Shaun Dellenty: A brief history.

Shaun Dellenty came into this world on February 26th 1968 on the Dorset Isle of Portland. After a couple of years living directly within the beam of Portland Bill lighthouse, his family relocated to Stowe School in Buckingham before finally settling into the nearby village of Maids Moreton just in time for Shaun to commence primary education. After attending Maids Moreton Church of England School and Page Hill Middle School,Shaun relocated to the Leicestershire town of Lutterworth. Shaun attended Lutterworth High School and Lutterworth Grammar School and completed the first year of 6th form.

Having deciding to leave full time education Shaun took his first full time job as a singles buyer at Music Market (latterly Our Price) in Rugby. Shaun returned to school briefly to sit his A' levels. After two years Shaun left to work as a civil servant at the DHSS before moving onto the Town Planning Department of Rugby Borough Council.

Throughout this time Shaun was gaining onstage experience in a number of local productions, favourite roles included Tony in the Boyfriend, Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet, Cliff in Cabaret and Brick in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

In 1992 faced with a strong urge to follow his life- long dream and become an actor Shaun, heeding some very sensible advice from his Father, decided instead to train as a teacher. A four year course with Leicester University began, resulting in a number of highly successful teaching placements and even a job offer in his first year! Shaun specialized in Language Arts and Humanities.

To supplement his student income Shaun took a job at Coombe Abbey Medieval Banquets in Coventry. Here he soon worked his way up to the coveted 'Courte Chamberlain' role, performing to hundreds of people on a sometimes nightly basis. As Shaun's confidence and reputation as a comedian and quick thinking presenter grew he soon found himself working abroad, at promotional events around the country, on radio and television, on cruise ships, playing Capability Brown alongside Time Team's Tony Robinson, performing the Haka onstage with the All Blacks, leading student workshops, facilitating weddings and even performing in front of royalty.

Upon his successful graduation in 1996 Shaun began a year long teaching contract, teaching Years 6-8 at Goldings Middle School in Northampton. On completion of his first year teaching an opportunity arose for Shaun to tour the country in 'Heartbreak Productions' version of Macbeth, directed by Donald Sumpter. The resulting tour proved to be life changing and led to Shaun obtaining an Equity card, but on a personal note spelled the beginning of a transition of a twelve year relationship into a friendship.

Obtaining a theatrical agent, for the next four years Shaun worked his way from being little more than a non-speaking extra into lead roles in popular shows such as Crimewatch, Dalziel and Pascoe and Emmerdale. Shaun became a familiar face in the Midlands from appearances in adverts and corporate videos. Shaun's strong studio voice led him being in demand for voiceove r work, performing in a range of radio adverts and productions. Shaun also wrote and facilitated drama workshops for children and adults aged 4-24. Shaun also devised and performed a mostly improvised one man comedy show 'Alive and Kicking'.

Throughout this time, when not performing on TV or onstage, Shaun was in demand by schools across Leicestershire, Warwickshire and Northamptonshire. Shaun worked in a huge range of school contexts, rural, small towns and inner cities, teaching hundreds of pupils from nursery up to Year 8. Favourite long term teaching periods included Dunchurch Primary School, Gilmorton Primary School and Whitnash Primary School.

In 1999 change was in the air for Shaun, having been given his own current affairs show on BSkyB the show was cancelled when Sky bought out the company, a newly built set destroyed without ever being used. This unfortunate turn of events combined with Shaun leaving his theatrical agent and an increasing urge to experience new pastures meant that change was imminent.

In 2000 Shaun relocated to London almost overnight, his dreams of a hugely successful acting career suddenly seeming impractical and something to be relegated to the past. Shaun signed up with the supply teaching agency Teaching Personnel. One day, in July 2000, the phone rang and a voice offered one day supply in a 'lovely school in South London'.

The journey with Alfred Salter Primary School was about to begin.

My Experiences of Bullying and Education

I am always unsure about sharing my own experiences of being bullied, these experiences had a long term impact on me, but I am happy to say they were overcome and packaged away years ago. My own experiences of bullying inform my work, but they do not drive it by any means. The needs of the children in our schools today and in the future is what motivates me. Feedback from events where I have shared my experiences however, has shown that for some people my experiences prove powerful in making them understand what come children go through and to this end some of my experiences are included.

The 1960s

I was born in February 1968 on Portland Bill. At an early age my family moved to Stowe School in Buckinghamshire and we lived in a garden designed by Capability Brown, complete with ornamental 'haha' and temple. Ironically, many years later I would get to play Capability Brown as an actor. Growing up in such a beautiful place was very exciting to me, highlights included very snowy winters, swarming frogs, annual game fairs in the garden and the use of the house as a base for the filming of 'Love and Mr Lewisham.' These were magical and happy times for me. (Stowe School is now a National Trust concern and well worth a visit).

1970s

In 1972 my family moved to Maids Moreton, a small village just outside Buckingham. My memories of primary school are very clear, the smell of socks drying on the wired heater in the middle of the class-room, the frozen cream protruding from the milk bottles in the winter. I recall being a voracious reader, being slapped around the face by my teacher for getting my sums wrong and wanting to join country dancing club, much to the amusement of the rest of my class. I also recall other mums looking at me and saying 'isn't she pretty?' You see by the age of 4 I knew I was 'different'-I had no words, no concrete explanation as to why I felt different, but, to put it simply and honestly I knew I preferred Mr Biebrach to Miss Jones! Somehow I was already beginning to wonder if I had accidentally been dropped in from another planet. Being branded a 'softie' or a 'benny' (the local pejorative word for gay back then) was already becoming a regular occurrence.

At Page Hill Middle School I made the fundamental mistake early on of openly stating my love for Abba, Eurovision and a desire to do country dancing rather than sport. PE I hated with a passion. I felt awkward, ungainly and was constantly out of breath. But in my school, if you were not good at football, you were a loser or a 'poof'. There were books and activities for girls or for boys at school, but sometimes I wanted to do a bit of both; this seemed to cause anxiety for my parents, peers and teachers and so I struggled to deny some of the everyday things I enjoyed, such as cooking, poems and Abba! I went through puberty very early, it began around the age of nine. By the time I was at Middle School I was aware of tragically presented gay or stereotypical characters on the television and began joining the dots, the last of which connected to me. The word queer suddenly became a mantra in my head, a scary word that people only seemed to utter in mockery or disgust. Before I left Page Hill, one key thing happened that changed the course of my life; assembly featured a visit from an actor who talked about his career in inspirational terms. The next week I took a part in my first school play -suddenly I had something to aim for.

In late 1978 I transferred from the rural town of Buckingham to the larger more suburban town of Lutterworth. I was an instant outsider and the serious bullying began on the first day in the form of homophobic language and threats of violence. I never considered myself overtly camp or feminine, in fact I made conscious choices to be more masculine in the way I walked and sat; perhaps it was just a random put down that first day the 'effing queer' taunt, but to me who knew what I was, the taunt cut deep and made me fearful that somehow my secret was shining out of me and laying me open to more bullying.

Secondary school was, quite simply the worst experience of my life. My signing up for drama as an option made me an easy target and not a walk to school, a school day, or a walk home would pass by without some taunt from another pupil. Much of the bullying was written on fences, walls and bus shelters around the town, in very public places. I would often sneak out with a marker pen and attempt to rub out the comments about me before my parents saw them and began to question my preferences themselves. I can not emphasise enough the dread I felt in my heart that my parents would find out that actually there was truth to the graffiti. The fact that I was popular with the girls and had a string of 'girlfriends' who were just that, friends, confused my parents and seemed to make some of the other kids bully me even more. The bullying and homophobic language was not confined to my peers either, I can clearly recall breaking my ankle during a football match at the local playing field. 'Mr B' the PE teacher refused to believe me when I told him my ankle had snapped, he merely kicked my ankle and said 'Get up you bloody fairy' and had me walk the third of a mile back to school alone.

The 1980s

The early 1980s were an exciting time, the creativity and excitement of the New Romantic movement rippled into our town via Top of the Pops and Smash Hits magazine. With this came an attraction to Adam Ant, The Human League and other flamboyant acts. With my girl friends we experimented with fashion and eyeliner at the school disco, inevitably leading to threats of violence, actual violence and even someone coming to my home to threaten me on my doorstep whilst my parents sat watching television. The fear that my parents would discover my secret was very acute by this point and I made a decision that the best thing I could do was to conform. On the telly I could find no role models, the only gay characters were John Inman and Larry Grayson, overtly stereotypical characters who made me question my identify even further and led to the development of a particular kind of internalised homophobia within myself, which took years to overcome.

Out went New Romantic and in came the Mod Revival. The Jam and The Who were the order of the day, Quadrophenia and running around the housing estate shouting 'we are the mods'; all of this seemed to offer a masculine acceptance, a chance for me to be 'one of the boys'. In fact quite the opposite happened, the bullying intensified, to the point where walking to and from school made me physically sick. I can recall being egged and floured leaving a New Year disco, taunts of 'queer' and 'poser' echoing in my head.

By 1986 I was in 6th form and I had met a student who was openly gay - we are completely unsuited, but for me this was hugely significant, I was convinced he was the only gay person I would ever meet and so we started 'going out'. Around this time a news report was shown on the lunchtime news, which stated that gay men in America were dying of a new cancer called Gay Related Immune Deficiency- later to be called AIDS and claim the life of millions. AIDS became the new weapon in the arsenal of the bully and so my 'boyfriend' and I became the target of AIDS related bullying - being likened to Rock Hudson and being told we were going to die. The scary thing was, we did not know that we or other newly found gay friends were not going to die and every sneeze and every sore throat became the most frightening thing in the world. Listening to the church, the news and kids at school, maybe AIDS really was a punishment for me being born different. I kept wondering if I had lived before, in another life, and done something so terrible that I had been born gay as a punishment, one which AIDS would complete.

By 1987 and midway through my A Levels my parents found out through a rather convoluted sequence of events that I was gay. What followed was several days of virtual interrogation, suggestions of electro-convulsion therapy, psychiatric treatment, incorrect suggestions that I had been abused by a teacher or a relative and finally a year long ban from leaving the house unaccompanied. I hold no blame for my parents, they were acting in accordance with the information and values they held, informed by a complex web of generational, social and religious attitudes and prejudices.

I attempted to act in accordance with my parents wishes, I cut all ties with my 'boyfriend' and attempted to work towards my A'levels. Over the coming months I began to slide into depression, considering self harm and regularly hurling homophobic abuse at myself in the bathroom mirror. My motivation for life and for education began to slide away from under me and I began to opt of lessons, preferring to shut myself away from what I considered to be the wrong world for me to live in.

Then one day, in May 1987, I was called to the Head of 6th Form's Office to be taken to task for my absence from key lessons. Faced with having to explain myself I started to make up an excuse, but then something clicked in my head and I stated simply 'Sir I am gay and I am having a difficult time'. With that Sir's face reddened, he looked down embarrassed and I offered him a way out - 'Shall I leave Sir?' to which he said 'That might be best'.

And so in May 1987, I walked out of education for good- or so I thought...

Education:

1971-77 Maids Moreton Church School, Buckingham

1977-1978 Page Hill Middle School, Buckingham

1979-1982 Lutterworth High

1983-1987 Lutterworth Grammar School

1992-1996 Leicester University

2008-2009 National College for School Leadership

Qualifications:

B Ed (Hons) NPQH

Employment In Education

1996-1997 Goldings Middle School, Northampton

1997-2001 Over 40 schools in Leicestershire, Northampton, London and Warwickshire short and long term supply in variety of rural and inner city contexts

2001-present Alfred Salter Primary School (Y6 Class-teacher, Key Stage Two Manager, Literacy Coordinator, Continuing Professional Development Co-ordinator, Equalities Co-ordinator, Deputy Headteacher

2006-2009 Part time seconded literacy/ISP consultant for Southwark Children's Services

Shaun Dellenty of Inclusion For All -Biography February 2016

Shaun Dellenty is currently the Deputy Headteacher of Alfred Salter Primary School in the London Borough of Southwark; he is also a survivor of sustained homophobic bullying, leaving state education in 1987 with the full intention of taking his own life. In 2009, faced with worryingly high levels of homophobic bullying & language within the local community & at his own school Shaun ‘came out’ to his whole school community in assembly. Informed by his own experiences Shaun wrote the ‘Inclusion For All’ teacher training programme over Christmas 2010 and delivered it to all staff in his own school. Taking a wide ranging view of prejudice, IFA had a hugely positive impact in terms of reducing levels of all forms of prejudice related bullying in his own school. Shaun immediately offered the training to other local and national schools. Shaun’s work rapidly caught the attention of the Department For Education & Stonewall, both interested that such ground-breaking work was being undertaken in the primary education context. Invitations to address education professionals across the UK flooded in. Shaun also offered to tell his story in school assemblies, in churches, scout/youth groups & to anyone else who would listen, in an attempt to inspire lasting and positive change and offer hope to anyone who might be suffering from prejudice related bullying.

Shaun leads regular (not for profit) training for (amongst others) schools, teacher training providers, anti-bullying groups, police, faith groups & human rights groups across the UK and increasingly abroad. Recent invitations have included Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, USA and Armenia.

As of January 2016 Shaun had personally delivered training to at least 8,300 school staff in the UK and abroad and he has told his story to 1000s of students in school assemblies. Delegates at Shaun’s training sessions consistently rate them as ‘outstanding’ & 100% of delegates have stated they feel better equipped & inspired to effect lasting change in their own contexts following the sessions. Shaun has led training sessions for Teach First, NASUWT, NUT & NAHT, leading to him being invited onto the NAHT Equalities committee.

Shaun has spoken at a wide range of organisations including Stonewall, the National College of Teaching & Learning, the British Film Institute, NSPCC, Kidscape, Amnesty International, UCL/Institute of Education, Church of England, Deutsche Bank & he is in demand as a TEDx speaker. Shaun is a regular speaker at anti-bullying, IDAHOBIT, LGBT history month and Pride events. Shaun lectures on LGBT+ inclusion for many teacher training establishments including Open University, Teach First, Liverpool John Moores, Greenwich University, Bedford University, Derby University, Liverpool Hope University & London Southbank. In 2013 Shaun provided training for members of the House of Commons (rated ‘outstanding’) & Shaun supports the House of Commons LGBT network group ‘Parliout’ with ongoing LGBT education training. Shaun has led online webinars for NSPCC/Safer Networks. For the last 3 years Shaun has supported the Amnesty International Teacher Programme & he helped develop the Amnesty LGBTQ Education Pack released in February 2015. In 2012 OFSTED found IFA’s work to be ‘outstanding’ & on observing a one day IFA conference at Liverpool Hope in 2014 OFSTED found Shaun’s work to be ‘invaluable for every school’.

Shaun hosts regular Inclusion For All training days in London & he leads non for profit IFA regional conferences all around the UK; recent conferences have taken place in London, Liverpool, Gateshead, Dawlish, Birmingham, Wirral, Nottingham, Brighton with more planned around the UK and abroad. At these conferences schools are expected to invite all members of staff, in addition to inviting along other schools in their networks. Shaun also invites along local MPs, relevant council members and local hate crime & LGBT groups. These low cost, one day ‘pop up’ conferences aim to forge cohesion in regions and bring together teams around young people, staff and parents at risk of LGBT bullying; for example at a recent conference Shaun brought together local schools, OFSTED, the local hate crime lead officer & local LGBT Youth and local LGBT historical groups.

In lieu of formal funding Shaun uses social media to spread word & advertise his work and iPhone applications to make posters & slogan campaigns designed to raise awareness around issues such as the negative use of the word ‘gay.’ It was noted by the Huffington Post in 2014 that some of this ground-breaking work was later picked up by other LGBT groups. Shaun posts inspirational videos on his You Tube Channel aimed at professionals, parents & communities and hopes to inspire young people. In addition to his ‘visible’ work, Shaun also answers many emails via this website from around the world, some of which deal with harrowing examples of prejudice related bullying & violence. Shaun also supports many teachers on an individual basis who have suffered LGBT related bullying at work.

In 2012 writer EV Crowe & cast of the Royal Court Theatre production Hero (a play about an openly gay primary school teacher) observed Shaun leading anti-LGBT bullying sessions with primary pupils & subsequently wrote some of Shaun’s experiences into the play. In 2014 Shaun’s work was listed as a ‘recommended resource ‘in the Church of England guidance for faith schools on preventing homophobic bullying ‘Valuing All God’s Children.’ Shaun led a panel of students alongside the Archbishop of Canterbury, covered by the gay & national press/TV. Shaun works with Church of England & Catholic schools to help them meet the demands of the Equality Act & has spoken to students in predominately Muslim contexts. Shaun delivered anti-LGBT bullying assemblies to pupils on the CBBC TV series ‘Our School’ on national tea-time children’s television.

In 2014 Shaun spoke at the European Youth Center in Budapest for IGLYO/ OBESSA and his work is now having impact right across from Australia to Armenia. Also in 2014 Shaun contacted Osiris, one of the country’s leading providers of teacher training, suggesting they run training on preventing LGBT related bullying to which they agreed.

Shaun spoke at Times Educational Supplement Festival of Education in 2015. In the same year Shaun input on policy at the Parliamentary Education Committee for Families and Young People in preparation for the Election. He also spoke at ‘Inside Government’ in December 2015 and at the Lib-Dems LGBT conference in 2016. In 2015 Shaun worked with Nottingham City Secondary Education partnerships developing a city wide anti-LGBT bullying charter, a process he repeats at all IFA regional conferences.

Shaun’s work regularly features in the press, notable articles include the Times Educational Supplement, Daily Telegraph, London Evening Standard, NAHT Leadership Focus, LDR magazine, Gay Star News, BBC news, The Guardian and The Huffington Post. Shaun has written many articles on the subject of homophobic bullying, notables include Teach Primary, Guardian, Headteacher Update & Times Educational Supplement. Shaun blogs on LGBT education issues for The Huffington Post & Guardian. Shaun is working on a book ‘That Gay Teacher’. Shaun appears in the forthcoming film documentary ‘After 82’ tracking the onset of the AIDS in the 1980s.

Shaun was voted onto the 2012 and 2013 Independent on Sunday ‘Pink List’ of the 101 most influential LGBT figures in the UK. In July 2013 IFA was awarded the Southwark Good Practice Award by Southwark Council. In 2015 Shaun was ‘Highly Commended’ at the Excellence In Diversity Awards. In June 2015 Shaun was nominated a ‘Pride Hero’ by the public & was featured in Pride In London’s high profile advertising campaign on London Transport. In October 2015 Shaun gave a talk after the Section 28 play ‘Next Lesson’ at the Pleasance Theatre. Shaun has been collaborating with HyperFusion Theatre Company to produce a national schools interactive theatre tour ‘BOY’ to teach pupils and teachers to prevent prejudice related bullying. The tour launches on February 23rd in London. Shaun is currently developing a version of Inclusion For All to deliver on the Isle of Man. Shaun has previously judged the Young Amnesty Human Rights Journalist Award and he is presently the judge of the Show Racism The Red card anti-homophobia young film-makers competition. In 2016 Shaun is collaborating with Show Racism The Red Card to develop their national government funded anti-homophobic strategy. Shaun is taking IFA into prisons in 2016, speaking to staff and inmates. Shaun has now applied to make Inclusion For All a Community Interest Company in order to extend its national and international reach and to further build upon his work with Amnesty and faith groups. Shaun has accomplished a huge amount on his own with limited funds, it is now time to grow a lasting legacy and to ensure sustainability.

Shaun’s website www.inclusionforall.co.uk

Shaun’s work on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/#!/shaundellentyIFA

Twitter @ShaunDellenty