Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Schools reminded to use DCSF Guidance on homophobic bullying

The government has raised concerns over a lack of awareness within schools of their responsibility to address homophobic bullying.

Children's minister Delyth Morgan sent a letter to all headteachers and directors of children's services this week, instructing them to familiarise everyone with existing guidance on preventing and tackling homophobic bullying.

In the letter, Morgan stated that the Department for Children, Schools and Families had learned that in some instances school staff and governors were not aware of the guidance.

The Oldham Teachers Survey, conducted for the NUT last year, unearthed the horrific truth that 98.8 per cent of teachers were aware of homophobic bullying in their schools and that subsequently nearly all teachers want training on how to deal with it and help to eliminate it.

Schools OUT's Tony Fenwick said, "This is a start towards dealing with homophobic bullying and there is guidance on the way to challenge transphobic bullying too. We welcome this timely reminder of the need to use the guidance and we would invite heads, teachers and pupils to look at the Schools OUT Student toolkit as well."

But he added that more is needed. "I hope, however, that this useful reminder is to be backed up with effective INSET training for serving teachers and Teacher training for student teachers on how to work collaboatively to eliminate homophobic and transphobic bullying."

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