Oxfordshire County Council has been named the joint best council in the country for tackling anti-LGBT bullying in schools.
Stonewall, Britain’s lesbian, gay, bi and trans equality charity, listed the council in joint first place alongside North Yorkshire County Council in its Education Equality Index 2019, which rates local areas for combating this form of bullying and celebrating difference in schools.
The council, which was also highly placed in last year’s Index, is a member of Stonewall’s Education Champions Programme and has developed nationally recognised strategies to address anti-LGBT bullying, providing both resources and guidance to school staff.
Sarah Rose, Senior Account Manager at Stonewall, said: “Oxfordshire County Council is undertaking inspiring work to support LGBT young people in their local communities and leading the way on tackling anti-LGBT bullying.
“We know that young people continue to face challenges in Britain’s schools, but with so many local authorities demonstrating such a strong commitment to celebrating difference and supporting LGBT young people we are one step closer to creating a world where all young people are welcomed and accepted without exception.”
Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Education Cllr Lorraine Lindsay Gale, said: “We’re delighted to be ranked the country’s very best local authorities for tackling this issue. 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.”
Lucy Butler Director for Children’s Services at the county council added: “We are very proud of the partnership work we are doing with schools and other agencies including Thames Valley Police, Health, and youth groups both to prevent bullying and to provide support for LGBT children and young people.”
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Now almost a decade old, the Stonewall Equality 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.
For more information, help and advice about all forms of bullying, visit the council’s anti-bullying web pages