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Uk Government Announces New Initiative to Stop Homophobic Bullying in Schools

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The National Centre for Social Research has been awarded a contract to take forward the first stage of a project to help drive out homophobic bullying, as well as bi-phobic and trans-phobic bullying in schools.

The project, announced in November 2013, seeks to understand the most effective ways to reduce this type of bullying and its impacts among school-age children and young people. The first phase of the project is a full review of all the available evidence and existing practices currently in place in schools to tackle this issue. Organisations were invited to bid for funding to conduct this work, and NatCen was the successful bidder. This work is now under way and NatCen will report back in the summer.

A recent Youth Chances survey showed that, overall nearly half (49%) of LGBT young people questioned reported that their time at school was affected by discrimination or fear of discrimination.

Homophobic, biphobic and transphobic taunts and teasing in the school playground may seem harmless but it can seriously affect children’s health and well-being, lead to poor educational performance and prevent them getting ahead in life. Young people should be able to go to school without fear of bullying or discrimination. We expect schools to take a strong stand against all forms of bullying and to deal with incidents quickly when they occur. This project will help us to understand all the issues, what works best in tackling this type of bullying, and to develop effective, evidence-based tools and best practice that will help schools and others to stamp out this harmful behaviour.

Jenny Willott, Minister for Women and Equalities

The project builds on action the government has already taken to tackle bullying in schools including publishing updated advice and guidance for schools and governing bodies; and giving schools greater legal powers to tackle bad behaviour and cyber-bullying.

We are delighted to be carrying out this important and well needed piece of research and have put together a team who fully understand and have experience in the areas of equalities and LGBT research. We have designed a mixed methods programme of work which we hope will really get to the bottom of what works and why to eventually help all of those working with children and young people to eradicate homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying.

Michelle Gray, Project Research Director at NatCen

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