Brook experts Nick Dunne and Sarah Simons tell us what it was like to deliver a virtual RSE Lesson to 15,000 young people in celebration of LGBT+ History Month
On 9 February we delivered the UK’s biggest ever virtual RSE lesson, with 15,000 young people from over 620 schools across England and Wales tuning in to watch our free one-hour session. In 2020 we delivered the first ever Big RSE Lesson with 7,500 young people so it was so exciting to see the numbers double!
We created this session specifically for LGBT+ History month with the aim of giving young people the opportunity to explore the richness of LGBT+ history while challenging stereotypes, promoting understanding and celebrating diversity.
What better way to celebrate LGBT+ History month than to provide 15,000 young people with an opportunity to learn about queer culture throughout the decades.
During the free 60 minute session we gave an overview of key points in LGBT+ history and highlighted some influential LGBT+ figures from the last 100 years, as well as discussing the importance of inclusivity and allyship in the present. We invited young people to share their LGBT+ icons too, you can see some of them here on Twitter.
As part of the lesson, we invited young people to take part in our myth-busting quiz and we were blown away to see more than 1800 young people answering questions in real-time. Some of the findings were encouraging, like 70% of those who took part agreed that sexuality is fluid and 66% said it’s common to explore your sexual orientation, particularly during adolescence. However, it’s clear there is still a long way to go. 27% said that they don’t think using ‘gay’ as an insult is offensive, and a quarter said they thought it was obvious if a person is gay or lesbian from the way they look and behave.
The reality is that 45% of young LGBT+ people in school (64% of trans people) are bullied for being LGBT+.
Through inclusive and positive relationships and sex education we can challenge some of the harmful misconceptions around sexuality and gender and move towards a society where all young people feel supported and free to be themselves.
Mandatory RSE was introduced to the curriculum in September 2020 in England and is due to become mandatory in Wales this year. However, disruptions due to COVID-19 as well as lack of resource, training and guidance means young people are still missing out on the information they deserve.
During the lesson we encouraged teachers and young people to ask questions and leave comments in the live chat function on Learn Live (the platform we used to broadcast) and feedback was overwhelmingly positive. One young person commented, ‘I have just come out and this has really helped me.’ Another asked, ‘Why don’t we learn this in History?’
The lesson is available to watch on demand from now until Feb 2023. We know that teachers need access to more resources and training to build confidence in teaching all areas of RSE. That’s why we offer free, downloadable resources to supplement RSE lessons, as well as a range of self-directed courses on our bespoke e-learning platform Brook Learn. We also have a wealth of training opportunities to support schools with everything to need to deliver RSE, from planning to policy.