A full review of existing evidence and best practice for successfully tackling homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying is to be carried out.
The aim of the project is to develop evidence-based strategies and tools to support secondary schools in tackling this type of bullying.
The plan was unveiled by the government’s equalities minister, Jo Swinson, during a visit to Bridge Academy in Hackney, east London – a member of the Stonewall School Champions programme – to mark Anti-Bully Week 2013, which came to an end last Friday (November 22).
Statistics from Stonewall show that 55 per cent of young lesbian, gay and bisexual people experienced homophobic bullying at school in 2012.
Furthermore, 68 per cent heard homophobic language often or frequently, while only 31 per cent said that their school responded quickly to homophobic bullying when it happened.
Ms Swinson said: “Homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying has serious consequences – it can affect children’s wellbeing, lead to poor educational performance, and prevent them getting ahead in life.
“It’s completely unacceptable that young people are experiencing this type of derogatory treatment.
“This project will help us to fully understand the issues and develop effective, evidence-based tools and best practice that will help schools to stamp out this harmful behaviour.”
The government is now inviting organisations to bid for funding to conduct what it has called “a full review of all the available evidence and existing practices currently in place in schools to tackle this issue”.
As well as reviewing critically existing practices and their impact, the first phase will also set out the nature of the problem in secondary schools.
It comes after the Church of England promised in July to introduce a campaign to fight homophobic bullying in its schools.
It is also three months since the government updated its guidance for schools on tackling all types of bullying.
Elsewhere, Stonewall has recently launched a new campaign to tackle the use of homophobic language in schools, with guidance, posters and resources available. A focus of the campaign is to address the misuse of the word “gay”.
Ruth Hunt, deputy chief executive at Stonewall, said: “We work with exemplary schools across Britain who have taken great strides to reduce homophobic bullying.
“This announcement provides a fantastic opportunity to share this expertise and we look forward to working with them to ensure that every young person can reach their full potential.”
For the updated government guidance on tackling bullying, visit www.education.gov.uk/schools/pupilsupport/behaviour/bullying/f0076899/preventing-and-tackling-bullying
For more on the Stonewall campaign and resources to tackle homophobic language, visit www.stonewall.org.uk/at_school/education_for_all/quick_links/9291.asp
For more on the Stonewall School Champions Programme, visit www.stonewall.org.uk/at_school/school_champions/default.asp