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Norfolk school pupils receive lessons in tackling anti-gay bullying

Norfolk school pupils receive lessons in tackling anti-gay bullying

Pictured here are Year 8 pupils at Sheringham High School in Norfolk, England. To coincide with Hate Crime Awareness Week, the students took part in a pilot scheme last week for a new education pack to tackle homophobic bullying.

The resource, entitled Stop Homophobic Bullying, was created by the county’s BLAH LGBTI Youth group – which has been providing support for young lesbian, gay and bisexual people in the Norfolk area since 2007.

Stop Homophobic Bullying includes stories from young, local LGBT people who have experienced bullying, and activities to make young people think about how they could support friends being bullied. It also offers ideas for how to challenge the use of the word ‘gay’ as an insult.

According to Stonewall 2014 Teacher’s Report, almost nine in ten secondary school teachers and almost half of primary school teachers say pupils in their schools have experienced homophobic bullying. Nine in ten secondary schools teachers also say that they hear pupils use expressions like ‘that’s so gay’ or ‘you’re so gay’.

The classes at Sheringham High were run by Michelle Savage, North Norfolk BLAH LGBT Youth Development Worker, and Jonna Barry from Hate Free Norfolk.

‘The Sheringham High School pupils were thoughtful and sensitive about the issues and came up with some great ideas for how they could help stop homophobic bullying,’ said Michelle. ‘They had some fabulous suggestions about how we could improve the pack with more time to ask questions, drama activities and quizzes. It was a real pleasure working with them.’

The school’s headteacher, Dr Andrew Robinson, said, ‘We at Sheringham were proud to be asked to pilot the day and add to the great materials. Sheringham students are a willing and insightful community who are keen to involve themselves in anything which will impact positively on people’s lives. A great day!’

The school was praised for its ‘outstanding’ leadership and management by an Ofsted report in May, which highlighted the establishment’s ‘spiritual, moral, social and cultural’ curriculum for particular commendation.

The lessons also went down well with pupils involved. Comments on feedback forms taken afterwards included, ‘it’s brilliant, keep it as it is.’

The Education Pack is now available to schools across the English county.