A senior Ofsted inspector and former head teacher today said homophobic bullying needs to be tackled in schools to prevent academic underachievement. She was speaking at Stonewall’s fifth Education for All Conference on challenging homophobia and supporting young people at The British Library.
Nada Trikic, Ofsted’s National Adviser for Equalities said: ‘If a school is inadequate on equalities and the respect agenda, Ofsted has found it’s very likely to be inadequate overall. There’s a strong link between academic achievement and self-worth, which is one of the reasons it’s so important to tackle homophobic bullying. Ofsted supports schools in doing this by using clips from Stonewall’s anti-homophobia film FIT in our guidance on inspecting equalities in schools.’
Nada was joined by playwright and commentator Bonnie Greer who said: ‘The gay struggle is part of a wider human struggle for equality, justice and fairness. My generation chose marches and legislation. The next generation will choose its own path to equality and hopefully learn the lessons from the past. I’m particularly concerned about the use of the word ‘gay’ as a pejorative and hope the next generation will challenge this all the way.’
The conference, attended by over 150 education professionals, showcased groundbreaking new Stonewall research about the experiences of children with lesbian and gay parents. The research, conducted in partnership with Cambridge University, provides a shocking insight into the existence of homophobia at primary schools in Britain.
Delegates also learnt exactly what the new public duty means for schools and how it can be used to combat homophobic bullying. Teaser clips of FIT, Stonewall’s anti-homophobia film which has been sent to every secondary school, were shown and delegates engaged in a Q & A session with FIT writer and director Rikki Beadle-Blair. Stonewall Youth Volunteers ran seminars about their campaigns to tackle homophobia in their local schools and communities and gave practical advice on how they could be further supported.
Stonewall Chief Executive Ben Summerskill said: ‘The urgent need to tackle homophobic bullying in Britain’s schools to prevent it from festering into violence on our streets was highlighted by the recent homophobic hate killing of Ian Baynham in Trafalgar Square. The alleged perpetrators were all pupils or recent school leavers – reminding us of the key part teachers need to play in promoting respect and equality in schools.’
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