News: £2 million fund to tackle homophobic bullying in schools

A £2 million package will be offered to schools to help them tackle homophobic bullying, the government has announced today (29 October 2014).

For many, memories of being bullied in the playground, in the corridors and in classrooms will stay with them for the rest of their lives. It can deter children from being themselves, achieving their full potential and developing the important skills they need to succeed.

The money announced today will be offered to charitable and not-for-profit organisations that come forward with creative ideas to stamp out homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying in our schools – those projects that will make the biggest difference to the lives of all young people growing up in modern Britain.

Nicky Morgan, Secretary of State for Education and Minister for Women and Equalities, said:

Homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying affects everyone, not just young people who may identify as LGBT.

Any young person who is different can find themselves subjected to distressing and intimidating homophobic abuse.

This funding will help schools take on the challenge of making sure bullies do not stand in the way our young people achieving their full potential.

Jo Swinson, Minister for Women and Equalities, said:

Young people should grow up feeling safe expressing who they are, and we know that homophobic bullying stands in the way of this.

We know the damage bullies can cause to young people’s self-esteem and educational attainment. There should be absolutely no excuse for this taking place in our schools.

I am excited to see the creative proposals that this fund will bring about, to make sure we can bring homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying to an end.

The funding comes as new research – carried out by NatCen Social Research – found that some schools already have initiatives in place that work well, such as:

  • taking a ‘whole school’ approach to homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying, with clear anti-bullying policies that are applied consistently
  • training for teachers and other school staff to improve their confidence in dealing with lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) issues
  • teaching relevant LGBT issues in lessons in a way that young people can understand
  • making sure that victims are supported and perpetrators understand the consequences of homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying

Reports of homophobic bullying are in decline, but there is still work to do. A recent report from Metro found that the vast majority of LGBT young people experience name calling or abuse.

This government has been clear that schools should take tough action on all forms of bullying and all schools must have a behaviour policy that challenges all forms of bullying.

The law was changed in 2012 to strengthen the powers teachers have to enforce discipline and good behaviour. Schools have been given advice on their legal duties and powers, and other resources to help them put an end to bullying.

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