Charities funded by the government are to be sent into schools to educate teachers and their students about the harmful effects of homophobic bullying.
Education secretary Nicky Morgan is funding a £2 million programme that will see charities and voluntary groups run projects on the harm caused to lesbian, gay bisexual and transgender children by bullying.
Announcing the money, Ms Morgan said it would ensure bullies do not stand in the way of children fulfilling their full potential.
“Homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying affects everyone, not just young LGBT people,” she said. “Any young person who is different can find themselves subjected to distressing and intimidating homophobic abuse.”
The move comes a year after the MP for Loughborough voted against the introduction of same-sex marriage in the House of Commons. She said in an interview this morning that she would vote differently if given the opportunity now.
Research published by NatCen Social Research to coincide with the launch of the anti-homophobia programme showed that schools were successful in stamping out bullying if they introduced “whole school” approaches to the issue, and properly trained school staff to deal with it.
Today’s announcement was supported by the NUT, which called for more dedicated funding in schools.
“Many schools are already doing good work on this and much high quality material has been published for teachers to use,” NUT general secretary Christine Blower said.
“The funding announcement today should be the landmark for further ring-fenced funding to support young people who experience devastating bullying.”