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Birmingham primary schools put ‘gay awareness’ lessons on the curriculum

Birmingham primary schools put ‘gay awareness’ lessons on the curriculum

🕔13.Nov 2013

Children at 12 Birmingham primary schools are being warned against homophobic bullying in special ‘gay awareness’ lessons, it has emerged.

The youngsters are taking part in an ‘educate and celebrate’ training programme which instils the importance of not discriminating against lesbian, gay and trans-gender people.

It also cautions against using the term ‘gay’ as a derogatory remark and challenges ‘gender stereotypes’ in literature.

The classes have the full support of city council chief executive Stephen Hughes, according to a report in Pink News, a website claiming to be Europe’s largest gay news service.

Mr Hughes is described as admiring the work of LGBT schools advisor Elly Barnes and says he wants Birmingham to be the first city to eradicate anti-gay behaviour from its schools.

The article quotes Mr Hughes: “I was inspired by Elly’s work and thought that is the person we need to sort things out in Birmingham so we can be the first city to eliminate homophobic bullying from our schools.

“She is a very charismatic person with bags of energy and enthusiasm and will make a sea change to the way we tackle homophobic bullying in our schools, as well as raising awareness of the need for tolerance and understanding in such a diverse city as Birmingham.”

Schools OUT, a charity that works towards equality for LGBT people in education, says that Birmingham is leading the way in tackling homophobic behaviour.

According to the charity, 10 per cent of Birmingham schools, 40 in total, are benefiting from the programme, including ten primaries.

The CHIPS initiative – Challenging Homophobia in Primary Schools – is described as a free resource developed for teachers to “give them the confidence to engage with students about how to tackle the word ‘gay’ being used in a derogatory way, and to challenge gender stereotypes through inclusive books in language and literacy curriculums.”

One of the schools to benefit from CHIPS is Cotteridge Junior and Infants school.

The school’s pastoral manager, who is not named in the Pink News report, is quoted: “The training gave us the confidence to challenge stereotypes and discuss LGBT issues in our school, the books and imagery highlight and celebrate the diversity of family life.”

Birmingham is due to host the national LGBT History Month pre-launch event on later this month, in which workshops in both primary and secondary schools will engage young people in music, art, and history.

Cover Image: via imstmag.com

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