The creators of the controversial documentary, ‘Gayby Baby’, have introduced a new curriculum resource for schools in a push to make schools more inclusive for students who have same-sex parents.
The resource – which will be made available to download from May 11 – is a collaboration involving the film’s producers, philanthropic groups and education experts.
The Gayby Baby Schools Action Toolkit will be launched this week, with the backing of the Victorian Government. The state’s Equality Minister, Martin Foley, said the resource “fits with our notion that to be a successful and equal society then there has to be a place for everyone”.
Last year, the NSW Government placed a temporary ban on schools showing the film, following a backlash by some parents and conservative groups.
In August, NSW Education Minister Piccoli directed the Department to ensure the film was not shown in school hours, saying it had no place in the curriculum.
“Schools are not places for political issues to be aired,” Piccoli told 2GB Radio.
“During school hours we expect them to be doing maths and English and curriculum matters. This movie is not part of the curriculum and that's why I've made that direction.”
Maya Newell, a former student of Burwood Girls High School and director of the documentary, said that despite opposition to the film, the fact that so many children are being raised by same-sex parents deserved attention – and education around the issue.
“In some ways it makes you want to get the positive messages out about families even more,” she told The Age.
“It's 2016 and something like 30% of children are not raised by biological heterosexual parents, so we're not just talking about children in same-sex families, but also divorced families and kinship families and so on.”
Newell added that not only would this be the first resource to represent same-sex families, it would also be something that could “really dive deep into family diversity as a topic”.
Lesson plans – which are tailored for either primary school students in Years five and six, or high school students in Years seven to 10 – pose questions such as “What is a Family?”; “How can overcoming challenges influence how we feel about ourselves?”; and “How Does the media influence our attitudes, beliefs and behaviours?”
Teachers will also be given strategies and tools to help make schools more inclusive: 10,000 “family diversity” posters, for instance, will be sent out this week to display in classrooms or in school buildings and halls.