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An Inclusive Industry: Pearson’s initiatives on LGBT inclusion and Wellbeing

Ashley Lodge, Senior Publisher at Pearson 

The last year has been an exciting one for me at Pearson as I’ve been involved into two initiatives that are making a real difference to our learners’ and our employees’ lives respectively.

The first initiative centres around LGBT inclusion in schools. Pearson is one of the largest publishers/educational companies involved in schools publishing in the UK so when Stonewall approached us to sponsor their Creating an LGBT-Inclusive Curriculum document it made a complete sense for us to do so. Diversity is an integral part of Pearson so making sure that LGBT themes were better included in a more seamless manner within the secondary curriculum was something we wanted to be actively involved in. The LGBT-Inclusive Curriculum is now almost finalised and will be launching this autumn and made available digitally. At Stonewall’s Education Conference in July I ran a workshop on how we can better incorporate LGBT themes into our schools resources. Teachers brainstormed ideas and I will be taking these ideas forward with a group of editors, publishers and designers in the coming months to come up with an updated set of editorial guidelines to ensure our schools resources always LGBT inclusive.

The second initiative has been around mindfulness which forms a core part of our Wellbeing strategy. I have been practising mindfulness for over four years now and it’s made a big difference in my life by helping me keep calm, more focused and more productive at work. Last year I trained up as a Workplace Mindfulness teacher and I now run courses across Pearson UK as I’ve been given a secondment to lead our Mindfulness Programme. The biggest part of this is running a set of six week mindfulness courses for colleagues across our various UK sites. Seeing the difference it can make in my colleagues’ lives as they go through the six week course is very rewarding indeed.

Ashley Lodge is a Senior Publisher at Pearson in their Schools Division. He is currently on a secondment to lead their mindfulness programme across their UK business. He is an active member of Spectrum, Pearson’s LGBT Network, and has been working with Stonewall on their LGBT Inclusive Curriculum for Secondary Schools which is being released this autumn and is sponsored by Pearson. Prior to joining Pearson Ashley was a Commissioning Editor and then the Corporate Social Responsibility Manager at HarperCollins UK where he oversaw the company’s environmental and charitable initiatives. He holds a degree in Philosophy from Southampton University and a PGCE from Cambridge University. Ashley will be speaking at the SYP Conference this November.

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