Date
14 October 2019

Provide support systems for students and whānau

Suggestion for implementing the strategy ‘Design inclusive school-wide systems and processes’

Develop shared expectations

Develop shared expectations

Define together with students and whānau the building blocks of an inclusive culture.

Ask, what would we expect to see, feel, have access to?

  • Develop comprehensive, safe-school policies that include the voice of whānau who identify as LGBTIQA+.
  • Engage in a collaborative process with students, parents, and whānau to develop school policies and systems.
  • Consult with parents and whānau in ways appropriate to each school community, such as surveys, hui, fono, or parent meetings.
  • Have clear processes in place to ensure families receive assistance should issues of harassment or bullying occur.
  • Create safe spaces and access to an informed, knowledgeable, and supportive person.
  • Provide easy access to relevant materials, resources, and support services.
  • 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 (opens in a new tab/window)

Consider the needs of students and whānau

Consider the needs of students and whānau

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

Strategies to support students

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:

  • delivering school-wide, comprehensive sexuality education
  • providing health education across all year levels
  • integrating relevant content across curriculum areas
  • providing easy access to appropriate and relevant information
  • using supportive, gender-inclusive images in posters and advertising for school events
  • providing access to adults who understand health and medical issues
  • ensuring that all students are aware of key staff members they can approach for support
  • reassuring students of confidentiality and respect for their privacy
  • providing opportunities to ask questions anonymously
  • working in partnership with transgender students to ensure their transition is supported, respected, and affirmed
  • responding sensitively to time out of school for attending medical appointments
  • developing supportive plans to ensure students are able catch up on assignments and learning missed due to outside-school appointments.

Source: Affirming diversity (opens in a new tab/window)

Provide information on support agencies

Provide information on 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.
  • OUTLindeNZ – 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.
  • ITANZ – a NZ registered charitable trust that provides information, education and training for organisations and professionals who provide services to intersex people and their families.

Useful resources

Useful resources

Rainbow families School support guide

Rainbow families: School support guide

Read time: 59 min

Publisher: Rainbow Families

Download PDF

File

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

Read time: 11 min

Publisher: Outline

Download PDF

File

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

Read time: 11 min

Publisher: National Association of School Psychologists

Download PDF

Next steps

More suggestions for implementing the strategy “Design inclusive school-wide systems and processes”:

Return to the guide “Supporting LGBTIQA+ students”

Guide to Index of the guide: LGBTIQA+ students

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