Cumbernauld Academy has received a prestigious Silver LGBT Charter Mark award in recognition of the support offered to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) pupils.
To celebrate receiving the award a rainbow crossing was painted on the school grounds by Morrison Construction, the contractor building the new Cumbernauld Academy and Cumbernauld Theatre.
Fergus McMillan, chief executive of LGBT Youth Scotland, said: “The school has demonstrated that they are committed to ensuring LGBT young people have the best possible educational experience.
“We were particularly impressed by the commitment to involving young people in the work of meeting the award standards; it was clear young people were consulted and their voices and inputs valued. This is an area we would wish to share as best practice with other schools with whom we work as a model of inclusive practice.”
Cumbernauld Academy is only one of a handful of schools in Scotland to achieve the award and Graeme Ross of LGBT Youth Scotland presented head teacher Mark Cairns with the award at a special assembly at the school.
Mr Cairns said: “We have a duty to ensure that all young people are safe and happy first and foremost. If we don’t do that then nothing else really matters.
“I am immensely proud of our whole school community by the way we have embraced the principles of inclusion that underpin the LGBT Charter.
“It is the mark of a confident and inclusive community that we have embarked on this journey of ensuring that the rights of all LGBT young people are evident in the way we all live our lives in Cumbernauld Academy.
“Indeed it is humbling to see and hear a whole school community that puts its vulnerable students first, many of whom as teenagers are LGBT.
“The Support of LGBT Youth Scotland has been outstanding and helped the large team of staff involved to just get it right for all of our young people. Every school belongs to its young people and this journey towards the charter mark has helped us ensure that every voice is heard in taking the school forward.”
Jenna Milliken, a teacher at Cumbernauld Academy and the school’s LGBT school champion, added: “The journey towards achieving this award has been so exciting and rewarding. We have such an amazing bunch of young people in the school who have made this achievement possible.
“It was their dedication and hard work that enabled us to run successful whole school events that promoted inclusion and provoked positive change in what was already a very equality driven school.
“I hope our young people can continue to feel safe and free to express themselves in whatever way they wish and continue into their future positive and happy. We already have some exciting events planned to ensure our journey continues.”
The school was given the award in recognition of best practice in relation to training, campaigns, policy and practice as well as promotional materials, resources and evaluation.