About the program
Safe Schools Coalition Australia is a program dedicated to supporting schools to be safer and more inclusive for same sex attracted, intersex and gender diverse young people. It is the first national coalition that brings together the whole school community – school staff, students and families – to create learning environments that support sexual diversity, intersex and gender diversity.
Joining Safe Schools Coalition Australia is free. By joining the coalition, schools are committing to building a school that is free from homophobic and transphobic bullying, and that’s safe and inclusive for all students and staff. After joining, schools are provided with a range of services and supports from a local service provider that are tailored to meet their needs.
These services and supports include:
- Professional development tailored to school and staff needs, experience and expertise
- Activities and events to inspire and support young people to lead change in schools.
- Consultation, guidance, and support around specific issues and concerns
- Printed and digital resources for school staff and students which provide the tools to respond to homophobia and transphobia and to actively support gender diversity, intersex and sexual diversity
- Staff and student audits, to help schools get a clearer picture of what’s happening in the school and to track progress
The program is now nationally funded by the Australian Government Department of Education and builds on the National Safe Schools Framework, which has been endorsed by all ministers for education. Through the Foundation for Young Australians, the program will fund delivery partners in every state and territory to work with local schools.
Safe Schools Coalition Australia builds on the highly successful Safe Schools Coalition Victoria model at Gay and Lesbian Health Victoria, which has already worked with thousands of school staff and students.
Objectives of the program
The primary objective of Safe Schools Coalition Australia is to contribute to all Australia schools becoming safe, supportive and respectful learning communities that optimise student wellbeing and learning outcomes.
Recent Australian research shows that 75 per cent of same sex attracted and gender diverse young people have experienced homophobic or transphobic bullying and that 80 per cent have experienced it schools. The program aims to reduce the amount of bullying that occurs in school by providing the resources and support for staff and students to lead positive change at a local and systemic level.
Meeting this broad goal includes:
- Increasing support and active inclusion in schools;
- Increasing knowledge, understanding and awareness in the school community about the needs of same sex attracted, intersex and gender diverse (SSAIGD) young people;
- Providing high quality resources to support inclusive practice;
- Improving awareness of legislation and policies that support inclusion and protect young people from discrimination;
- Advocating for increased government leadership in supporting SSAIGD inclusion in schools across all Australian jurisdictions;
- Providing opportunities for young people to take on leadership and change-making roles in improving SSAIGD inclusion in schools; and
- Improving the consistency and quality of resources, initiatives and processes used to tackle homophobia and transphobia in schools.
Outcomes of the program
Young people who feel happy and safe achieve higher academic outcomes and have stronger social connections. They are less likely to suffer from a mental illness or engage in self-harming behaviours. By making schools safer and more inclusive, Safe Schools Coalition Australia contributes to the wellbeing and success of the whole school community and creates a more cohesive environment where staff and students feel inspired and equipped to drive continuous positive change.