Lincolnshire County Council has been named by Stonewall as the one of the best local authorities in Britain for tackling homophobic bullying and celebrating difference in their schools.
The charity today publishes the Education Equality Index 2014, listing the top ten local authorities in Britain, with Lincolnshire County Council securing eighth place. In 2013, the Council was placed tenth on the list.
The Index measures practice and policy at all of the participating local authorities. 45 local authorities submitted entries to the 2014 Index, the most competitive to date.
The Teachers’ Report 2014 found that over 90 per cent of primary school staff – and eight in ten secondary school teachers – say they haven’t received specific training on how to tackle homophobic bullying.
Separate research by the University of Cambridge – The School Report 2012 – showed that three in five gay pupils who experience homophobic bullying say that teachers who witness the bullying never intervene.
The same research found that two in five lesbian, gay and bisexual pupils who experience homophobic bullying deliberately harm themselves because of it.
Full results of the 2014 Stonewall Top 10 local authorities list will be announced at a ceremony at the charity’s annual education conference held today (4 July) in London.
Michael Gove MP Secretary of State for Education said: ‘Stonewall’s research clearly shows that all too often the biggest barrier to tackling homophobic bullying isn’t lack of will, but lack of teacher confidence.
“This year’s Education Equality Index shows that evermore local authorities are now rising to meet this challenge by providing the training and support that teachers need to challenge homophobia in their classrooms.
“We congratulate the Top Ten authorities and welcome the fact that the Index continues to drive performance in this important area.’
Sophie Whitehead, Anti Bullying Officer for Children’s Services, said: ‘We are very proud to be recognised by Stonewall as one of the top 10 local authorities in the country in tackling homophobic bullying and homophobic language in schools.
“To have improved our position from 10 last year to 8 this year, highlights the passion, commitment and enthusiasm by everyone involved across schools, colleges and children’s services in creating a safe and inclusive learning environment for all.’
Luke Tryl, Stonewall Head of Education said: ‘Lincolnshire County Council deserves enormous congratulations on their performance in this year’s Stonewall Education Equality Index.
“Homophobic bullying still has a detrimental impact on the attendance, achievement and life chances of young people.
“It’s fantastic to see the work of our Top 10 highlighted in the Index, inspiring others to take action to provide teachers with the tools they need to make schools a safe and supportive place to help all young people to achieve their full potential.’
*The Education Equality Index 2014 is available from www.stonewall.org.uk/educationequalityindex