A conference to tackle the issue of homophobic bullying in schools in Northamptonshire is being hosted by the University of Northampton next month.
The ‘I’m Still Me’ conference comes after it was revealed that many children and young people suffer bullying due to their sexuality or gender orientation which results in a damaging effect on their wellbeing and academic achievement.
It is being organised by the charity Stonewall which campaigns for equality for lesbians, gay men and bisexuals and has been backed by a number of organisations, including Northampton Borough Council, Northampton School for Boys, The Lowdown and the county council.
A spokesman said: “More and more, we are recognising that our children and young people, as well as our workforce, come from very diverse family structures.
“All teachers, social workers and youth workers should be equipped with the tools and confidence to support young people who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Questioning, be able to challenge negative language and attitudes, and to celebrate and embrace diversity.
“Research shows that many children and young people suffer bullying in school in relation to their sexuality or gender orientation which seriously impairs their wellbeing, academic attainment and progress, as well as involvement and success in extra-curricular activities, sometimes leading to teenage suicide and mental health referrals.
“Ofsted has highlighted the importance of celebrating difference and tackling prejudice-related language and bullying as part of its Behaviour & Safety key judgement. Addressing this area also aids the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of pupils.
“But happily - and increasingly – many schools, both primary & secondary – are finding ways to celebrate different types of families. And finding that it isn’t hard to make a massive difference.
And public figures such as Clare Balding, Tom Daley and Gareth Thomas are putting themselves forward as important role models and champions of diversity.”#
The day-long conference, which takes place on February 5 at Sunley Management Centre at the University of Northampton, is free and runs frmo 9am to 3.30pm.
Bookings can be made through http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/im-still-me-registration-14843081055