We get a lot of questions about what taking part in the Rainbow Flag Award involves and how it impacts schools and colleges. Why not hear it yourself, from folks that have taken part in the programme?

Other Frequently Asked Questions:


How is this different to the LGBT+ inclusive programs offered by other organisations?

Our foundations are in youth work, focusing on the wellbeing of LGBT+ young people. In the creation of the Rainbow Flag Award we have drawn first hand from the experiences of the young people that access our services, and their youth workers, teachers, and leaders in education. This means that our work is live and fresh, representing what is happening for LGBT+ young people right now. We continuously reflect upon our work and take actions to improve the resources we offer to our schools and youth groups. The money coming into the organisations delivering The Rainbow Flag Award, from you investing in our pioneering resources, is reinvested back into LGBT+ youth services and inclusive education development.


Do LGBT+ people not have equality? Shouldn’t we treat all of our students the same way?

The Rainbow Flag Award is not promoting treating LGBT+ students differently to others but ensuring positive LGBT+ inclusion.

Although laws and educational guidance are changing to be more LGBT+ inclusive, there continues to be many areas within schools where LGBT+ students are overlooked.

  • Can your LGBT+ students and/or students from LGBT+ families talk about openly their life without fear of how others will react?
  • Can your LGB students learn about relevant, romantic relationships from the lessons which are currently delivered?
  • Can your LGB students learn about relevant, safe and healthy sexual relationships from the lessons which are currently delivered?
  • Does your curriculum reference LGBT+ specific role models your students can look up to?
  • Are your LGBT+ students confident that they will not be outed by staff?
  • Do your LGBT+ students know who they can turn to if they have identity related questions or issues, in or out of school?
  • Can your trans students use the bathroom without fear of discrimination?
  • Can your trans students use the changing facilities without stares, fears or anxiety?
  • Can your trans students be confident that staff and students will use their preferred pronouns and the name they give?

The Rainbow Flag Award supports schools and colleges to reflect on their policies and practices and take appropriate actions to ensure their LGBT+ students feel safe, welcome and respected. This must go beyond tolerance, or acceptance, we must move to equal and fair integration.


What is the purpose of the Rainbow Flag Award?

The Rainbow Flag Award is a national quality assurance framework for all schools and colleges, focusing on positive LGBT+ inclusion and visibility. The Rainbow Flag Award encourages a whole organisation approach to LGBT+ inclusion through a process of action and reflection.

Students who identify as LGBT+ have, on average, lower than national attendance and are less likely to follow study into higher education.

The 2018 National LGBT Survey conducted by the Government Equalities Office identified that there continues to be a lack of LGBT+ inclusion in schools and LGBTphobia continues to be ever present. Due to discrimination many LGBT+ students face in schools, the health and wellbeing of students who identify as LGBT+ is being put at risk. As a result, LGBT+ young people have lower than national average attendance and attainment.

To ensure LGBT+ students feel safe and welcome in all aspects of their educational experience, actions to target the LGBTphobia in schools needs to come from all angles; the teaching staff, the students, the pastoral team, the leadership team, the parents and the governors. The Rainbow Flag Award provides guidance and support to help a school with this process to tackle LGBTphobia, inspire and support your LGBT+ students and improve the understanding our young people have of the LGBT+ community. With a more inclusive school community we hope that you will see an improvement in the attendance and academic progress of your LGBT+ students.


We are worried about how parents/carers may react to us teaching about LGBT+ life…

The Rainbow Flag Award is not promoting treating LGBT+ students differently to others but including them and ensuring they feel safe, welcome and respected in your school/college.

According to Ofsted there are five fundamental British Values that are to be promoted by all those involved in a child’s education. Two of the values are respect and tolerance. Around 2 in 10 people identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual, you absolutely will have students and families who are a part of this community. It is paramount that we teach everyone the importance of respecting and integrating one another, regardless of differences in race, religion, faith, sexuality, etc.

Another of the British Values is individual liberty, helping students to recognise their rights and the rights of others. Under The Equality Act, sex, sexual orientation and gender reassignment are all protected characteristics, making it against the law to discriminate against a person on these characteristics.


Our school is different to the others that have been awarded the Rainbow Flag Award, I don’t think this is for us…

The Rainbow Flag Award is not prescriptive, we do not tell you what to do, and there is no one way of achieving meaningful LGBT+ inclusion. Through a process of reflection, looking at the needs of your students, staff, and wider communities, you will take actions specific to your school/college. We support you in identifying your strengths and weaknesses, and provide training and resources specific to your needs, to support you in your journey to becoming a more inclusive and welcoming place for LGBT+ students, LGBT+ staff and LGBT+ families.


Why is the Rainbow Flag Award needed?

Approximately 2 in every 10 of your students will identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual, and more who identify as trans or non-binary. We must ensure that all of our young people feel safe, welcome and respected within their schools and colleges. Unfortunately, according to the 2018 National LGBT Survey undertaken by the Government Equalities Office there continues to be a lack of LGBT+ inclusion within schools.

  • LGBTphobic bullying continues to persist with lesbian, gay and bisexual young people twice as likely to be bullied in secondary school compared to their heterosexual peers.
  • LGBT+ students do not feel their needs are addressed, particularly in regards to Relationships and Sex Education.
  • Almost a tenth of all the LGBTphobic serious incidents reported in the findings were committed by teaching staff.
  • 83% of the serious incidents reported in the findings were unreported in schools with the most common reasons stated as ‘nothing would happen or change’ and it ‘happens all the time’.
  • Only 13% of trans respondents said their teachers were very or somewhat understanding.

For some students these could be daily experiences that will severely impact upon their health and wellbeing. These experiences result in the attendance of LGBT+ young people falling below the national average. Evidence supports the link between attendance and progress and attainment.

The Rainbow Flag Award is not here to put the lives of LGBT+ people ahead of others but support you in ensuring they feel included, safe and respected in your school.


How can the Rainbow Flag Award improve attendance?

Due to LGBTphobic bullying in schools, the health and wellbeing of students who identify as LGBT+ is being put at risk. As a result, LGBT+ young people have lower than national average attendance.

The department for education found that pupils with no absence are 3.1 times more likely to achieve level 5 or above at KS2 compared to those who had an attendance of 90% and below, and 2.2 times more likely to achieve 5+ GCSEs 9-4 than those who had an attendance rate of 85% and below.

Ensuring your LGBT+ students and staff feel safe, respected and included in your school community demonstrates a commitment to their wellbeing and so their attendance and progress.


How can the Rainbow Flag Award impact progress and attainment?

Public Health England has outlined the link between pupil health and wellbeing with attainment. Key points from this briefing included:

  • Pupils with better health and wellbeing are likely to achieve better academically.
  • The culture, ethos and environment of a school influences the health and wellbeing of pupils and their readiness to learn.

Ensuring your LGBT+ students and staff feel safe, respected and included in your school community demonstrates a commitment to their wellbeing and so their attendance and progress.


How does this link to the changes in the statutory Relationships and Sex Education guidance?

From September 2020 the changes in regards to statutory Relationships Education and Relationships and Sex Education come into full force. These changes require schools to ensure their teaching of LGBT+ is fully integrated into the curriculum and is no longer delivered as a standalone lesson or unit.

To support your teaching staff with their workload, membership to the Rainbow Flag Award includes access to multiple LGBT+ inclusive lessons and resources that can be used and adapted for your classroom. Guidance and training can be provided to support your teaching and non-teaching staff to positively include LGBT+ identities and themes across the curriculum to ensure inclusivity. They will gain the skills, confidence and resources needed to teach about recognising and addressing LGBTphobic bullying.


What are the possible Relationships and Sex Education objectives that the Rainbow Flag Award meets?

The Rainbow Flag Award could support you in meeting the following RSE objectives:

29. Provisions within the Equality Act allow schools to take positive action, where it can be shown that it is proportionate, to deal with particular disadvantages affecting one group because of a protected characteristic.

30. Schools should be alive to issues such as everyday sexism, misogyny, homophobia and gender stereotypes and take positive action to build a culture where these are not tolerated, and any occurrences are identified and tackled. Staff have an important role to play in modelling positive behaviours. School pastoral and behaviour policies should support all pupils.

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT):

36. In teaching Relationships Education and RSE, schools should ensure that the needs of all pupils are appropriately met, and that all pupils understand the importance of equality and respect. Schools must ensure that they comply with the relevant provisions of the Equality Act 2010, (please see The Equality Act 2010 and schools: Departmental advice), under which sexual orientation and gender reassignment are amongst the protected characteristics.

37. Schools should ensure that all of their teaching is sensitive and age appropriate in approach and content. At the point at which schools consider it appropriate to teach their pupils about LGBT, they should ensure that this content is fully integrated into their programmes of study for this area of the curriculum rather than delivered as a standalone unit or lesson. Schools are free to determine how they do this, and we expect all pupils to have been taught LGBT content at a timely point as part of this area of the Curriculum.


I don’t think the staff at my school have the experience to create inclusive resources…

The Rainbow Flag Award takes a whole-organisation approach to ensure LGBT+ inclusivity in all aspects of a student’s educational experience. Membership includes access to multiple LGBT+ positive resources that can be used and adapted for your classroom. You have access to WAGOLL and examples of good practice from other schools which have been awarded the Rainbow Flag Award, that can support you in the development of your own lessons. We also offer a Resource Checker service, which we suggest you use initially, which provides feedback on the inclusivity and content of your classroom resources.


How does this link to Ofsted’s expectations?

According to Ofsted there are five fundamental British Values that are to be promoted by all those involved in a child’s education. Two of the values are respect and tolerance. Around 2 in 10 people identify as LGB, you will have students and families who are a part of this community. It is paramount that we teach everyone the importance of respecting and tolerating one another regardless of differences in race, religion, faith, sexuality, etc.

Another of the British Values is individual liberty, helping students to recognise their rights and the rights of others. Under The Equality Act sex, sexual orientation and gender reassignment are all protected characteristics, making it against the law to discriminate against a person for any of these reasons.


What does my membership to the Rainbow Flag Award include?

First year is membership £495 (plus VAT where applicable).

Click here to see what is included.


How do we sign up to the Rainbow Flag Award?

To apply to become Rainbow Flag Award school or college or find out what else we can do to support you, please contact us at: rainbowflagaward@theproudtrust.org


How is your school/college supported through the process and what does the whole-organisation approach entail?

It is a whole organisation approach involving your teachers, pastoral team, leadership, governors, parents and pupils, ensuring the inclusion of LGBT+ is all aspects of your work. Click on the Rainbow Flag Award area to find out what the section entails:

Together we can ensure students in your school feel free from LGBTphobia, feel their identity is respected and feel safe and secure in your care.


Why choose us to support you in this journey?

The Rainbow Flag Award is delivered by a series of charitable organisations, with years of experience of working with and supporting LGBT+ young people. Our focus is ensuring positive LGBT+ inclusion at all levels by working collaboratively with various organisations. Unlike other groups/organisations, any income generated by the award is reinvested into LGBT+ youth services.