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Pupils: Intimidation

Volume 457: debated on Wednesday 7 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what measures have been taken in the last five years to help teachers to tackle homophobic bullying of (a) pupils and (b) teachers in schools. (124226)

The Government believe there is no place for homophobic bullying in schools and our general guidance on bullying and the Anti-Bullying Charter make this clear. In 2004 my Department and the Department of Health jointly published guidance on challenging homophobia in schools called “Stand up for us”. Recognising that homophobic bullying can be a particularly difficult issue for many teachers to deal with, my Department has more recently commissioned Stonewall and Educational Action Challenging Homophobia (EACH) to produce web-based guidance for schools which will look more specifically at how to prevent and tackle homophobic bullying. We intend to issue the guidance later this year and will follow this up with a series of regional seminars for local authorities and schools.

The responsibility for ensuring that teachers are not discriminated against at work rests with their employer (the governing body of the school or the local authority). The Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003 outlaws discrimination and harassment in employment and vocational training on the grounds of sexual orientation, and schools and staff representatives work together to ensure that the framework provided by the Regulations keep all school staff free from homophobic bullying and harassment.