West Lancashire school leads the way in battle against homophobic bullying

A WEST LANCS school is “leading the way” in the fight against homophobic bullying.

Staff at Burscough Priory Science College are the first in the borough to be trained in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender(LGBT) awareness.

The training was provided through the National Union of Teachers (NUT) by LGBT rights campaigner Jeff Evans.

It comes after a survey from the union which found that 92% of school teachers think is a serious issue demanding action to protect students, with 42% overhearing or observing derogatory homophobic references in their school on a daily or weekly basis.

More than 300 teachers from across Lancashire took part in the online survey, following up from the NUT’s first report into the issue in 2009.

When the Advertiser covered the findings back in March, Priory head Catherine Edens reacted to the “appalling” findings by vowing to continue to address the issue of homophobic bullying.

And Neil Hancox, West Lancs NUT secretary, congratulated her for agreeing to work with the union on the issue.

He said: “Unfortunately, while many schools think it is a serious issue, they are reluctant to take on this emotionally charged topic for various reasons. I am delighted that Burscough Priory is leading the way and that it’s a West Lancashire School.”

Following the training, one member of staff said: “I thoroughly enjoyed this… I am now ready and prepared to help educate our children about homophobia. I am proud to be part of this and to help shine light on ignorance about why this is so important.”

Another said it had been “very useful” and added: “I did not know how relentless the everyday can be for students who are victimised by other people’s intolerance of difference.”

A spokesman for the NUT said that it was the first time ‘LGBT awareness’ training had taken place in a West Lancs school, and possibly a first for the whole of Lancashire, and said it showed “total commitment to the safeguarding of all students at the school”.

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