Making school facilities inclusive
Ensuring students have options when it comes to navigating the use of facilities in your school, communicating those options and empowering people to choose, will significantly improve their wellbeing and sense of belonging.
Making sure people are able to use facilities that align with their gender identity is vital to creating an inclusive and supporting culture at your school.
Where this isn’t possible, we strongly suggest providing inclusive private spaces for individuals to use. Good practice in this area includes:
- Making all individual toilets inclusive toilets
- Providing all gender toilet options
- Providing individual changing spaces for students who do not feel comfortable with communal changing spaces
- If individual spaces aren’t available, communicate all other options with the individual which may include; time slots for smaller changing groups or individuals, using ‘staff’ spaces or even wearing their PE kit to school so changing isn’t necessary
Communicate your commitment
Once your school has made the commitment to be more gender inclusive it is important that you communicate this with your wider school community and highlight any changes you have made as a result.
Celebrate inclusive changes
Celebrating making spaces and practises more gender inclusive is a great way of showing your commitment to your trans, non-binary and gender exploring school community. Communicating changes to facilities, practices or spaces will help trans, non-binary and gender-exploiting students navigate previously challenging elements of school without having to repeatedly ‘out’ themselves.
Be creative and gender sensitive when making groups
It is important that teachers avoid grouping students by their gender wherever possible. Where this is not yet possible, it is important students are able to work with the gender group that aligns with their gender identity without challenge.
Opportunities to address discomfort
Some students (or parents) may feel uncomfortable with a transgender student using gendered facilities. This discomfort is not a reason not to adopt the good practice approaches above. This is, however, an opportunity for the school to work with parents and students to communicate the importance of creating an inclusive culture of inclusion, as well as to educate on the importance of supporting trans, non-binary and gender-exploiting students.
Please see our ‘Talking to Families’ section for more guidance on how to communicate with parents, guardians and wider families.