Students from Warriner School in Bloxham are playing their part in confronting homophobia in the county.
Oxfordshire County Council (OCC)has been named as one of the best local authorities in Britain for tackling homophobic, biphobic and transphobic (HBT) bullying and celebrating difference in its schools and Warriner is playing its part in that success.
Stonewall, Britain’s leading lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality charity, published its Education Equality Index 2016 this week which lists the top 10 local authorities in Britain, with OCC ranked sixth.
The index measures practice and policy at all of the participating 50 local authorities.
OCC has created a multi-level Equality Champion School award to encourage schools to improve their practice in relation to preventing and tackling homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying. The award was launched at its Managing Bullying Effectively Conference, at which Stonewall was a keynote speaker.
The county council’s cabinet member for children, education and families, Cllr Melinda Tilley said: “We are very pleased to be ranked once again among the country’s very best local authorities for tackling this issue and are continuing to work with schools and other settings as part of our wider anti-bullying work.”
“Any young person can experience homophobic, bi-phobic or transphobic bullying, and like all forms of bullying it should never be allowed to go unchallenged.”
One school to tackle the subject has been the Warriner School, which has devised an innovative play.
‘Project Q’ is a 20-minute drama which uses physical theatre and dialogue taken directly from interviews with young people about their experiences relating to gender, sexuality and how these are treated by their peers and adults.
The play, which is followed by a question and answer session with the cast, aims to challenge its audience to think about what their school would be like to ‘come out’ in
Councillor Tilley said: “This is a fantastic way to get staff and pupils engaged in tackling this issue and I’d like to congratulate the pupils and staff involved.”
“There’s growing awareness surrounding HBT bullying and schools are working hard to address it, but the active involvement of young people themselves is crucial, which is what makes this project special.”
Following a debut performance of Project Q earlier this month, the aim is to tour the play round the county’s secondary schools in order to raise the profile of HBT bullying and ensure more effective action is taken to safeguard young people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.
Sarah Rose, senior account manager at Stonewall said: “OCC has shone with its incredible initiatives and work with and for young people, and is role modelling behaviour in its commitment to fighting bullying and discrimination.”