Stonewall – Britain’s lesbian, gay, bi and trans equality charity – has named Bath and North-East Somerset Council as the best local authority for tackling anti-LGBT bullying and celebrating difference in its schools.
The Council came number one in the Education Equality Index 2017, a list of the Top 10 local authorities in Britain.
Now in its seventh year, the Index remains a vital tool for local authorities to benchmark their success in making local schools inclusive of LGBT issues and young people, measuring practice and policy at all the participating local authorities.
Bath & North East Somerset Council once again lead the way, working to celebrate difference and challenge homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in schools as well as support LGBT young people in their local community.
Having been inspired by a presentation at a Stonewall Education Seminar, the Council has actively encouraged schools and other youth settings to develop children and young people-led Equality Teams (E-Teams) to work collaboratively on campaigns around diversity and inclusion.
Children and young people led the campaign to make their local area a more inclusive place to live, work and study.
There are now over 50 E-Teams in the area many of which are focusing their activities on celebrating difference and challenging discriminatory language.
The Council’s LGBT youth group, SPACE developed an excellent coming out guide for parents. Trans members of the group also shared their experiences at an event held for Transgender Day of Remembrance, which featured a session with the CEO of Gendered Intelligence, Jay Stewart, and trans actress Rebecca Root, star of Boy Meets Girl (BBC) and The Danish Girl.
Thanks to its excellent work ensuring LGBT-inclusivity in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), Bath & North East Somerset Council has also supported Stonewall to develop its forthcoming guide on celebrating difference and challenging gender stereotypes in EYFS.
Councillor Tim Warren, Leader of Bath & North East Somerset Council, said: ‘We are delighted that Bath & North East Somerset Council has once again gained top ranking in the Stonewall Equality Index 2017. One of our key strengths is the fantastic partnership working that goes on between the Local Authority, schools and external agencies. And I must say a huge thank you to all the young people in our area who are helping us to make the area a more inclusive place to live, work and visit – we couldn’t have achieved this top place without their ideas and efforts.’
Sarah Rose, Senior Account Manager at Stonewall, said: ‘We’ve seen outstanding work from all of those local authorities that have participated in this year’s Education Equality Index – especially our Top 10 and our award winners.
‘Bath & North East Somerset Council has shone with its phenomenal initiatives and inspiring work with and for local young people, working to celebrate difference and challenge homophobia, biphobia and transphobia.’
The launch of the Index coincides with the release of Stonewall research, the School Report, a comprehensive survey into the experiences of young people, aged 11 – 19 years old, in Britain’s schools in 2017.
Stonewall works directly with over 1000 primary, secondary and special schools, as well as pupil referral units to help them celebrate difference and tackle anti-LGBT bullying.
The School Report 2017 found that anti-LGBT bullying has decreased substantially over the past decade.
Other results showed that seven in ten bullied LGBT pupils say teachers who are present during homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying do not intervene.