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#10 How do we tackle homophobia in our schools?

Homophobia, biphobia and transphobia like any form of discrimination, should be tackled though a whole school approach. Schools should provide a safe environment for all pupils regardless of sexual orientation. 

Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) and Citizenship should give children and young people the opportunity to discuss diversity and difference, and RSE sessions should allow young people to discuss different types of relationships and explore their attitudes. Government SRE Guidance (DfEE 2000) clearly states that "teachers should be able to deal honestly and sensitively with sexual orientation, answer appropriate questions and offer support."

Proposed new guidance on RSE states that "the Department [for Education] recommends that it [LGBT specific content] is integral throughout the programmes of study. As with all RSE teaching, schools should ensure that their teaching is sensitive, age-appropriate and delivered with reference to the law. With all RSE teaching, schools should ensure that their teaching is sensitive and age-appropriate.

Staff should also be encouraged to explore their own attitudes to ensure they are able to challenge homophobic behaviour and language both in and outside the classroom. The Sex Education Forum has developed a training course on LGBT inclusive RSE (one for primary and one for secondary level), which includes a free e-learning training programme that can be cascaded to all school staff.