guide to help teachers tackle homophobic bullying
The Guardian, Polly Curtis, education correspondent
Tuesday November 23, 2004
today laid to rest the infamous Section 28 law which restricted
teachers from addressing homosexuality with pupils by backing guidelines
which actively promote its discussion.
minister, Stephen Twigg, today launched Stand Up for Us, a guide
for teachers produced by the National Healthy Schools Standard organisation,
which advises schools to teach about all types of relationships,
not just heterosexual ones.
Such advice would once have contravened Section 28 of the Local
Government Act 1988 which prohibited local authorities from "promoting"
homosexuality or gay "pretended family relationships",
and prevented councils from spending money on educational materials
and projects perceived to promote a gay lifestyle. Section 28 was
dropped from the statute books nearly exactly a year ago, 15 years
after it became law. Teachers' representatives and gay rights groups
consistently campaigned against it.
which was published to coincide with this week's first ever national
anti-bullying week, advises teachers to recommend that children
keep a log of homophobic incidents, that tackling homophobia should
be included in school plans and that all types of relationships
should be discussed in personal, social and health education (PSHE)
groups have welcomed the move. Andy Forrest, a spokesperson for
the campaigning group Stonewall, which is currently planning its
own advice for teachers to help them tackle homophobic bullying,
said: "It's great they [the government] are taking that stance
and putting right the wrongs that were done through Section 28."
have good policies on dealing with racist bullying and racist harassment
but lots of schools aren't good or confident at dealing with homophobic
bullying." The guidelines were launched at the Royal Society
of Arts in London today by Mr Twigg, who also launched a new anti-bullying
award in the memory of Diana, the Princess of Wales. The award will
be given to primary and secondary school pupils who make an "outstanding
contribution" to stopping bullies in their own playgrounds
and local communities.
said: "I am delighted to see the Diana Award particularly recognising
young people who have tackled bullying. Bullying has a destructive
effect on any young person's life." He added: "The Diana
Princess of Wales Memorial Award encapsulates what the government
is encouraging - fostering the skills and talents alive in our schools
and communities. They recognise that young people are ready and
willing to support others when they are given the chance."