Cambridgeshire leading the way in cracking down on LGBT bullying in schools

PUBLISHED: 07:33 01 July 2017

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Study shows HBT (homophobic, biphobic and transphobic) bullying is becoming less frequent.

Cambridgeshire is leading the way when it comes to tackling homophobic, biphobic and transphobic (HBT) bullying in its schools, ranking in the top five authorities in the Stonewall Education Equality Index 2017.

The County Council has been listed as fourth in the LGBT equality charity’s index.

Cllr Simon Bywater, the county council’s children and young people committee chair, said: “We are thrilled to have come in the top five of local authorities in the Stonewall Education Equality Index. Cambridgeshire County Council regards the prevention and tackling of homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying to be an essential component of our work with children and young people.

“Cambridgeshire Race Equality and Diversity Service have continued to work with The Kite Trust to further develop our support for trans and gender-questioning young people and their families through increased training in schools and signposting to exemplary practice in Arbury Primary School, one of our School Champions. One of the new initiatives developed is an anti-bullying website providing school staff, families and young people with information and advice on tackling all types of bullying, including HBT bullying.”

Cambridgeshire has ranked in the Top 5 authorities in the Index since its inception in 2011 and has been a member of Stonewall’s Education Champions Programme since it started in 2008. As part of the programme, local authorities work with Stonewall to champion LGBT issues and establish ways of tackling HBT bullying.

A report on the idex shows HBT bullying Britain’s secondary schools has fallen by a third in the past 10 years.

Gay rights charity Stonewall commissioned a study of more than 3,700 lesbian, gay, bi and trans (LGBT) pupils across Britain, carried out by the Centre for Family Research at the University of Cambridge.

The report says the use of insulting language is less frequent. Half of LGBT pupils hear homophobic slurs ‘frequently’ or ‘often’ at school, down from seven in 10 in 2012. And while schools are more likely to prevent attacks on gay pupils, 45 per cent of gay pupils still face bullying in school.

Stonewall says the new research must act as a wake-up call for schools, government and politicians.

The report also found that more than four in five trans young people have self-harmed, and more than two in five have attempted to take their own life. Three in five lesbian, gay and bi young people who are not trans have self-harmed, and one in five have attempted to take their own life.

“Thanks to the dedication of teachers, schools and governments across Britain, more LGBT young people than ever are able to be themselves at school,” said Ruth Hunt, chief executive of Stonewall.

The study also mentions that online, nearly all LGBT pupils are exposed to offensive content about LGBT people.

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