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Homophobic Bullying

Volume 593: debated on Thursday 26 February 2015

Homophobic bullying is absolutely unacceptable, and we are committed to eliminating it. That is why we have announced £2 million of grant funding to support schools to address the issue more effectively. That complements the £4 million that the Department currently provides to charitable organisations to tackle all forms of bullying.

Is the Minister aware that Mr Gay World, Stuart Hatton, lives in my constituency? He recently launched a fantastic anti-bullying campaign called “So What?”. His message is simple: some of us are straight, some of us are gay, so what? With Stonewall reporting that nearly a quarter of lesbian, gay or bisexual pupils miss school because of homophobic bullying, his message is sorely needed. Labour’s shadow Ministers are backing Stuart’s campaign. Will the Minister?

I very much welcome the hon. Lady setting out her constituent’s campaign, and I will be happy to look at it as it sounds excellent. We all agree that tackling homophobic bullying must be a real priority for the reasons that she outlined in her question, and because of the impact that it has on LGBT young people, and indeed other young people, as this issue also affects those who are not LGBT.

Homophobic bullying in schools is completely unacceptable. Will the Minister ensure that Ofsted is getting the message through to head teachers and schools that they must do everything in their power to eradicate that wicked thing?

The short answer is yes, and the national professional qualification for headship contains information on how to tackle bullying, including homophobic bullying.