College’s safe space for LGBTI+ students

Scariff Community College is the first school in Co. Clare to sign up to participate in a new national LGBTI+ Safe & Supportive Schools Project.

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Scariff Community College and 19 other schools nationwide are leading the way by partnering with BeLonGTo Youth Services to undertake its LGBTI+ Safe & Supportive Schools Project, a ground-breaking whole-school approach to creating a school environment that is fully inclusive of LGBTI+ students, thus changing the lives of thousands of young people across Ireland.

BeLonG To Youth Services is the national organisation supporting LGBTI+ young people in Ireland. Findings from its Schools Climate Survey 2019 indicate that an alarming 73% of LGBTI+ students feel unsafe at school. While 68% of LGBTI+ students stated they hear anti-LGBTI+ remarks from other students, a shocking 48% reported hearing homophobic remarks – and a further 55% reported hearing transphobic remarks – from teachers and staff members.

Speaking at the launch of the programme, Angela McNamara, Principal, Scariff Community College says:“Schools should prioritise the wellbeing of all students and staff. We hope that in adopting this programme we can create an environment in which LGBTI+ feel safe, supported and respected.”

The Safe & Supportive Schools Project spans people, policies and practices; its pioneering holistic approach means systematic positive supports are put in place across six key areas;

Staff Organisation & Development

Policy & Planning


Safe & Supportive Environment

Community Partnership

Direct Support To Young People

BeLonG To provides Programme Coordination Training for senior management and LGBTI+ awareness training for all staff members, a Toolkit and Resource Pack with everything needed to become an accredited school. Ongoing mentorship support from BeLonG To’s Education and Training Coordinator. The project is not exclusively focused on the school but also working with the community outside the school gates, including any local LGBTI+ youth projects/groups, parents and community organisations to promote a wider LGBTI+ inclusive community.This project is supported by Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI) and funding has been made available by through the 2019 Impact Challenge on Safety and the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.

Moninne Griffith CEO, BeLonG To Youth Services says: “Our school years help to shape who we are and who we can become. We are proud to support Scariff Community College as they begin their journey towards becoming a school that is fully inclusive of LGBTI+ students. LGBTI+ young people need to feel equal, safe and supported at school so that they can live healthy lives and thrive at school. Today we celebrate Scariff Community College for taking the lead and joining our new national project to ensure that school is a safe and supportive space for all students.”

BeLonG To Youth Services is the national organisation supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI+) young people in Ireland. Since 2003, BeLonG To has worked with LGBTI+ young people to create a world where they are equal, safe and valued in the diversity of their identities and experiences. The organisation also advocates and campaigns on behalf of young LGBTI+ people, and offers a specialised LGBTI+ youth service with a focus on mental and sexual health, alongside drug and alcohol outreach. Learn more about the BelonG To LGBTI+ Safe and Supportive Schools Project. T: 01 670 6223 E:



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