Bath & North East Somerset Council has been named by Stonewall as the best local authority in Britain for tackling homophobic bullying and celebrating difference in its schools.
The Index measures practice and policy at all of the participating local authorities. 47 local authorities submitted entries to the 2015 Index, the most competitive to date.
Bath & North East Somerset Council leads the way in celebrating difference and challenging homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in schools, with young people contributing through youth-led Equality Teams (E-Teams). The Council’s website includes guidance on homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying, and its Serious Equality Incident Report Form is widely accessible.
It has paid for lead schools to join the Stonewall School Champions programme, and inspired others to take similar action with a Challenging Homophobia and Transphobia Steering Group. LGBT staff has access to support groups, and a wide range of stakeholders including Early Years practitioners have received LGBT inclusive training. Bath &North East Somerset takes pride in its work, showcasing it at LGBT History Month and an annual celebration event.
The Teachers’ Report 2014 found that over 90 per cent of primary school staff – and eight in ten secondary school teachers – say they haven’t received specific training on how to tackle homophobic bullying.
Cllr Tim Warren Leader of Bath & North East Somerset Council said: ‘We are delighted that Bath & North East Somerset Council has gained top ranking in the Stonewall Equality Index 2015. This is testimony to our excellent inclusion work and to great partnership work between the Local Authority, schools, external agencies and, in particular, children and young people who are determined to make Bath & North East Somerset a more inclusive place to live, work and visit.’
Sarah Rose, Senior Account Manager, Stonewall: ‘We have seen phenomenal work from all of those local authorities that have participated in this year’s Education Equality Index – in particular our Top 10 and our award winners. We’d like to extend huge congratulations to Bath & North East Somerset Council for all of their achievements in continuing to fight against bullying and discrimination.’
The Education Equality Index 2015 is available from www.stonewall.org.uk/educationequalityindex