Shaun Dellenty – LGBT+ rights
Shaun Dellenty is the Founder of the LGBT+ in education programme ‘Inclusion For All’ and a London Primary School Deputy Headteacher.
As a survivor of serious homophobic bullying as a child, I was mortified on finding in 2009 that 75% of the primary aged pupils in our own London school were experiencing homophobia and the use of the word ‘gay’ as a negative term on a daily basis. In direct response I ‘came out’ to our whole school community recounting my own story of coming very close to ending my own life due to homophobia back in the 1980s.
In addition, I devised a training programme for education professionals called ‘Inclusion For All’ which I first delivered to great acclaim in my own school, then across other London boroughs and now to well over 10,000 education professionals in the UK alone. I have been afforded the privilege of working with some of the most respected national anti-bullying and human rights organisations. My work is now recommended for faith schools by the Church of England and has featured on national children’s television and wider press. In May 2016 I was honoured with three major awards in the same week: Education Champion at the Excellence In Diversity Awards, the Mayor of Southwark’s Highest Civic Honour at Southwark Cathedral and a Point of Light Award given to me in person by Prime Minister David Cameron at 10 Downing Street. It was a quite overwhelming time, but wonderful that my cause was being validated in this manner.
Since being honoured with my Points of Light award I have continued to develop my work in order to reach as many young people and teachers as possible, thus I have been collaborating with HyperFusion Theatre Company on a ground-breaking theatre in education production ‘BOY; which aims to tackle emergent LGBT+ in schools and communities; the play was also performed in the Houses of Parliament for anti-bullying week and we are in talks to take the play to the London stage.
I am also writing a book about my life and journey and hope to release this next year. I am also continuing to pursue my work further afield and overseas, I will be delivering Inclusion For All teacher training sessions on the Isle of Man later this year and have been invited to speak in Orlando. I have also very much appreciated the ongoing contact and support from the Points of Light team, it is lovely to know that there are people out there who might not know you that well, but who still take the time to check in from time to time and see how things are going.
My advice to anyone being honoured with Points of Light status is to be very proud of all you have achieved and use the experience to energise your journey. I read many inspiring stories of other Points of Light winners which never fail to inspire or move me. In reaching this point in your journey it is important I think to take stock, to celebrate your achievements and then use the award as a jumping off point for the next stages in your journey. Winning awards is not what motivates us, however when your hard work is recognised it provides a natural opportunity for self-compassion and reflection before the next stage.
Follow Shaun on Twitter at @ShaunDellenty
Inclusion For All on Facebook
The daily Points of Light award recognises outstanding individual volunteers - people who are making a change in their community.Volunteer now