In February, Stonewall will send every secondary school in Britain a copy of its DVD FIT - the first feature film for schools to tackle homophobic bullying.
FIT – Stonewall’s film for schools - is an intelligent, powerful and entertaining film. The storyline uses hip-hop, humour, colourful Adidas tracksuits and lively writing similar to Channel 4’s Skins to communicate with pupils in a way that makes it easy for them to engage with the issues raised.
The interactive DVD has been devised to tackle homophobic bullying and encourage pupils to challenge their widespread use of the word ‘gay’ to mean anything rubbish or inadequate. It gives further support to teachers who have recently reported being extremely under-resourced in tackling homophobic bullying in their schools.
Recent YouGov research for Stonewall found that nine in ten secondary school teachers said pupils currently experience homophobic bullying in their schools. Yet nine in ten teachers have never received any specific training on how to tackle the problem. One in five secondary school teachers said they would not feel comfortable addressing gay issues in the classroom and one in six said they would not feel confident responding if a pupil were to ask questions regarding gay issues.
FIT is an adaptation of Stonewall’s highly successful play for schools, which was seen on tour by 20,000 pupils in Britain in 2008-9. Pupil reactions to the play demonstrate how effective it has been in encouraging them to reassess their prejudices. Navdeep, a year 8 pupil at a south London school, said: ‘After watching FIT, we realised it was wrong to use the word gay as a cuss word. You shouldn’t outcast your friend if they’re gay.’
Schools Minister Vernon Coaker said: ‘I am grateful to Stonewall for their work on this DVD which aims to tackle homophobic bullying in the classroom. We will continue to look for ways to ensure that no child or young person has to suffer as a result of bullying of any kind.’
Chris Gibbons, Stonewall’s Senior Education Officer, said: ‘Overwhelming positive response to FIT as a touring play – from pupils and teachers alike – convinced us that a feature film would help every secondary school in Britain to challenge homophobic bullying. Teachers are still ill-equipped and unsure of how to deal with gay issues in their classrooms. Stonewall’s film for schools will help plug this gap.’
Writer / director of FIT Rikki Beadle-Blair said: ‘When on tour I would ask the kids how many people thought homosexuality was wrong. In every single school the vast majority, about 80%, would put their hands up. But kids would come up after the performance and say quite openly “I walked into this room homophobic and will leave it a changed person.”’
FIT was produced with the support of a consortium of funders and will be sent out to every secondary school by the end of February with the support of the teachers’ union NASUWT. For more info visit www.stonewall.org.uk/FIT
Contact: Gary Nunn, Communications Officer, 020 7593 1856
1. Stonewall is the gay equality charity founded in 1989. www.stonewall.org.uk.
2. For trailers, pictures and further quotes, visit www.stonewall.org.uk/FIT
3. Pupil names have been changed.
4. For interview requests with Stonewall staff, Rikki Beadle-Blair or cast members, contact Gary Nunn 020 7593 1856.
5. For full research on homophobic bullying in Britiain’s schools visit www.stonewall.org.uk/atschool
6. FIT – Stonewall’s film for schools – was funded by Arts Council England, Big Lottery Fund: Awards for All, Britten-Pears Foundation, Department for Children, Schools and Families, Equality and Human Rights Commission Scotland, GLA, Scottish Government and TSE Foundation.
7. High res versions of these images available on request:
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