Last Updated: Thursday, June 11, 2020

Gender equality for primary schools

What is this?

Find out about a gender equality project at Dalmellington Primary School, East Ayrshire, which led to the development of a toolkit resource to support embedding gender equality into school policy, ethos and curriculum.

Who is this for?

Primary school practitioners and school leaders.

Explore this practice exemplar

Who was involved?

Staff from East Ayrshire Council Health and Wellbeing Team, NHS Ayrshire and Arran, East Ayrshire Women’s Aid and staff and pupils from Dalmellington Primary School.

Why?

The project was developed based on the Educational Institute for Scotland paper Getting it Right for Girls and in response to both local and national policy including Equally Safe (2016), the Scottish Governments strategy to prevent and eradicate violence against women and girls, and an approach to recognising and realising children's rights, of which gender equality is a crucial element.

The importance of gender equality for learning and teaching

What was done?

Key partners were engaged at the outset, including pupils, school staff, parents and carers and the wider community.

Pupils and staff took part in information sessions exploring their understanding of gender equality and unconscious bias. Engagement sessions were held with staff and the parent community to raise awareness of the project and explore gender inequality and stereotypes further.

Staff were given the opportunity to reflect on the classroom environment, resources and teaching practice. They highlighted good practice and identified areas for development.

For example reflecting on language used in the classroom such as “I need a strong boy to carry this for me” and conducting an audit of resources and materials e.g. ‘Do story books reinforce stereotypes through their characters?’, ‘Are the play areas underpinning stereotypes with girls playing ‘house’ and boys doing construction?’

A pupil group, known as Gender 10 was set up where the pupils learned about gender inequality and equality, and developed a pupil action plan to share with the whole school. These pupils became gender equality champions and have amongst other things:

  • ran a logo competition;
  • developed a gender equality wall;
  • developed and delivered peer education sessions;
  • carried out an audit of the school environment and resources.

Impacts

A toolkit was produced which provides guidance and practical examples of how to use a whole school approach to embed gender equality into school policy, ethos and the curriculum. The toolkit aims to create a culture where young people are empowered to challenge inequality and promote respect for all.
A number of actions were taken, based on the audit, to improve gender equality.

Gender Equality is now integral to the school policy, ethos and teaching practice.

PDF file: Gender 10 Toolkit (3.3 MB)

Classroom activities and the impact on learners

Community partnerships

The Gender 10 committee

The role of effective leadership in promoting gender equality

Improvement questions

  • Have I reflected upon gender inequality in my school and teaching practice?
  • Are their current areas of good practice and areas that can be further developed?
  • How could the development of gender equality in my practice support the learning, attainment and wellbeing of my pupils?