

Reflective questions

Resources and downloads

Consulting with communities

Guidelines for supporting consultation with whānau Māori and Māori and Pasifika communities. Part of “Sexuality education: A guide for principals, boards of trustees, and teachers”.

Family and community engagement

This resource helps schools to avoid communication pitfalls and supports teacher-family relationships built on respect. Developed by the Southern Poverty Law Centre (US).

Engaging with families from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds

This New Zealand Curriculum Update focuses on partnerships between schools and diverse families and communities. It provides guidance to support effective community engagement.

Back to top

Creating inclusive school-wide systems and processes

Develop a culture where all students are included, visible, and valued. This can make significant and positive differences for students who identify as sex, gender, or sexuality diverse (SGSD).

Source: Safe schools coalition

Homophobic and transphobic violence in education is unacceptable. Schools have an obligation to plan and implement effective responses.

Source: UNESCO (UN)

Closed captioning available in player

Suggestions and resources

Seek diverse perspectives (NZ) (video)
Personal experiences

Young people discuss their experiences of school and reflect on how to create spaces where we all belong.

Closed captioning available in player

Source: Inside Out - RainbowYOUTH (NZ)

Seek diverse perspectives (NZ)
Engage students as partners

Student-led action is an effective way to create cultural change at school

Many schools have student-led (and/or teacher-led) support groups that focus on topics such as sexuality.

These groups can provide information and support for individual students. They can also advocate for change within the school to ensure supportive and inclusive environments are created and maintained.

Groups could include:

  • diversity groups
  • Queer Straight Alliances
  • peer sexuality support groups
  • lunch forums and discussion groups
  • school health councils.

Source: Ministry of Education

Engage students as partners
Acknowledge expertise

Recognise the expertise of LGBTIQA+ young people through:

  1. building the capacity of LGBTIQA+ young people to contribute to school-wide events and decisions

  2. seeking student feedback on issues and ideas

  3. creating opportunities to seek student perspectives

  4. including students in school reviews

  5. inviting representation on the student council

  6. developing inclusive schooling and anti-bullying policies in partnership with students.

Acknowledge expertise
Plan environments together (image)
Students working in a class space
Partner with students

Involve students in decisions about learning spaces. Discuss how to support both learning and wellbeing.

Source: Ministry of Education

Plan environments together
Introduce students to UDL (image)
Diagram of a planning tool for all learners
Universal Design for Learning (UDL)

UDL is a framework for planning for diversity. Introduce the UDL thinking cycle to students. It always starts with who are the people? what do they bring?

Find more information in the UDL guide.

Source: Adapted from Planning for all learners by Grace Meo, p. 6.

Introduce students to UDL

Resources and downloads

Supporting LGBTI young people in New Zealand

This document outlines six objectives to improve the lives of LGBTIQ+ young people in New Zealand. Commissioned by the Ministry of Youth Development.

Sexuality education in NZC (image)
Diagram showing relationship between sexuality education, the health and physical education learning area, and the wider school environment
Where sexuality education fits in NZC

Sexuality education encourages students to explore their own values, develop communication skills, and nurture a positive view of their own bodies and sexuality.

Source: Ministry of Education

Sexuality education in NZC
Areas to resource and explore

Create opportunities for students to investigate and explore:

  1. healthy relationships in multiple contexts

  2. expressing feelings and emotions

  3. supporting the wellbeing of friends and peers

  4. communication

  5. questioning messages related to gender, sexuality, and diversity

  6. identity and beliefs

  7. rights and responsibilities

  8. future dreams and goals

  9. physical and emotional development

  10. sexual and gender diversity

  11. human reproduction

  12. human rights

  13. consent

  14. choice and agency in relationships

  15. access to support and health care

  16. risks and issues in online and social media environments.

  17. questioning and discussing gender and sexual stereotypes and norms, i.e. heteronormativity (assumptions of a monosexual heterosexual society)

Areas to resource and explore
Subject option at all levels

Effective sexuality programmes

Develop a school-wide, shared approach when considering how sexuality can be taught across and within a range of subject areas.

To support gender and sexuality diverse students, ensure that health is a subject option at all levels in the school, especially at senior levels when relationships are more likely.

It is recommended that all students engage in sexuality education in years 11–13. This should not be limited to students completing NCEA courses and standards in health education.

Source: Ministry of Education

Subject option at all levels
Community consultation cycle (image)
Parents at a school morning tea
A shared responsibility

Schools are required to consult with their school communities at least once every two years about how they teach sexuality education.

Source: Enabling e-Learning

Community consultation cycle
Implementation approaches

Common characteristics of successful sexuality education programmes include:

  1. respect for the diverse values and beliefs of students and of the community

  2. recognition of the physical, social, emotional, and spiritual dimensions of sexuality

  3. inclusion of students’ perspectives and requests

  4. regular planning and review of sexuality programmes

  5. consultation with students about content and approach

  6. up-to-date resources that are appropriate and modified to meet the needs of students

  7. committed, confident teachers who are provided with LGBTIQA+ professional development opportunities

  8. respect for different cultural perspectives

  9. the use of assessment data, including student self-assessment, to review programme implementation

  10. an environment where students feel safe to ask questions

  11. an environment where there is a good rapport between teachers and students

  12. a strong culture of school-wide respect

  13. access to effective support networks for students.

Source: Ministry of Education

Implementation approaches

Resources and downloads

Sexuality education: A guide for principals, boards of trustees, and teachers

This guide supports school boards, principals, and teachers to deliver effective, quality sexuality education programmes. It supports the positive and holistic development and health of all students in all New Zealand schools.

Affirming diversity

A practical guide for teachers and other workers with youth to support them in creating safer environments for same-sex attracted and transgender young people.

Consent and sexuality education

This statement from the Ministry of Education discusses consent, sexual intimacy, and the place of sexuality education in The New Zealand Curriculum.

Sexuality education: Information for parents, families, and whānau

This pamphlet summarises key points about current sexuality education in New Zealand schools.

Inside out – we all belong

This learning resource aims to increase understanding and support of gender and sexuality diversity in Aotearoa New Zealand. It includes a set of video-based teaching resources.

Understanding homophobia and transphobia (NZ) (video)
Types of bullying

Young people discuss their experiences of homophobic and transphobic bullying. 

Closed captioning available in player

Source: Inside Out – RainbowYOUTH (NZ)

Understanding homophobia and transphobia (NZ)
LGBTIQA+ in anti-bullying policies

A school’s anti-bullying policy is the most public statement of its commitment to student safety. 

Identify how your anti-bullying policies include:

  1. language specifically prohibiting harassment based on nonconformity to gender and sexuality norms, gender identity and gender expression

  2. clear procedures enabling students, staff, parents, and carers to confidentially report safety and wellbeing issues and concerns

  3. clear restorative practice guidelines and step-by-step processes for staff when addressing and responding to bullying behaviour

  4. prevention strategies to explicitly address identity-based bullying

  5. provision for a number of reporting mechanisms to ensure that students can report bullying in confidence

  6. relevant support for LGBTIQA+ students

  7. regular space and time for students to voice concerns about bullying

  8. a wide representation of voices and diverse perspectives in developing anti-bullying policies

  9. opportunities for students to identify and report types of bullying that occur, including bullying based on identity, such as homophobic or transphobic bullying.

Source: Being LGBT in School

LGBTIQA+ in anti-bullying policies
Strategic and practical actions to prevent bullying

Develop and strengthen effective responses to homophobic and transphobic bullying. These include:

  1. developing school-wide systems to monitor the prevalence of bullying based on sexual orientation and gender identity and/or expression

  2. ensuring policies refer explicitly to supporting the wellbeing and learning of young people who identify as sex, gender, and sexuality diverse

  3. involving students, particularly those who are LGBTIQA+, in the development of policies

  4. communicating school policies relating to safety and inclusion to the whole school and your community

  5. ensuring students can report incidents of bullying in confidence

  6. evaluating the effectiveness of interventions to ensure that they are having the desired impact

  7. providing training to support all staff in responding quickly to homophobic and transphobic bullying

  8. providing all students with access to non-judgmental and accurate information on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression

  9. including education about discrimination and respect for all in the curriculum at all levels

  10. identifying and using appropriate entry points within the curriculum to address issues such as gender roles and stereotypes.

Source: Out in the open

Strategic and practical actions to prevent bullying
Responsive leadership (video)
An active support role

Jordan talks about the responsive intervention from his school principal when he was confronted by homophobic and biphobic comments.

Closed captioning available in player

Source: Minus18 (AUS)

Responsive leadership
Identify where bullying occurs (image)
Infographic showing the settings where homophobic and transphobic violence can occur.
Identifying unsafe spaces

Consider how you will support student safety in classes, playgrounds, toilets, changing rooms, on the way to and from school, and online. 

Source: World education blog

Identify where bullying occurs

Resources and downloads

Inside out: About – why it’s important

Inside Out - We all belong is a set of video-based teaching resources that aim to decrease homophobic and transphobic bullying in New Zealand.

Safer classrooms for all: Anti-homophobia workshops in schools

The PPTA provides free professional development to schools to support them to address the issue of bullying on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Bullyingfreenz

This New Zealand website provides information, tools, and resources for schools, families, and students to help build safe and bullying-free environments.

Speak up, stand together, stop bullying: 2017 Pink shirt day student toolkit

Toolkit for students to help eliminate bullying in schools. It provides practical suggestions for celebrating a Pink Shirt Day where schools take a stand against homophobic bullying. Developed by the the Mental Health Foundation (NZ).

Day of silence

Information on the Day of Silence – a day of action when students vow to take a form of silence to call attention to the silencing effect of homophobic, biphobic, and transphobic bullying, name-calling, and harassment in schools.

Policy protection

… policy based protection in schools is one of the strongest protective factors for same sex attracted, intersex and gender diverse young people.

– Hillier et al. (2010)

Source: Safe schools do better
Policy protection
Review your policies

Students feel safer in a school with inclusive policies

Review your school’s policies and procedures to identify if they explicitly mention and are inclusive of sex, sexuality and intersex and gender diverse students, staff and families.

Including:

  • school vision and values
  • enrollment policies
  • anti-bullying policies
  • uniform policies
  • toilet and changing area policies
  • participation in sporting teams and activities
  • school wide events eg camps, balls, outside trips.

Source: Safe Schools Coalition, Australia

Review your policies
Respectful transition approaches

Create effective, respectful ways to share information about students between teachers and between schools. 

Develop processes in partnership with students. 

Consider how you:

  • maintain the privacy and confidentiality of all student information
  • discuss with the student, parent, or whānau any considerations regarding the sharing of information (including self-disclosure)
  • decide what information needs to be shared and with whom
  • gain consent if student information needs to be shared
  • ensure a student’s preferred name and gender is entered correctly on school management systems and classroom rolls
  • induct new staff, students, and families on the school’s safety and wellbeing policies, programmes, and procedures.

Source: Diversity in Queensland schools – Information for principals

Respectful transition approaches
Inclusive procedures for ENROL and SMS

ENROL can record preferred names and aliases but requires gender to be identified on the verification documentation, as this is linked to formal documents, including NCEA results.

Support students by:

  • using “known as” name on the ENROL system
  • acknowledging a student's identity – developing systems and protocols for inputting the correct information as expressed by the student
  • making changes to the ENROL system and informing NZQA when a student acquires a new birth certificate with a new identity
  • having a student’s preferred name and gender on attendance rolls, and notifying relieving teachers.

Student management systems (SMS) have flexibility to ensure that a student's’ chosen name and gender is entered correctly.

Ensure:

  • student’s name and gender of preference is entered in your school’s SMS
  • all school records are updated when a student’s name has been legally changed.

Source: Ministry of Education

Inclusive procedures for ENROL and SMS
Inclusive design of forms and surveys

When asking students, family, or whānau to fill out forms or surveys at school, consider whether you really need to collect data about their gender.

If you do, the best way to do this is to either leave a blank space for students to write in their own gender identity, or include an “Other” option box alongside the male and female boxes.

Source: Making schools safer for trans and gender diverse youth

Inclusive design of forms and surveys

Resources and downloads

Leadership commitment to a safe school

This Australian website provides resources to support schools to develop a shared understanding and ownership of policies and procedures that support student safety and wellbeing.

Bullying prevention and response: A guide for schools

This guide supports schools to create safe and positive learning environments. It aims to help prevent bullying behaviour and provides practical advice on what to do when bullying occurs. It also includes a section on whole-school approaches.

School bullying policies

This section of the Ministry of Education’s website discusses the importance of schools having policies and processes that define bullying and set out how the school community will address it.

Guide to hosting inclusive school formals

This pamphlet provides practical guidelines to help make your school event safe, inclusive, and fun for all students. Developed by Australia’s Safe Schools Coalition.

Foundations of an inclusive culture

Create a culture where parents and whānau are listened to, feel they belong, and can contribute to a diverse, accepting community. 

  1. Develop comprehensive, safe-school policies that include the voice of whānau who identify as LGBTIQA+.

  2. Engage in a collaborative process with students, parents, and whānau to develop school policies and systems.

  3. Consult with parents and whānau in ways appropriate to each school community, such as surveys, hui, fono, or parent meetings.

  4. Have clear processes in place to ensure families receive assistance should issues of harassment or bullying occur.

  5. Create safe spaces and access to an informed, knowledgeable, and supportive person.

  6. Provide easy access to relevant materials, resources, and support services.

  7. Provide whānau with reassurances of confidentiality and respect for their privacy.

Source: Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) parents and their children: Support strategies for educators

Foundations of an inclusive culture
Supporting students and whānau (image)
LGBTQ poster, with tips for supporting families
Offering support

It can take courage for LGBTQ young people to come out to their parents.

Consider how you can respectfully offer support, resources, and safe spaces for both students and whānau.

Source: Families of LGBTQ

Supporting students and whānau
Support agencies

Introduce students and whānau to people and agencies that can provide support.

  • RainbowYOUTH – provide support for friends and family of queer and gender-diverse youth.
  • Holding our own – a support group for the parents of queer and gender-diverse youth.
  • InsideOUT – an organisation that provides support for young people of minority sexualities and genders.
  • OUTLindaNZ – a helpline staffed by self-accepting LGBTIQA+ people who have trained to help others over the phone with issues related to sexual identity.
  • Family Planning – an organisation that provides sexual and reproductive health care to people of any gender or sexual orientation.
  • Village collective – an organisation that supports and equips Pacific youth, families, and communities with resources and information related to sexual health and wellbeing.
  • The I’m Local Project (RainbowYOUTH) – a regional directory of queer and gender-diverse support groups throughout Aotearoa.
Support agencies
Peer-to-peer support (image)
Image of cover of - Starting and Strengthening Rainbow Diversity Groups
Support group resource

Students report less harassment and bullying based on sexual orientation or gender identity when support groups are in place.

Starting and Strengthening Rainbow Diversity Groups provides ideas for starting groups.

Source: InsideOUT and RainbowYOUTH

Peer-to-peer support
Supportive adults

It's good to know that there is someone at school I can talk to about my sexuality.

Before it was like you can talk about anything – except being gay.

– student

Source: Guidelines for supporting sexual and gender diversity in schools: Sexuality discrimination and homophobic bullying
Supportive adults

Resources and downloads

Rainbow families: School support guide

Booklet for teachers, parents and caregivers and schools about how they can best support LGBTIQA+ families. Developed by the Australian group, Rainbow Families.

For families of young people who are queer, lesbian, gay, transgender, bisexual or questioning

This brochure offers support for New Zealand families of gender- and sexuality-diverse young people. It includes parent voices, links to support groups, commonly asked questions, and tips for parents.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) parents and their children: Support strategies for educators

Article outlining strategies for creating safe schools for children of LGBT parents. Published by the National Association of School Psychologists (US).

Inside out: About – why it’s important

Inside Out - We all belong is a set of video-based teaching resources that aim to decrease homophobic and transphobic bullying in New Zealand.

InsideOUT schools network

InsideOUT runs a national support network for young people who are involved in leading rainbow diversity groups or queer straight alliances (QSAs) in their schools. Register your group from the InsideOUT page to be part of the network and receive access to free resources, support and training.

Identify staff PLD needs

Professional learning for staff is crucial in developing inclusive and supportive school cultures

Schools are integral to supporting students with diverse genders and sexualities. The school environment can be highly effective at providing support, challenging prejudice, and implementing strategies to create safer environments, all of which are integral to improving the wellbeing of students.

Consider how you will identify the professional development required by all staff, including support staff, to confidently support and advocate for LGBTIQA+ students.

Source: Affirming diversity

Identify staff PLD needs
Partner with outside agencies

Organisations such as  RainbowYOUTH, InsideOUT, New Zealand Family Planning and the PPTA can support professional learning.

They can provide information and support on topics such as:

  • facilitating class discussions about sex and sexuality and gender identity, including dealing with tough and tricky questions
  • clarifying terminology and identities
  • supporting transgender students through social and physical transitions
  • current research on sex, sexuality, and gender-diverse young people’s experiences in school
  • understanding sexuality and gender diversity
  • increasing awareness and being more inclusive of LGBTIQA+ people
  • strategies for responding immediately and appropriately to homophobic language and behaviour
  • the importance of using inclusive language and the value of setting positive examples that affirm and embrace LGBTIQA+ students.

Source: RainbowYOUTH and InsideOUT

Partner with outside agencies
Develop supportive advocates

The presence of adults who are supportive of LGBT students is associated with increased feelings of safety at school.

With supportive educators, LGBT students:

  • develop greater self-esteem 
  • are less likely to miss school
  • achieve greater educational outcomes.

Supportive adults:

  • affirm students
  • intervene, particularly when bullying occurs
  • provide support
  • advocate for school-wide policies and practices.

Source: The effect of negative school climate on academic outcomes for LGBT youth and the role of in-school supports

Develop supportive advocates
Review staff professional development

Check that:

  1. opportunities are provided to address staff gaps in knowledge and skills relating to student safety and wellbeing

  2. ongoing professional learning is undertaken on emerging school safety and wellbeing issues

  3. opportunities are regularly provided for more expert and advanced professional learning for staff

  4. non-teaching and casual/specialist/visiting staff are included in relevant professional learning opportunities.

Source: National safe schools framework

Review staff professional development
Use a culturally responsive approach

Ground your inquiry into the needs of LGBTIQA+ students within the four Māori concepts of:

  • manaakitanga 
  • whanaungatanga 
  • ako 
  • mahi tahi.

These concepts provide a lens through which the cultural responsiveness of school activities and practices in supporting and promoting equitable outcomes for all learners can be evaluated.

Source: Effective practices to promote and respond to wellbeing

Use a culturally responsive approach

Resources and downloads

Inside Out – We all belong

Inside Out is a set of freely available video-based teaching resources which aim to decrease homophobic and transphobic bullying. Inside Out is ultimately about fostering positive relating to others, especially in terms of sex, gender and sexual diversity.

Gender inclusive schools toolkit

Downloadable materials designed to demonstrate a school’s commitment to making sure every student’s gender is recognised and accepted.

Respect, resilience, and LGBT students

Article describing how schools can create conditions that help LGBT students to thrive. Author: Robert A. McGarry. Published in Educational Leadership (Vol. 71, Sep. 2013).

Wellbeing for success: A resource for schools

A resource to help schools evaluate and improve student wellbeing. It highlights the importance of schools promoting the wellbeing of all students as well as the need for systems, people and initiatives to respond to wellbeing concerns for students who need additional support. Developed by ERO March 2016.

Back to top

Addressing immediate environmental, physical and social needs

Creating an inclusive environment, free of discrimination, enables students to feel physically and emotionally safe. This approach supports the academic achievement and wellbeing of all students.

A 14 year old female lesbian attends a government school with an anti- homophobia policy in place. The school features posters, students who speak up against homophobia, friendliness towards diverse people, diverse sex education and equal treatment of same-sex partners at events.

She says … school is one of the few places in her world where she feels truly safe enough to do “just normal student things, like learn”.

– Equal Opportunity Commission, Western Australia

Source: Gender diversity guidelines in schools

Suggestions and resources

Understand threats to learning

When students have to wear uniforms they don’t feel comfortable about, the likelihood of their leaving school early or being disengaged from learning increases.

Ideally all schools should have uniform options that include both pants and skirts and zero tolerance of any bullying of students related to the uniform they choose to wear.

Source: InsideOUT

Understand threats to learning
Inclusive uniform policies (image)
Students of Dunedin North Intermediate School
Offer uniform options

“There's five options for the uniform, and as long as you wear them in their entirety, you can wear which ever uniform you please.”

Principal, Dunedin North Intermediate

Source: Dunedin North Intermediate School

Inclusive uniform policies
Tips for inclusive uniforms

Providing flexible, inclusive uniform options is a critical step in preventing discrimination on the basis of gender.

  1. Provide students with the option of wearing any part of the school uniform, regardless of their gender.

  2. Categorise uniform options by type rather than by gender – “shirts” and “trousers”, rather than “boy’s uniform” and “girl’s uniform”.

  3. Enforce uniform standards equally, regardless of gender identity (for example, hair length, make up and jewellery).

  4. Explicitly acknowledge transgender and gender diverse students in your school uniform policy or dress code.

  5. Actively publicise your new school uniform policy in the school newsletter, website, and foyer notice boards.

Source: Adapted from Gender is not uniform

Tips for inclusive uniforms
Resources to support discussion (image)
Poster about school uniforms, published by Minus18
Gender is not uniform

Use these posters to prompt discussions with students, staff and community.

Consider how gender-diverse uniform options can help remove barriers to learning and support engagement.

Source: Minus18

Resources to support discussion

Resources and downloads

Gender is not uniform

Information and ideas for better supporting gender-diverse and transgender students in schools. Developed by the Australian advocacy group, Minus18.

Example policy: Gender neutral uniform policy

This is a sample gender-neutral school uniform policy, developed by UK-based educateandcelebrate.org.

Affirming diversity of sexualities and gender identities in the school community

Guidelines to assist boards of trustees and PPTA branches to consider how well their schools recognise and affirm diversity of sexualities and gender identities. Published by the PPTA.

Dunedin North Intermediate School uniform procedure

The school uniform policy of Dunedin North Intermediate School.

Understand threats to wellbeing

Design toilets with physical and emotional safety in mind.

Many LGBTIQA+ students:

  • have experienced verbal slurs relating to gender identity
  • are worried about threats of physical harm or harassment
  • feel uncomfortable getting changed in front of others
  • are unable to access a space aligned to their gender identity
  • “hold on” or have to travel longer distances to get to assigned safe spaces
  • need to change in spaces with peers who have caused harassment.

Source: Why transgender students need safe bathrooms

Understand threats to wellbeing
Student experience

When I was about nine I had an incident at school where another girl said, “Aren’t you in the wrong toilets?” So I stopped using toilets in public altogether.

It was such an awkward experience and I didn’t want to repeat it so I just stopped drinking water and went to the toilet at home.

– 14-year-old trans student

Source: ABC News 4 April, 2017. For some transgender students, the school bathroom is a battleground
Student experience
Inclusive signage options (image)
Sign saying, This restroom is for everyone.
Be specific and inclusive

Review toilet facility options to ensure students have choices of appropriate spaces.

Source: GenderNeutral.co.nz

Inclusive signage options
Building code-compliant toilets

Gender-neutral toilets must comply with the New Zealand Building Code, which states that:

  • each facility must be in a self-contained unit with full-height doors and walls to maintain privacy
  • each facility must contain a toilet, basin, and sanitary item disposal area (where required)
  • each facility must be located so that access is not through an area restricted to one sex.

Source: Supporting transgender student inclusion in a changing legal environment

Building code-compliant toilets
Ministry guidelines (image)
Cover image of Reference designs for school buildings in New Zealand – Toilets
Unisex toilets

Use the Toilet Reference Designs for School Buildings in New Zealand: Toilets when planning to build a new, or upgrade an existing, toilet area.

Source: Ministry of Education

Ministry guidelines

Resources and downloads

Sexuality education: A guide for principals, boards of trustees, and teachers

This guide supports school boards, principals, and teachers to deliver effective, quality sexuality education programmes. It supports the positive and holistic development and health of all students in all New Zealand schools.

Making schools safer for trans and gender diverse youth

Tools and information on how to create safer and more inclusive environments for trans and gender-diverse students. Developed by InsideOUT.

Compliance document for New Zealand building code clause G1 personal hygiene – second edition

This document sets out the New Zealand Building Code requirements for personal hygiene facilities.

School installs toilet for transgender pupil, aged 6

Article about a primary school installing a unisex toilet to help a child feel safe and accepted at school. New Zealand Herald May 2016.

Understand threats to wellbeing

Many LGBTIQA+ students face challenging situations and have identified that they:

  • have experienced verbal slurs relating to gender identity
  • are worried about threats of physical harm or harassment
  • feel uncomfortable getting changed in front of others
  • are unable to access a space aligned to their gender identity
  • “hold on” or have to travel longer distances to get to assigned safe spaces
  • need to change in spaces with peers who have caused harassment.

Source: Why transgender students need safe bathrooms

Understand threats to wellbeing
Access to safe spaces and support

Designate safe spaces within the school and ensure students know where they can immediately access support.

These can include:

  1. library, staffroom, or identified classroom

  2. gender-neutral bathrooms and changing areas

  3. school medical centre

  4. peer support, such as queer-straight alliance groups or rainbow diversity groups

  5. supportive adults who are informed and knowledgeable

  6. school youth worker, counsellor, or nurse

  7. pastoral care staff

  8. supportive allies

Access to safe spaces and support
Student experiences in PE and sport

LGBTIQA+ students can find sports and physical education classes particularly stressful.

Many students:

  • have negative experiences in physical education classes 
  • identify physical education classes as likely locations for homophobia and transphobia to be expressed
  • experience verbal slurs
  • experience incidents of physical abuse
  • experience feelings of rejection due to their sexuality and gender identity
  • are worried about discrimination from coaches
  • are unable to access gender-neutral shower, toilets, and changing areas
  • feel uncomfortable with gender-specific uniforms
  • feel uncomfortable playing in a gender-specific sports team.

Source: Homophobia in sport study: Findings and statistics

Student experiences in PE and sport
Safety in changing rooms

A student should be able to change clothes safely in a changing room, no matter who they are.

  1. Consult and work with students to identify and create safe spaces. 

  2. Private changing spaces should be available, either within the changing room or in a private space or bathroom nearby.

  3. Have procedures in place for out-of-school sports or activities to ensure students have access to privacy and safety.

Source: Making schools safer for trans and gender diverse students

Safety in changing rooms
Inclusive school trips (image)
Young person swimming
Plan with students

Ask students about the support they might need on trips outside school.

Discuss preferred sleeping arrangements and changing room needs or situations that could be unsafe or embarrassing.

Source: Adrit1

Inclusive school trips

Resources and downloads

Guide to supporting a student to affirm or transition gender identity at school

This guide helps schools support students who are taking steps to affirm a gender identity that is different from the sex that they were assigned at birth. Produced by the Safe Schools Coalition, Australia.

Making schools safer for trans and gender diverse youth

Tools and information on how to create safer and more inclusive environments for trans and gender-diverse students. Developed by InsideOUT.

Safe space kit: Guide to being an ally to LGBT students

Resource kit designed to help schools become a safe space for LGBT students. Developed by the US Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network.

Out on the fields

Report on homophobia in sport based on data from the US, UK, Ireland, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

Benefits of on-site health care (image)
A stethoscope
Reduce barriers to services

Access to on-site health care allows students to seek immediate support and advice in a safe and supportive environment.

If on-site care unavailable, support students to access professionals outside school. 

Source: Werbe Fabrik

Benefits of on-site health care
Strategies to support students

Adolescence is a time when identity, self-knowledge, social skills and independence are being developed.

It can be a challenging and painful time for students who lack access to information and support. 

Key strategies to support students include:

  1. delivering school-wide, comprehensive sexuality education

  2. providing health education across all year levels

  3. integrating relevant content across curriculum areas

  4. providing easy access to appropriate and relevant information

  5. using supportive, gender-inclusive images in posters and advertising for school events

  6. providing access to adults who understand health and medical issues

  7. ensuring that all students are aware of key staff members they can approach for support

  8. reassuring students of confidentiality and respect for their privacy

  9. providing opportunities to ask questions anonymously

  10. working in partnership with transgender students to ensure their transition is supported, respected, and affirmed

  11. responding sensitively to time out of school for attending medical appointments

  12. developing supportive plans to ensure students are able catch up on assignments and learning missed due to outside-school appointments.

Source: Affirming diversity

Strategies to support students
Review pathways to support

Strengthen support for all students through easy, timely access to onsite health care services. Some schools provide weekly clinics or school visits by outside youth agencies such as Evolve

Consider opportunities that can be provided for students to access:

  • on-site health clinics
  • on-site nurse consultations
  • on-site school counsellors
  • youth workers
  • health information
  • referral pathways for medical care
  • access to LGBTQIA+ youth support groups.
Review pathways to support
Selecting online support resources (image)
Image of icons for online tools, representing a student search
Informed decision making

Develop an online hub of information and support resources with students.

Discuss with students how to make decisions that keep them safe and protect their privacy when accessing support.

Source: Adapted from GLSEN

Selecting online support resources

Resources and downloads

The I'm Local Project

The I’m Local Project aims to help queer & gender diverse youth all over Aotearoa to feel valued, recognised and supported in their local communities. The website includes info about the a-z of being queer & gender diverse, as well as a region-by-region map of all the queer and gender diverse support groups for young people in Aotearoa.

Supporting LGBTI young people in New Zealand

This document outlines six objectives to improve the lives of LGBTIQ+ young people in New Zealand. Commissioned by the Ministry of Youth Development.

The health and wellbeing of transgender high school students: Results from the New Zealand adolescent health survey (Youth’12)

This report documents the results of the first nationally representative survey on the health and wellbeing of students who identify as being transgender.

Affirming diversity

A practical guide for teachers and other workers with youth to support them in creating safer environments for same-sex attracted and transgender young people.

Schools in transition: A guide for supporting transgender students in K–12 schools

This US guide includes topics such as concepts of gender, the importance of affirming gender identity, and guidelines for meeting the needs of transgender students. Tools for supporting students who are transitioning are also included.

Youth one stop shops

11 Youth One Stop Shops are currently delivering care within the scope of the Youth Mental Health Project. These services can be contacted directly through the following websites. There are also other youth health services available through district health boards.

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Developing an inclusive classroom and curriculum

Create a classroom that acknowledges and affirms the gender and sexuality diversity of every student. Through thoughtful and intentional practices, teachers can create gender-inclusive environments and learning opportunities for all students.

Provide your classes with positive examples of sexuality, gender, and physical diversity across the curriculum. This will signal that these forms of diversity are ordinary, natural, and worthy of recognition.

Source: Huw CC BY-SA 2.0

Suggestions and resources

Impact of gender segregation (image)
Poster that says, Think outside the boxes
Limiting participation

Gender is often used in the classroom as a way to create groups or divide students.

Trans and gender-diverse students can be excluded when this occurs.

Sitting in a certain section may make them feel uncomfortable or distressed.

Source: Gender Spectrum

Impact of gender segregation
Review binary approaches

Classrooms often reinforce perceptions of sex and gender as binary through:

  • identifying “boys” and “girls” activities
  • using gendered systems for choosing groups or lining up students
  • providing only male and female tick boxes
  • using gendered systems for seating arrangements in classrooms and assemblies
  • arranging students by gender for class photos.

Source: Gender Spectrum

Review binary approaches
Alternatives to grouping by gender

When grouping students, consider:

  1. grouping students by year group

  2. using birthdays, the initial letters of names, or numbering off

  3. inviting students to make their own choices.

Source: Making schools safer for trans and gender diverse students

Alternatives to grouping by gender
Inclusive classroom roll (image)
Teacher and student using student management system
Use students’ preferred names

If using an electronic attendence system, ensure it displays each student's prefered name and identity.

Check with students 1:1 prior to projecting publically.

Source: Ministry of Education

Inclusive classroom roll
Safe classroom protocols

Let all students know that they are protected in the classroom.

Review classroom systems to ensure there is a consistent message that no bullying or harassment will be allowed.

Support students by:

  • knowing your school's anti-bullying policy and communicating this to all students
  • responding quickly to any homophobic, biphobic, or transphobic comments and harassment
  • developing confidential classroom systems that allow students to give feedback, share information, or seek help when needed
  • recording gender- and sexuality-based harassment in the school’s harassment log
  • working with all learners to develop and construct classroom expectations and ways of working that respect everyone.
Safe classroom protocols

Resources and downloads

Ten ways to challenge gender stereotypes in the classroom

Ten ideas teachers can use to create class environments that encourage students to think of themselves as individuals, rather than editing their choices through a gender filter.

12 easy steps on the way to gender inclusiveness

Strategies, examples, and ideas to support gender inclusiveness in the classroom. Developed by Gender Spectrum (US).

Making your classroom safe and inclusive for LGBTI students: Three top tips

These practical classroom tips are explained in a blog post by Mel Gaylard of the Australian Safe Schools Coalition.

Explore gender norms (NZ) (video)
What norms exist in our classroom?

Young people talk about the influences of gender norms and the binary division that occurs within school and society.

Closed captioning available in player

Source: Inside Out - RainbowYOUTH

Explore gender norms (NZ)
Identify gendered language

A person’s name and pronouns are an important part of their identity

Using gendered language such as “girls and boys”, “ladies and gentlemen” can be alienating for gender non-conforming and gender diverse students.

Avoid this by using vocabulary such as  “students”, “class”, “crew”, “everyone”, “people” or “year X”, which is more inclusive.

Source: Making your classroom safe and inclusive for LGBTI students: Three top tips!

Identify gendered language
Embed inclusive language

Even small gestures can feel enormous to an individual student. Consider ways to increase the use of gender-diverse language in your classroom.

Consider presenting:

  • a short story with same-sex parents in the family
  • a maths problem where Dan and his boyfriend, Jai, order a pizza
  • scenarios with gender-neutral language
  • visuals and images that represent diverse sexual identities 
  • LGBTIQA+ role models, such as artists, writers, and historical figures in class topics.

Source: 10 ways educators can make schools safer for LGBT youth

Embed inclusive language
Use preferred pronouns (image)
Image of name tag including pronouns
Value students’ chosen names

When you are working with young people, respect their right to “self- identify” – to choose the words they are most comfortable identifying with.

Source: Ted Eytan

Use preferred pronouns
Use students’ chosen names (image)
Images of four standard name tags
Respect personal preferences

“The day that my friends at school said “she” instead of “he” and I could be myself was the best day of my life.”

Safe Schools Coalition Australia

Source: Maialisa

Use students’ chosen names

Resources and downloads

Making your classroom safe and inclusive for LGBTI students: Three top tips

These practical classroom tips are explained in a blog post by Mel Gaylard of the Australian Safe Schools Coalition.

Guide to kick starting your safe school

This resource includes simple and proactive steps to ensure that your school is an inclusive and supportive place for same-sex attracted, intersex, and gender-diverse students, school staff, and families. Developed by the Australian Safe Schools Coalition.

12 easy steps on the way to gender inclusiveness

Strategies, examples, and ideas to support gender inclusiveness in the classroom. Developed by Gender Spectrum (US).

Key terms and concepts in understanding gender diversity and sexual orientation among students

This is a list of helpful definitions of terms related to gender and sexuality, developed by the American Psychological Association.

Impact of invisibility

When someone with the authority of a teacher describes
the world and you are not in it, there is a moment of psychic disequilibrium, as if you looked into a mirror and saw nothing.

Adrienne Rich ; Source: Schools in transition: A guide for supporting transgender students in K–12 schools
Impact of invisibility
Integrate LGBTIQA+ content into the curriculum

Talk about and include LGBTIQA+ people and issues across the curriculum through:

  1. normalising LGBTIQA+ people, same-sex relationships, and transgender identities

  2. having positive representations of LGBTIQA+ people – invite role models the students can identify with into the classroom

  3. using videos and books that illustrate diversity as both normal and everyday, and also something to be celebrated

  4. reading children’s books that break gender-role stereotypes

  5. interrogating and deconstructing texts that assume hetereosexuality or gender stereotypes

  6. visually showing your support for diverse families by displaying images of diverse relationships on the classroom walls

  7. using celebrations such as mother’s and father’s day to talk about diversity and celebrate all forms of relationships

  8. modelling values of fairness, empathy, acceptance, kindness, respect, and responsibility to and for all people

  9. ensuring that classroom responsibilities are inclusive, gender-balanced and not stereotyped.

  10. acknowledging and investigating notable international LGBTQA+ dates and events in your school or classroom.

Source: 10 ways educators can make schools safer for LGBT youth

Integrate LGBTIQA+ content into the curriculum
Build understanding of diversity

Provide positive examples of sexuality, gender, and physical diversity.

It is an important and effective way to signal that these forms of diversity are ordinary, natural, and worthy of recognition.

Source: Making your classroom safe and inclusive for LGBTI students: Three top tips

Build understanding of diversity
Select inclusive resources

Annie came home with a book one day, which was, “Where’s your Daddy?” I spoke to the teacher about it being somewhat insensitive. She was almost in tears. She said she didn’t think about it and immediately went through all the books and took out any that might have been of that sort of ilk.

– Jacqui Tomlins

Source: Rainbow families: School support guide
Select inclusive resources

Resources and downloads

Children’s books that break gender role stereotypes

Pamphlet listing a range of picture books that break gender-role stereotypes. Produced by the US National Association for the Education of Young Children.

Making your classroom safe and inclusive for LGBTI students: Three top tips

These practical classroom tips are explained in a blog post by Mel Gaylard of the Australian Safe Schools Coalition.

Expression

This is a multi-media arts competition for young people aged 13–19. Films, artwork and writing with LGBTIQA+ themes are eligible to be entered and works are curated by InsideOUT.

Inside out – We all belong (NZ) (video)
Shared stories about New Zealanders’ experiences of sexuality and gender diversity

This set of videos aim to add to our understanding of diversity and eliminate homophobic and transphobic bullying. 

Closed captioning available in player

Source: RainbowYOUTH (NZ)

Inside out – We all belong (NZ)
LGBTIQA+ workshops

Participate in professional learning opportunities with external groups.

Explore options with:

LGBTIQA+ workshops
Wellbeing@school (image)
Diagram of a 5-step, self-review cycle
Identifying needs

Take opportunities to seek student, staff, and community feedback.

Use the Wellbeing@school tools to explore how different layers of school life contribute to creating a safe and caring climate for all students.

Source: Ministry of Education / NZCER

Wellbeing@school
School-wide PB4L

The school environment can be highly effective at providing support, challenging prejudice, and implementing strategies to create safer environments.

The Positive Behaviour for Learning School-Wide framework looks at behaviour and learning from a whole-of-school and individual student perspective.

It can be tailored to your school’s environment and cultural needs.

Source: Ministry of Education – Positive Behaviour for Learning

School-wide PB4L

Resources and downloads

Inside out: About – why it’s important

Inside Out - We all belong is a set of video-based teaching resources that aim to decrease homophobic and transphobic bullying in New Zealand.

All of us

This resource captures the real-life experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex young people through a collection of short videos and teaching activities. It is aligned to the years 7 and 8 health and physical education learning area of the Australian Curriculum.

Affirming diversity

A practical guide for teachers and other workers with youth to support them in creating safer environments for same-sex attracted and transgender young people.

Use the Sexuality Education Guide (image)
Front and back cover images of Sexuality Education: A guide for principals, boards of trustees, and teachers
The Sexuality Education Guide

The Sexuality Education Guide provides teachers, principals and boards of trustees with the knowledge, understanding, and skills to develop positive attitudes towards sexuality.

Source: Ministry of Education

Use the Sexuality Education Guide
Explore Te Whare Tapa Whā (image)
Diagram illustrating te whare tapa whā model
A holistic approach to supporting wellbeing

Sexuality education is based on the concept of hauora.

This approach recognises that sexuality has social, mental and emotional, and spiritual dimensions, as well as physical dimensions.

These aspects are interrelated. 

Source: Ministry of Education

Explore Te Whare Tapa Whā
Focus areas in years 1–6

Develop classroom programmes that respect the diverse values and beliefs of students and of the community

Students will learn about:

Years 1–3

  • growth and development
  • the human body
  • friendships and family relationships
  • changes in growth and identifying body parts
  • questioning and discussing gender stereotypes and norms
  • sharing and expressing feelings

Years 4–6

  • pubertal change
  • growth and development
  • supporting themselves and others through change
  • developing a positive body image
  • how social messages and stereotypes about relationships, sexuality, and gender affect wellbeing
  • planning strategies for positive relationships
  • identifying risks and issues in online and social media environments
  • messages related to gender, sexuality, and diversity
  • accessing health care.

Source: Ministry of Education

Focus areas in years 1–6
Understand developmental stages

Design learning programmes that meet students’ developmental stages

Children develop at different rates but they go through identifiable ages and stages. Bodies change and grow, feelings change, social interests and relationships change.

Ages 5–8

  • By the age of six, most children show an interest in how babies are made. 
  • They will want to know how the egg and sperm get together.
  • They are interested in pregnancy and birth.
  • Some children in this age group may be aware of the connection between “making babies” and sexual pleasure. 
  • They are likely to hear stories about sex in the playground. 
  • Some children will become aware that not everyone is heterosexual.
  • They have a growing awareness of sanctioned gender roles, such as “girls don’t play soccer” or “boys don’t cry”.

Ages 9–12

  • Children’s bodies develop and change while at primary school.
  • All children need to know about puberty before it happens. 
  • Sometimes children feel anxious about puberty. 
  • Children have a growing interest in sex. They may look up information in books, tell rude jokes and talk with their friends about sex.
  • They may go into and out of gender segregation, applying harsh gender stereotypical rules and censure to each other’s behaviour.
  • Some children will have an interest in expressing their sexuality in dress.

Source: Catching on early: Sexuality education for Victorian primary schools

Understand developmental stages
Tips for developing programmes

Successful programmes are:

  1. well planned, informed by theory and evidence, and up-to-date

  2. integrated into the curriculum, with clear achievement objectives identified

  3. aimed at influencing specific risk factors/protective factors/core competencies

  4. focused on developing personal and social skills

  5. developmentally, personally, and culturally appropriate

  6. designed to include critical thinking and reflection

  7. not focused solely on dangers, risks, and prevention but explore the meanings associated with sex and sexuality for individuals and society

  8. assessed according to learning (not behaviour)

  9. connected with the social worlds of children and young people

  10. informed by the needs and perspectives of students

  11. linked with families and communities

  12. considerate of environmental influences and contemporary issues and practices

  13. designed using active and interactive teaching methods, including inquiry-based learning

  14. planned and delivered by teachers who have the requisite knowledge and the appropriate skills, values, and qualities

  15. resourced appropriately, including in relation to teachers’ professional development needs

  16. supported by documented guidelines and school-wide practices.

Source: Sexuality education in The New Zealand Curriculum

Tips for developing programmes

Resources and downloads

Inside Out for Year 7–8 students

This episode is one of a set of video-based teaching resources that aim to decrease homophobic and transphobic bullying in New Zealand. It includes a brief summary of episodes 1–5, with an emphasis on gender diversity and a reduced focus on sexual diversity.

Catching on early: Sexuality education for Victorian primary schools

This evidence-based resource provides a developmentally-based programme designed to
help primary schools in Victoria, Australia teach sexuality education.

Sexuality education: A guide for principals, boards of trustees, and teachers

This guide supports school boards, principals, and teachers to deliver effective, quality sexuality education programmes. It supports the positive and holistic development and health of all students in all New Zealand schools.

Ka puāwai, ka hiki ke te haere (Sexuality education: Years 1 to 4)

This resource is designed for use in sexuality education for students in years 1–4. It fits within the health and physical education learning area of The New Zealand Curriculum. It includes interactive classroom activities. Published by the New Zealand Family Planning Association.

Use the Sexuality Education Guide (image)
Front and back cover images of Sexuality Education: A guide for principals, boards of trustees, and teachers
The Sexuality Education Guide

The Sexuality Education Guide provides teachers, principals and boards of trustees with the knowledge, understanding, and skills to develop positive attitudes towards sexuality.

Source: Ministry of Education

Use the Sexuality Education Guide
Explore Te Whare Tapa Whā (image)
Diagram illustrating te whare tapa whā model
A holistic approach to supporting wellbeing

Sexuality education is based on the concept of hauora.

This approach recognises that sexuality has social, mental and emotional, and spiritual dimensions, as well as physical dimensions.

These aspects are interrelated. 

Source: Ministry of Education

Explore Te Whare Tapa Whā
Focus areas years 9–10

Ensure programmes affirm sexuality and gender diversity and identify and respect the diverse values and beliefs of students and the community.

Students in years 9–10 will learn about:

  • intimate relationships and positive sexual health
  • managing their own sexual health and accessing health care
  • conception, contraception and sexually transmissible infections
  • the physical and emotional effects of sexual identity, sexual attraction, and sexual maturation
  • identifying skills for positive and supportive intimate relationships
  • human rights, consent, and the importance of choice and agency in relationships
  • strategies to support positive engagement in online and social media environments
  • strategies for seeking help and support.

Source: Ministry of Education

Focus areas years 9–10
Focus areas years 11–13

Ensure programmes affirm sexual, sexuality, and gender diversity and identify and respect the diverse values and beliefs of students and the community.

Students in years 11–13 will learn to:

  • critically analyse a wide range of issues relating to gender, sexuality, and sexual health
  • explore social pressure, social norms, gender identity and cultural issues relating to sexual health
  • evaluate community agencies
  • evaluate policies on sexuality and sexual health
  • critically analyse issues of safety and risk
  • research positive sexual health practices
  • affirm diversity, human rights, and sexuality across the school
  • advocate for access to support and health care.

Source: Ministry of Education

Focus areas years 11–13
Prioritise access for students in years 11–13

It is recommended that all students engage in sexuality education in years 11–13. This should not be limited to students completing NCEA courses and standards in health education.

– Ministry of Education

Source: Sexuality Education: A guide for principals, boards of trustees, and teachers
Prioritise access for students in years 11–13

Resources and downloads

Sexuality education: A guide for principals, boards of trustees, and teachers

This guide supports school boards, principals, and teachers to deliver effective, quality sexuality education programmes. It supports the positive and holistic development and health of all students in all New Zealand schools.

Takatāpui: A resource hub

Online resource hub for takatāpui and their whānau.

Catching on later: Sexuality education for Victorian secondary schools

This evidence-based resource provides a developmentally-based programme designed to
help secondary schools in Victoria, Australia teach sexuality education. It includes sequential learning activities for students in years 7–10 on key topics such as body image, sexual health, and relationships.

An educator's guide to asexuality

This pamphlet defines asexuality and explains the difference between sexual and romantic attraction. It also mentions demisexuality and grey-scale identities.

Hei huarahi: Year 9 pack

This sexuality education teaching resource, developed by the New Zealand Family Planning Association, is aimed at year 9 students. It is a follow-up resource from The Sexuality Road – Discovering Me programme.

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This is a Ministry of Education initiative

Building a world-leading education system that equips all New Zealanders with the knowledge, skills, and values to be successful citizens in the 21st century.