Tackling biphobia, transphobia & homophobia in schools

Jo Swinson MP

Jo Swinson MP

Eight organisations will share £2 million of government funding to help prevent and eradicate biphobic, homophobic and transphobic bullying in schools. The funding was announced by Jo Swinson, Minister for Women and Equalities, and Secretary of State for Education, Nicky Morgan, in October 2014, following a review of existing work begun at the start of last year.

Homophobic bullying in schools is decreasing: 55 per cent of lesbian, gay and bisexual young people surveyed for Stonewall’s 2012 School Report said they had experienced homophobic bullying, down from 65 per cent in 2009. Stonewall didn’t measure for biphobia or transphobia.

However according to that report, most teachers (89 per cent for secondary schools and 70 per cent for primary) had heard homophobic language used. Teachers say they lack the knowledge and confidence to tackle biphobic, transphobic and homophobic bullying effectively. These projects should help to build that confidence by providing training and resources for school staff.

Minister for Women and Equalities, Jo Swinson MP, said:

It’s good news that schools are making progress on homophobic bullying, but it must be eradicated entirely.

The trauma of being bullied at school can stay with you for life, and it is absolutely unacceptable that those who may be gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender are being targeted.

The organisations awarded funding are:

  • Anne Frank Trust – to run workshops and educate young people about prejudice and the impact of the Holocaust on lesbian, gay and bisexual people.
  • Barnardo’s – to provide face-to-face support for victims of homophobic, biphobic & transphobic (HBT) bullying and training for staff with a focus on cultural issues in schools in Leeds and Wakefield.
  • Diversity Role Models with Brook – to develop and deliver training on tackling HBT bullying to 10,000 teachers and staff in 400 schools.
  • EACH – to deliver a training and resource programme in schools across Avon and Somerset.
  • Educate & Celebrate – to train staff in 60 schools, giving them confidence and strategies to address HBT language and bullying and promote inclusiveness throughout the school environment and the curriculum.
  • National Children’s Bureau – to train 1,500 teachers on tackling homophobia, biphobia and transphobia through PSHE.
  • Show Racism the Red Card – to hold workshops with 2,000 young people at football clubs around England, train 200 teachers and run a film competition for young people on tackling HBT bullying.
  • Stonewall – to extend and share its ‘train the trainer’ course with 60 partner organisations, enabling them to run the programme with schools in their local communities and giving them the skills to tackle HBT bullying.

Marcel Varney, Assistant Director for Barnardo’s, said:

At Barnardo’s, we hear about HBT bullying from the young people we work with across the organisation. We know that the bullying of a young person because of their sexuality can be incredibly damaging and can impact dramatically on a young person’s ability to succeed at school.

This commitment from the government will enable us to reach hundreds of young people to alert them to the impact of HBT bullying. It‘s a big step towards stamping out HBT bullying. We aim to improve the visibility of LGBT lives in the school environment and ensure that young people are supported regardless of culture or religion.

Suran Dickson, Chief Executive Officer of Diversity Role Models, said:

Homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying can affect all students who don’t conform to certain stereotypes, regardless of whether they are in fact LGBT. Diversity Role Models is delighted to have been given this grant so we and Brook can work with schools on this exciting project, to increase staff’s confidence in tackling this type of bullying, and to make schools safer and better places to learn.