Government announce £2 million fund to help schools tackle homophobic bullying

Government announce £2 million fund to help schools tackle homophobic bullying

The Government Equalities Office (GEO) has announced a £2 million fund, available to charitable and not-for-profit organisations, to help tackle homophobic, biphobic and transphobic (HBT) bullying in schools.

The HBT Challenge Fund comes after a NatCen Social Research report found a “whole school, integrated approach” proved most beneficial in the prevention of HBT bullying.

The report states: “Successful prevention of HBT bullying was widely regarded to need a strategic, long-term approach in schools, including relevant equality and bullying policies that included sexual orientation and gender identity.”

The Big Lottery Fund recently published a collaborative research report between the University of Greenwich and METRO Youth Chances. It revealed that nearly half of the LGBT young people surveyed (49%) reported that their time at school was “affected by discrimination” or “fear of discrimination”.

One young gay man, who was interviewed anonymously by METRO Youth Chances said: “In year 11, before I had to come to terms with things myself, I was tricked into coming out to someone and was severely bullied. It meant that I had lots of time off school and avoided contact with other students at breaks, including eating my lunch in the toilets on my own for fear of being verbally abused by fellow students. I gave up at school at this point. I did well on my GCSEs but never fulfilled my full potential because I hated every minute of being there.”

The METRO report also found that one-in five LGBT young people had experienced a physical attack at school on account of their sexual or gender identity.

Secretary of state for education and minister for women and equalities, Nicky Morgan, said: “Homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying affects everyone, not just young people who may identify as LGBT. This funding will help schools take on the challenge of making sure bullies do not stand in the way [of] young people achieving their full potential.”

Recent changes to the law has given schools wider powers to tackle HBT bullying and Ofsted now includes attitudes to homosexuality in its school inspection guidelines.

Liberal democrat minister for women and equalities, Jo Swinson, said: “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.”