Commenting on the DfE announcement of a new £2m fund to tackle homophobic bullying in schools, Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union in the UK, said:
“It is a great pity that on coming into office the Coalition Government not only withdrew all the excellent advice which had been produced by the previous Government on homophobic and other forms of prejudice related bullying, but also removed the requirement on schools to log incidences of bullying.
“However, it is commendable that the Coalition Government has now recognised the need to tackle homophobic bullying, and funding to support this is to be welcomed.
“Bullying blights the lives of children and young people. It affects their health, self-esteem, confidence and educational progress. In some cases it has led to suicide.
“The effects of bullying can last a lifetime.
“If bullying in schools is to be eradicated, it has to be tackled in all its forms. No child should be the target of abuse because of their gender, ethnicity, sexuality, disability or religion.
“Evidence shows that racist bullying, bullying on the grounds of learning disabilities, and targeted abuse of Muslim pupils has risen.
"Schools need help and support to create a climate in which difference and diversity is recognised, respected and celebrated.
“What the Coalition Government should also remember is that prejudice related bullying in schools is not just confined to children and young people. Teachers are also too often victims of prejudice related bullying and abuse. Any policy or strategy to address bullying must therefore be on the basis of a whole school approach.”