OLDHAM-born gay rights activist Mark Ashton will form the opening lesson for a new educational resource pack being syndicated to teachers, parents and youth leaders as part of 2021’s LGBT+ History Month celebrations.

Ashton, who formed the group Lesbian and Gays Support the Miners (LGSM) in 1984, began collecting money and raising awareness of the miners’ plight amongst the LGBT+ community.

LGSM built strong links to the mining communities of South Wales, in particular Dulais. The money they raised was used to support miners and their families throughout the strike.

The story makes up part of a free resource pack to engage young people during LGBT+ History Month, which takes place during February each year.

Teachers, youth group leaders and parents or carers who now find themselves home-schooling, can all download the resource pack free of charge from here: https://www.theproudtrust.org/training-and-education/secondary-education-resources/lgbt-history-month/.

Developed by educational professionals from The Proud Trust in conjunction with Schools Out UK, the LGBT+ History Month pack is focused around this year’s theme of Body, Mind and Spirit and will allow pupils to discover concepts that they may not have previously linked to LGBT+ people.

Digital assets can be downloaded separately so that lessons can be delivered in person or digitally during coronavirus restrictions.

Also being rolled out in early 2021, thanks to support from United Utilities, is The Rainbow Flag Award Classroom - a free set of LGBT+ inclusive lesson plans and resources that link to the national curriculum.

Lessons have been developed across all key stages and all curriculum areas. The aim is to take LGBT+ awareness out of simply being delivered during PSHE or RSE programmes and into all subject areas – giving schools a sprinkling of LGBT+ people and lives through the entire curriculum. Again, all of these resources are free to download and use now for home-schooling purposes.

With LGBT+ History Month beginning on February 1, it is hoped it will be a valuable resource for teachers juggling extra demands of remote and school learning in the initial months of 2021.

Also included in the pack is figure skating icon John Curry who was Olympic and world champion in 1976.

Rachel Williams, training manager at The Proud Trust said: “Every year the Proud Trust creates free resources to support teachers and schools for LGBT+ History Month in association with Schools OUT UK.

“This year, even more than usual, we’re hoping this will be a valuable resource for schools and teachers who are stretched and may not have had time to plan how they will deliver LGBT+ history during February.

“There’s no catch, it’s a resource that’s completely free to use, with no charge now or down the line and it’s available now and ready to use right away. With another national lockdown in place, we think the pack could be a very useful tool for parents too who are home schooling and searching for free, engaging and inclusive content developed to educational standards. And the best thing is that this is just one of the free resources available.”

The 2021 LGBT+ History Month resource pack is part of a raft of educational resources provided by The Proud Trust in association with partner groups, that help to achieve its wider aims of celebrating LGBT+ people in all their diversity, making LGBT+ inclusive lessons a part of the national curriculum and ultimately educating out prejudice.

Rachel Williams continued: “Often, we find that schools want to provide LGBT+ inclusive lessons within the curriculum yet staff don’t really know how to approach it within subjects outside of those that focus on personal and social development – that’s why we created The Rainbow Flag Award Classroom as a further free resource to weave LGBT+ awareness into the everyday and further help to reduce prejudice through education.”