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Women and Equalities

Volume 591: debated on Wednesday 21 January 2015

Homophobic Bullying

The following is an extract from Questions to the Minister for Women and Equalities on 15 January 2015:

According to Stonewall’s latest figures, more than half of secondary school teachers fail to challenge homophobic bullying, while 17% feel they are inadequately trained to tackle such bullying. Therefore, does the Minister acknowledge that the Government’s failure to make sexual relationships education compulsory in the curriculum in mainstream teacher training has failed lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender young people, as teachers feel ill equipped to deal with homophobia in the classroom, or to advise children who approach them in confidence?

Sexual relationships education is compulsory, but the hon. Lady raises an important point about training, and about ensuring that teachers feel comfortable in discussing these issues and know the best way to do so. We recognise that more can be done; that is why we have announced the project to develop that evidence base, so that teachers can see what best practice is, and how they can develop the confidence to tackle these issues effectively in the classroom.

[Official Report, 15 January 2015, Vol. 590, c. 1006.]

Letter of correction from Jo Swinson:

An error has been identified in the response I gave to the hon. Member for Washington and Sunderland West (Mrs Hodgson) during Questions to the Minister for Women and Equalities.

The correct response should have been:

Sexual relationships education in maintained schools is compulsory, but the hon. Lady raises an important point about training, and about ensuring that teachers feel comfortable in discussing these issues and know the best way to do so. We recognise that more can be done; that is why we have announced the project to develop that evidence base, so that teachers can see what best practice is, and how they can develop the confidence to tackle these issues effectively in the classroom.