UNESCO has stated that a comprehensive education approach to prevent and address homophobic, biphobic, transphobic and interphobic bullying is the most effective. This entails the implementation of (1) national policies or action plans, (2) inclusive curricula and learning materials, (3) training for educational staff, (4) support for students and families, (5) partnerships with civil society organisations and (6) monitoring of discrimination and evaluating the executed measures.

Similarly, IGLYO and OBESSU produced the Inclusive education guidelines, first in 2006 and revised in 2015. They set out the minimum standards that should be met to ensure education is safe, inclusive and supportive of all LGBTQI learners. According to this resource, students throughout Europe should receive comprehensive human rights, sex and relationship education, all curricular materials should include LGBQTI perspectives, anti-bullying policies should be in place, students should have access to information and support and schools should provide a safe environment, ensuring the visibility and participation of all students.

Using this as a starting point, IGLYO invited experts from academia, governments and civil society organisations to develop a list of comparable indicators and provide guidance on how to collect data. The Steering Committee was comprised the following experts: Ben Baks (Secretariat of the Governmental LGBTI Focal Points Network of the European Region and Co-ordinator of the LGBTI Policy Unit of the Gender & LGBT Equality Department of the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science), Sophie Aujean and Nanna Moe (ILGA-Europe), Katherine Johnson (School of Applied Social Science, University of Brighton), Eleanor Formby (Centre for Education and Inclusion Research, Sheffield Hallam University) Jasna Magic (Kumquat Consult), Euan Platt and Ruben Avila (IGLYO).

A survey was then drafted and tested in seven countries (Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Malta, Slovenia, Spain and United Kingdom). The final questionnaire was then refined and sent to IGLYO’s member organisations and other relevant civil society organisations and educational experts from the Council of Europe Member States, as well as Belarus and Kosovo.

IGLYO received completed questionnaires from all countries, except France, Germany, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Russia and San Marino. In some cases, member organisations or local educational experts did not have the capacity to do this research. In those cases, information was provided by lawyers and desk research. On the basis of the collected data, two different resources have been created. First, a narrative report, with the most relevant information, has been produced for each country (the LGBTQI Inclusive Education Report). Second, IGLYO has developed a map and table to easily highlight and compare the situation in each country, based on the ten indicators (the LGBTQI Inclusive Education Index).

This project is primarily aimed at governments (education ministries, policy makers and other governmental staff working in the field of inclusive education), to provide an overview of the situation in each country according to civil society. For that reason, this research relies on qualitative information. IGLYO has worked closely with its member organisations and partners to gather data on legislation, policies and practices at a national level. When needed, desk research was also carried out to verify the accuracy of the information or to supplement the data provided. Final results have also been reviewed and verified by other partners and lawyers.

A preview edition of the report and index was presented at the Follow-up meeting to evaluate the education sector responses to violence based on actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and variations in sex characteristics, which took place at the European Parliament in January 2018. Both documents (Index and Report) were sent to governments and civil society organisations, inviting feedback before the final version was produced. This has been a vital part of the process to ensure that all relevant institutions, organisations and individuals engage with and contribute to the resources and the overall goal of improving education for all LGBTQI learners.