British teachers must improve the way they tackle homophobic bullying or risk being given a worse school report by government inspectors.
That will be one message of the Schools Out National Conference in Manchester, north west England, in February, which aims to support teachers in making all schools LGBT friendly.
This year’s summit comes as UK government school inspectors, known as OFSTED, prioritize LGBT bullying in the way they score schools for the first time.
OFSTED inspectors will be at the day-long conference on 2 February, to be held at the University of Manchester, to tell teachers how they are going to include diversity in their reports.
OFSTED results, alongside exam league-tables, are the main way UK schools rate themselves against each other.
The summit will discuss ways to challenge homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in the classroom.
Amelia Lee, of LGBT Youth North West, who is helping to organize the event said all teachers can struggle with fighting this gay and trans bullying, including gay teachers who may fear being outed if they are still closeted or being ostracized if they are out.
She added: ‘What teachers sometimes have is an awareness of the problem but there are those who know how to address it and those who don’t.
‘Those who know how to address it lack peer support and those who don’t lack the techniques.’
Guest speakers will work through those issues and three theatrical performances will provide inspiration. Organizers are adding a debate on the motion ‘This house would welcome the discovery of a Gay Gene’ in the evening.
That will tie in with the theme of the summit, on teaching maths, science and technology – which is also the theme of LGBT History Month in February.
The following day, 3 February, the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester will host an afternoon on LGBT and Alan Turing themed events, including a Turing theater performance followed by a tour of the LGBT communities exhibit. Student and youth groups are welcome to join in.
Turing was the Manchester-based gay mathematician who helped break the German Enigma Code and win World War II but was later persecuted for his sexuality, leading to his suicide.
Staff and student groups from schools and youth groups are welcome.