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Schools OUT! Welcomes the speech and pledge made by Patricia Hewitt at the Stonewall DTI conference.

We are in contact with Amicus to explore how we can work with them and have been talking with Stuart Edwards who has done the scoping in the DFES.
Rest assured Schools OUT! Will be there as we have been for the last 30 years making schools a safe space for all!

Patricia Hewitt 23/3/04

…Today I can announce a step change in the attack against homophobic bullying in schools. Yesterday, I met with Ministers from all major Whitehall Departments. We agreed to

i) Get better evidence on what is happening, improving our evidence base so we can develop new ways of tackling the problem;
ii) Communicate better from the centre so that all of our partners (in schools and NGOs) are clear what their responsibilities are;
iii) Improve teaching around sexuality

We also agreed to examine our own policies with a view to tackling the issue of homophobia in schools.

We also need to continue working closely with NGOs and others on tackling these issues. Helping build on the outstanding work done by groups like Stonewall, FFLAG and LGBT Youth Scotland do some outstanding work tackling homophobia in schools, particularly with their "Education for All" programme.

In work

Second, too often playground behaviour continues into the workplace.

The best businesses don't stand for it. Like IBM and Barclays - who you'll hear from later today. But many others too - even MI5! A poster of a snowman recently appeared in MI5 corridors inviting staff to "come in from the cold" and join a gay and lesbian support network.

Last December, we changed the law to make it illegal to deny lesbian, gay and bisexual people jobs because of prejudice. The new regulations enable individuals to take prompt and effective action to tackle harassment, so everyone has an equal chance of training and promotion, whatever their sexual orientation

This has been underpinned by new guidance - from ACAS, but also Stonewall, with their employers guide and best practice toolkit.

Up to 5 million people in Britain feel "very" or "extremely" stressed by their work. Thirteen and a half million working days are lost every year because of stress, depression or anxiety - more than fifty times as many as because of headaches or eyestrain.

Much bullying is because of discrimination.
Bullying is a terrible issue with terrible consequences - whether it's because of people's sexuality, race, size or anything else.

The way we will tackle this is by working in partnership. Last year Amicus brought together partners such as the Work Foundation, in the first ever Ban Bullying Day.

Today, I can announce we will be giving almost a million pounds to Amicus, from the Partnership Fund, for them to take forward the biggest anti bullying project ever, anywhere in the world. …………………