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Examining the Issues in 'Boys Don’t Try?'

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Old Boy Hadley Stewart (2007 to 2014) returned to the Boys’ Division to lead focus groups for staff and pupils about LGBTQ+ topics and gender stereotypes. The discussions were based around his contribution to Boys Don't Try? Rethinking Masculinity in Schools, a book by Matt Pinkett and Mark Roberts which was released on the day he spoke with pupils. Hadley’s chapter is titled ‘Masculinity and Homosexuality in Schools’.

Representatives from all Boys’ Division year groups attended the lunchtime session. Hadley brought up a range of issues and questions and asked pupils to discuss in pairs before sharing their ideas with the whole focus group. The conversation linked in several places with current affairs, for example touching on the recent parent protests at a school which included discussions of same-sex relationships while teaching children about diversity and equality.

Pupils engaged with the subjects Hadley put forward for discussion and made mature and thoughtful contributions throughout. They shared their ideas on challenging discriminatory language, mental health amongst LGBTQ+ young people and the impact of gender stereotypes.

On the previous day, Hadley met with members of staff to facilitate a similarly constructive focus group around the same themes as part of staff INSET training.

Hadley is a freelance writer and broadcaster specialising in LGBT+ issues and health. He has written for publications including Attitude, FS, Out News Global, NBC News, the Nursing Standard, PinkNews and The Queerness and recently appeared in the BBC Three documentary Queer Britain.

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