Thousands of teachers across the country are to be given training and support to help them tackle homophobic bullying in schools, it was announced today.
The government has pledged £2 million to help eradicate homophobic and transphobic bullying in schools. The money will be used to finance teacher training, as well as projects to help pupils understand the dangers of prejudice.
Some 86 per cent of secondary teachers and 45 per cent of primary teachers say that pupils at their school have experienced homophobic bullying, according to a survey carried out by gay-rights organisation Stonewall last year. And the vast majority – 89 per cent in secondaries and 70 per cent in primaries – have heard homophobic language used in school.
The aim of the new funding is to give teachers the knowledge necessary to tackle homophobic and transphobic bullying immediately and effectively.
Jo Swinson, minister for women and equalities, said: “The trauma of being bullied at school can stay with you for life. Teachers need specialist support and training to help them stamp out homophobic bullying.”
Teacher training will be offered to schools by a range of organisations. These include Diversity Role Models, which will provide training for 10,000 teachers in 400 schools, as well as the National Children’s Bureau and Sex Education Forum, which will help 1,500 teachers deliver sex-education lessons which are inclusive to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender pupils.
Lucy Emmerson, coordinator of the Sex Education Forum, said: “Sex and relationships education classes are an ideal place to learn about diversity and difference, and about respectful versus bullying behaviour towards each other.”
Other organisations will offer education and support directly to pupils. The Anne Frank Trust will run workshops highlighting the effect of prejudice and the Holocaust on lesbian, gay and bisexual people. And Show Racism the Red Card will hold workshops with 2,000 pupils at football clubs around England.
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