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Government to take “concrete steps” to help all LGBT pupils feel welcome and safe in school

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Prime minister Theresa May has announced plans to implement a series of actions to combat homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying in schools. 

This will form part of a wider  £4.5 million 75-point LGBT action plan that will, explains the prime minister, “set out concrete steps to deliver real and lasting change across society,” including education. 

It follows statistics from a stark survey of more than 108,000 respondents, which revealed LGBT people experience prejudice on a daily basis. A weighty number of respondents said they had experienced a “negative incident during their time in education,” with stories of being ‘outed’ or victims of verbal harassment reported. 

One of the ways the government plans to improve diversity and tolerance in education is to update its sex and relationships education guidance. This will, outlines the cross-government action plan, support “teaching that is age appropriate and relevant to all pupils, whatever their developing sexual orientation or gender identity.” The Department for Education (DfE) will look to update the guidance for schools on how to apply the Equality Act 2010. And the Government Equalities Office (GEO) will work with the Equality and Human Rights Commission on a comprehensive guide for schools on how to support trans pupils. 

In addition, the DfE will work with the GEO to understand how best to support schools to tackle homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying. In particular, it will look at how to “continue this programme of work in a sustainable way through the school curriculum and policies in the medium and to long term.” 

Finally, the GEO will extend its anti-homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying programme. The initiative, originally targeted at 1,200 schools and due to end next March, will now run till March 2020 thanks to a promise from ministers to find further funding for interventions in schools. 

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First published 13 July 2018