Noel Bradley-Johnston


This study is in response to an interest into the experiences of young people who identify as members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) community in Northern Ireland. It sets out to research the experiences of LGBT young people in primary education in Northern Ireland, as well as the perceptions, experiences and approaches of primary teachers towards the exploration of LGBT issues in the classroom. The study used a “mixed-methods” approach to obtain data, which allowed a combination of quantitative and qualitative data to be acquired. This added objectivity and verification to the conclusions drawn from the results. The study has found that the experiences of LGBT young people in primary education in Northern Ireland are improving, but that they still face profound difficulties, due to the attitudes of society and the lack of progress in schools and the Northern Ireland Primary Curriculum. The overall conclusions are that in order for LGBT young people to thrive in primary schools in Northern Ireland, teachers need to be better prepared and supported through increased production of curricular resources, as exemplified by other schools and organisations around the world and in Northern Ireland, itself. This study therefore informs the production of a resource pack, Embracing the Rainbow[1], which will act as an aid to primary school teachers in the exploration of LGBT issues with their pupils. It also challenges The Council for Curriculum, Exams and Assessment (CCEA) to evaluate and improve its strategies for supporting teachers in this aspect of their pedagogy and pastoral role in schools.

[1]Enquiries about the resource can be made to Noel by this contact email - noeljbj@gmail.com -  but that it is hoped it will be available online in the near future