Kirklees Council has been named one of the best local authorities for tackling anti-LGBT bullying and celebrating difference in its schools by Britain’s leading lesbian, gay, bi and trans equality charity, Stonewall.
The Stonewall Education Top 10 are the best performing local authorities on the charity’s Education Equality Index 2019. Of 28 local authorities which entered the Index – Kirklees Council was placed seventh on the list.
The index is a comprehensive benchmarking exercise for local authorities across Britain, showcasing how well they are celebrating difference and tackling homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in schools and supporting LGBT young people in their local communities.
Findings from Stonewall’s 2017 School Report underline why this work is so important with nearly half (45 per cent) of LGBT pupils – including 64 per cent of trans students – bullied for being LGBT in Britain’s schools, while two in five LGBT pupils (40 per cent) are never taught anything about lesbian, gay, bi and trans issues at school.
Cllr Shabir Pandor, Leader of Council said:
“This is great news and the direction we want to go in to support our young LGBT people. Homophobic bullying in any form is unacceptable – as are all forms of bullying. The measures we have put in place, the policies and guidance that address anti-LGTB bullying, and the ways in which we engage with schools and the community, is working towards tacking LGBT bullying and this is a very positive outcome”
Mel Meggs, Kirklees Council’s Director of Children’s Services, said:
“We are delighted to be in the top 10. It is testament to the incredible hard work we are committed to deliver in our schools and communities. We are an ambitious council which celebrates the diversity in our region – this is why we value being part of Stonewall’s Education Champions Programme, it shows we are delivering support and tolerance across our schools.
“We have improved on our 2016 ranking and continue to build upon our work to date to make sure our young LGBT people are fully supported.”
Sarah Rose, Senior Children and Young People Programmes Manager at Stonewall, said: “Kirklees Council and all the local authorities who have ranked in the top 10 of this year’s Education Equality Index are undertaking inspiring work to support LGBT young people in their local communities and leading the way on tackling anti-LGBT bullying.
“Stonewall was set up 30 years ago to fight against the introduction of Section 28 – a piece of legislation that allowed bullying to flourish as it effectively banned teachers from talking about same-sex relationships or LGBT issues. The fantastic work of the top-ranking entrants show just how far we’ve come toward ensuring all young people feel free to be themselves, without fear of exclusion or bullying.
“We know that LGBT young people continue to face challenges in Britain’s schools, but with so many local authorities demonstrating such a strong commitment to celebrating difference and supporting LGBT young people, we are one step closer to creating a world where all young people are welcomed and accepted without exception.”
Information is available to all Schools on the Kirklees Safeguarding Children web page at: www.kirkleessafeguardingchildren.co.uk/l-g-b-t-q.html
More information about Stonewall’s programmes for local authorities and schools can be found online at: https://www.stonewall.org.uk/supporting-schools
To find out more about Stonewall’s Children and Young People Conference 2019 visit: https://www.stonewall.org.uk/events/children-and-young-people-conference-2019