Leading children’s charity Barnardo’s is celebrating training over 8,000 staff and over 640 parent, community and pupil ambassadors through an anti-homophobic, biphobic and transphobic (HBT) bullying programme.
The work, which is funded by the Government Equalities Office and supported by the Department for Education, is in schools across Yorkshire & Humberside.
Barnardo’s Positive Identities service delivered 411 sessions in 162 schools over the last 21 months. Evaluation forms completed after sessions have shown that participants are much better able to identify and respond to issues of discrimination and support pupils around gender and sexual identity.
The sessions provide school staff with the knowledge, confidence and resources to challenge prejudice and discrimination proactively. They help schools support LGBTQ pupils, staff and families to ensure their school environment and curriculum is inclusive of a diverse range of identities.
All schools receive training to raise awareness and knowledge among staff around LGBTQ identities and how these can be incorporated into a school environment to promote inclusivity and reduce bullying.
In addition to the training courses, Barnardo’s offers policy reviews and guidance on how discriminatory bullying should be recorded and responded to, as well as bespoke training to a variety of organisations, including healthcare providers, police services, community and youth groups and education providers on a commissioned basis.
Barnardo’s Chief Executive Javed Khan, said:
All bullying at school should be challenged, but when young people are singled out for their sexuality or identity, it can be particularly harmful.
Barnardo’s champions awareness about LGBTQ issues in school, so that teachers can support all their students effectively, and young people can support each other.
Equality and inclusion are at the heart of everything Barnardo’s does – from our direct work with children and young people, to support for our staff and volunteers.
The figures have been released during LGBT History Month, which seeks to promote equality and diversity for the benefit of the public and which is being supported by Barnardo’s.
One of Barnardo’s biggest success stories in the last 12 months has been Positive Identities in Calderdale, which offers sexual orientation and gender identity expertise through training, consultancy and direct interventions and supports schools, organisations and wider communities to provide safe spaces for LGBTQ staff, volunteers, young people and their families.
Calderdale council and the CCG have funded support since 2011 through different projects and we have developed a variety of training packages and delivered these across the communities in Calderdale, to multi-agency professionals, health professionals, schools and community groups.
The workers identified a need for the project to have longevity, so the BEAMS (Barnardo’s Equality Ambassadors) scheme was initiated. This is something that has evolved organically and in partnership with young people in schools.
These young people then help the school to plan events and create posters and plan assemblies. One primary school in Mytholmroyd is currently organising a ‘Diversity Disco’ to be held in February as part of LGBT history month.