Dublin Schools awarded for LGBTQ+ inclusion 

St Benildus College LGBTQ

Clonturk Community College, Coláiste Dhúlaigh, Holy Child Community School, Kingswood Community College, Loreto Crumlin, Marino College, Mercy College Coolock, St. Benildus College, St. Paul’s Secondary School, Sutton Park School, and Wesley College in County Dublin are the first to beawarded the LGBTQ+ Quality Mark for their commitment to LGBTQ+ inclusion. The post-primary schools recently finished an 18-month journey embedding LGBTQ+ inclusion across their people, policies and practices.  

The LGBTQ+ Quality Mark is run by Belong To, Ireland’s national LGBTQ+ youth organisation. Students, teachers and principals from 37 schools came together to receive their award at a celebratory event at The Foundry, Google Headquarters in Dublin. The LGBTQ+ Quality Mark initiative is a holistic approach to LGBTQ+ inclusion in post-primary schools that involves the whole school community. Over the course of 18 months, schools are supported in implementing evidence-based actions across a number of key areas, which research shows improves the wellbeing and safety of LGBTQ+ students. The LGBTQ+ Quality Mark was created with support from Google.org. 

Homophobia, biphobia and transphobia remain a significant challenge for LGBTQ+ students. In Ireland, 76% of LGBTQ+ second-level students feel unsafe at school. The schools involved in the LGBTQ+ Quality Mark have worked tirelessly to create an environment where all students feel safe and supported.  

Speaking at the event, Jack Chambers (he/him), Minister of State and TD for Dublin West, said I am delighted to join students, teachers and principals from schools across Ireland as they receive their LGBTQ+ Quality Mark. Belong To’s LGBTQ+ Quality Mark recognises the importance of schools being places where members of the LGBTQ+ community can feel safe and supported. We know that a supportive school environment can have a hugely beneficial impact on the wellbeing and attainment of LGBTQ+ students. Together, we need to address the anti-LGBTQ+ stigma and discrimination that remains prevalent in our society. The Government is committed to ensuring the safety, equality and inclusion of all students, including our LGBTQ+ students, by creating safe, supportive and inclusive school environments for all.” 

Speaking at the event Sorcha Lloyd (she/her), Q-Mark Coordinator from St. Benildus College said“Here in St. Benildus College we strive to provide an environment of acceptance and tolerance for all our students. We have been participating in Stand Up week since 2017 but when I heard about the LGBTQ+ Quality Mark, I felt passionately that this was something we needed to do. We are always looking for ways to improve as a school, and I felt Belong To would be able to guide us in offering our LGBTQ+ students more support. Since beginning the Q-Mark process, we have seen several changes and improvements within the school. Notably, we have set up a successful LGBTQ+ club called the GSA. This club offers students a safe space to hang out and chat with friends every week. We have always had a very supportive staff here in St. Benildus, but throughout the process of the Quality Mark we have noticed a marked improvement in student support. I would really recommend the Q-Mark to any schools who have yet to sign up.” 

Emma O’ Beirne (she/her), Deputy Principal of Kingswood Community College said“We in Kingswood Community College are so proud to commit to inclusivity for everyone in our school. Working with the Q Mark process, building on our Safe and Supportive Schools focus, we found this project both challenging and rewarding. It allowed us to reflect on what we are doing well and  work that still needs to be done. Our ethos and mission statement embody the tenets of the Quality Mark and we are dedicated to improving the student experience to be as positive, welcoming and diverse as possible. Our school has become a place of support, openness and empowerment while working for the Q Mark.  We strive to live this every day in KCC!” 

Margaret O’Shea, Deputy Principal of St Paul’s Secondary School said“We, in St Paul’s Secondary School, joined the Q Mark programme as the quality mark aligns fully with our core values of Care, Inclusion and Respect.  Participating in the programme has been invaluable to beginning important conversations in our school and affording us the opportunity to reflect on how we ensure that everyone feels welcome and valued in our school community.  It has given us an excellent structure to ensuring that we are an LGBTQ+ safe and supportive school environment. This is so important for student and staff wellbeing. We are thrilled to receive the LGBTQ+ Quality Mark Award in recognition of our work over the past eighteen months and in celebration of our diverse school community.” 

Moninne Griffith (she/her), CEO, Belong To – LGBTQ+ Youth Ireland said “School can be a difficult place for LGBTQ+ students, but that does not have to be the case. There are outstanding schools committed to creating safe and supportive spaces for LGBTQ+ students – including the 11 schools in Dublin. The positive impact of inclusion and visibility allows students to live healthy lives and thrive at school. Today is about celebrating these schools who have shown leadership and outstanding commitment to LGBTQ+ inclusion through participation in the LGBTQ+ Quality Mark. I want to thank the entire school community and, in particular, recognise the incredible efforts of the LGBTQ+ Quality Mark Coordinators and School Principals. Thank you for showing up for LGBTQ+ students and fordemonstrating commitment, courage and leadership. Congratulations to these 11 schools for leading the way in Dublin and being one of the first schools in Ireland to receive the LGBTQ+ Quality Mark!” 

Speaking at the event David Sneddon (he/him), Vice President, Google Ireland said “Google Ireland and Google.org are immensely proud to support Belong To’s outstanding work on LGBTQ+ inclusion within Ireland’s education system. With the support of a Google.org grant, Belong To’s LGBTQ+ Quality Mark initiative has empowered incredible schools across Ireland and demonstrates the far-reaching impact of placing inclusion at the core of education. We congratulate this year’s ‘graduates’ and wish those currently taking part in the programme the best of luck.”  

Sarah Brooks

Sarah Brooks

Sarah has worked in marketing and content creation for many years. In her role at Newsgroup, she is the online editor of www.newsgroup.ie with a particular interest in local news and events. Sarah also works closely with our editorial team on our printed editions in Tallaght, Lucan, Clondalkin and Rathcoole/Saggart. If you have a story and would like to make contact please email Sarah at info@newsgroup.ie.



Related News