By working together we can create an enlightened environment, where everyone can be who they want to be, without fear of discrimination” Elly Barnes
Students from Turves Green Girls School in Northfield, Birmingham collaborated with local musician and songwriter ViX (aka Victoria Perks, former lead singer/songwriter of internationally successful all-girl band “We’ve got a FUZZBOX and we’re gonna use it!!”), to write and record original songs that challenge homophobia as part of the Educate and Celebrate initiative.
Educate and Celebrate is a teacher-training program devised by Elly Barnes to make all schools LGBT friendly and is the official teacher-training program for the charity Schools Out UK. Educate and Celebrate gives teachers the confidence and resources to challenge homophobia, biphobia and transphobia and engages students in an inclusive LGBT curriculum. Ofsted has recognized the program as demonstrating ‘Best practice’ in successfully tackling homophobic bullying. Elly Barnes delivered an Educate and Celebrate workshop at the BCASE Birmingham Education Conference earlier this year.
“Educate and Celebrate – Live In The Studio” is being released internationally by student record label Forerunner Records, to raise awareness of, and to challenge homophobic bullying in schools. It includes original material written by pupils at Turves Green Girls School and also features the Educate & Celebrate anthem “Say It Loud” penned by ViX herself, and fellow Birmingham musician Geoff Hornsby. All proceeds from the sales of the EP will go to Schools Out UK to fund further projects in education.
The songwriting project at TGGS was a direct result of the Birmingham local authority initiative to challenge homophobic bullying and broaden diversity in the curriculum in Birmingham schools. Songs from the Educate & Celebrate EP were debuted at the ‘Birmingham Schools Showcase’, a new annual event established to encourage all schools to celebrate LGBT History Month every February.
“Educate and Celebrate – Live In The Studio” will be released worldwide on Saturday 25th May, when there will be another chance to hear the “Say It Loud” anthem being performed live at Birmingham Pride on the Community Stage on the same day at 2.40pm.