A MALDON school has achieved a prestigious award for its strategy to support LGBTQ+ young people - the first in Essex since the awards relaunched.

Plume Academy in Maldon has announced it has achieved the prestigious Stonewall School and College Champion Gold Award.

In order to gain the gold award the academy was judged against six areas of best practice including policies, curriculum, staff, supporting LGBTQ+ young people, whole academy approach and student voice.

A school must score 54 marks out of 70 to secure the award, and Plume Academy scored 68 including full marks in five of the six areas of best practice.

Since Stonewall relaunched their awards in March, the Maldon academy is the first educational setting to achieve gold in Essex and one of four schools nationally to achieve this level.

Plume's LGBTQ+ strategy lead Alison Ollett said: "To have received this highest level award is a significant achievement for the academy, further demonstrating our unrelenting commitment in promoting equality and celebrating diversity across the entire academy family.

"This award means so much to the Plume family and we can now feel confident that we are leading the way in celebrating diversity and supporting LGBTQ+ young people to fulfil their potential."

The academy says the comments received from Stonewall in its feedback included: "There is so much excellent practice here. Your policies are exemplary, and your student-facing policy is a brilliant example of how student voice can inform the development, monitoring and improvement of policies and the way those policies are implemented."

Another comment was: "It's really clear that LGBTQ+ inclusion is  meaningfully planned into your curriculum at every Key Stage and across subject areas. 

"Your lesson examples show really thoughtful work that is well planned and provides lots of opportunities for pupils to develop their understanding over time."