Just Like Us | Prototyping an online resource database and training solution for educators delivering LGBT+ curriculum



Why the work is being done

To conduct further research, testing and prototyping for an online resource database, and educator training solution, to support educators to deliver curriculum-specific LGBT+ inclusive education. The work aims to address the knowledge gap among educators through resources and training to ensure that they have the skills, knowledge and confidence needed to talk about LGBT+ identities with their pupils, and create lasting cultural change in schools.

This project is part of the Catalyst and The National Lottery Community Fund COVID-19 Digital Response funding initiative; a partnership between The National Lottery Community Fund and CAST, supported by the Catalyst network.

Problem to solve

Our research suggests LGBT+ young people are more likely to have experienced significant disadvantage during the Covid-19 crisis. 

The new changes to the Relationships, Health and Sex Education (RHSE) curriculum will make it compulsory for schools in England and Scotland to deliver a LGBT+ inclusive curriculum from April 2021 (Wales from September 2022), which will likely improve the experience of LGBT+ young people in education. 

However, less than 20% of educators nationwide have had training on LGBT+ issues, resulting in a national knowledge gap in this area. LGBT+ inclusion is not delivered consistently in UK schools, to the detriment of LGBT+ young people across the country. 

During our discovery work, educators revealed they did not have an accessible and easy way to obtain high quality LGBT+ inclusive educational resources, which are curriculum-based and unique, relevant and intersectional.

They also highlighted that resources used needed to be editable/adaptable, to ensure they could meet the needs of their pupils. Users also revealed that LGBT+ training for educators would enable their colleagues to talk more confidently about LGBT+ issues, leading to lasting cultural change in schools.

Who are the users and what do they need to do

The users are school/college educators across the UK who are seeking to deliver LGBT+ inclusive curriculum-based lessons in their schools and/or want to be better equipped to talk about LGBT+ identities.
User needs statements: 
As an educator:

  • when I need to address LGBT+ issues in the classroom, I need high quality curriculum-based LGBT+ inclusive resources that are unique, relevant and intersectional, so that I can meet the educational needs of my pupils.
  • I need LGBT+ resources to be differentiated and easily editable/adaptable, so that all of my pupils are able to benefit from LGBT+ inclusive education (e.g. by age, special educational needs, english as an additional language etc.).
  • I want my colleagues to be able to access LGBT+ training, which provides them with the tools to talk about LGBT+ identities and create a lasting cultural change in schools.

Specifically, during discovery (Phase 1), educators revealed that they did not know where to find LGBT+ inclusive resources online to help them deliver lessons to their students. Most of the resources they were able to find were not curriculum-based nor easily adaptable to enable them to deliver impactful lessons. Prototyping also revealed that the structure and functionality of commonly used learning platforms, training courses and databases were not as user friendly or useful as they needed

Key outcomes/ outputs/ deliverables

We require further testing of prototypes, but have a clear key output:  a brief featuring preferred specifications of our new website, which we expect will include a resources database and learning platform. This brief will be informed by research and prototyping and will include:

  • Suggested key components which will maximise engagement from our users, such as how learning activities will be best structured
  • Priority content for us to focus on, informed by educators
  • An example user journey, or user journeys
  • Guidance as to how we can meet accessibility needs of our users
  • Suggestions for creating something sustainable, future-proofed and which works across different browsers and devices
  • Suggested search functions
  • Consideration of data capture needs

Key project resources