Homophobic, biphobic and transphobic (HBT) bullying tackled in new guidance for Church schools


13 November 2017

Guidance for the Church of England’s 4,700 schools
published today aims to prevent pupils from having their self-worth
diminished or their ability to achieve impeded by being
bullied because of their perceived or actual sexual orientation or
gender identity. 

The report makes 12 recommendations for schools including
ensuring schools’ Christian ethos statements offer “an
inclusive vision for education” where “every child should
be revered and respected as members of a community where all are
known and loved by God. “

Clear anti-bullying policies should include HBT behaviours and
language, policies on how to report incidences should be
accessible, staff trained on recognising
bullying, curriculum and collective worship should support the
vision and the wider church ensure that schools are responding well
to the guidance.

Commending the report, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin
Welby, said: “All bullying, including homophobic, biphobic and
transphobic bullying causes profound damage, leading to higher
levels of mental health disorders, self-harm, depression and
suicide.

“Central to Christian theology is the truth that every single
one of us is made in the image of God. Every one of us is loved
unconditionally by God.

“This guidance helps schools to offer the Christian message of
love, joy and celebration of our humanity without exception or
exclusion.”

The advice is an update on Valuing All God’s Children, guidance
published in 2014 which tackled homophobic behaviour. This
update covers a wider range of negative behaviours, incorporates
the relevant legal and inspection frameworks and reflects the
Church’s
Vision for Education
, whose four elements of wisdom, hope,
community and dignity form the theological basis of the
guidance.

Stephen Conway, Bishop of Ely and lead bishop for education
said: “Our vision for education speaks of living life in all its
fullness. Our vision has a clear commitment to dignity and hope,
both of which can be undermined by any form of bullying. This
guidance will help to bring our vision into reality by equipping
schools to remove these pernicious forms of bullying that strike at
the heart of a child’s identity and formation.”

Chief Education Officer for the Church of England, Nigel
Genders, said: “Providing an education to our 1 million children
that will enable them to live life in all its fullness is a big
responsibility. 

“This practical and thoughtful advice is packed
with templates and a comprehensive selection of resources for
schools, teachers, families and young people. I hope that it will
make a difference to our school communities and individual pupils
too.”

The report acknowledges that it is likely that not all will
agree on issues to do with human sexuality, marriage or gender
identity. It goes on to say that: “However, there needs to be a
faithful and loving commitment to remain in relationship with the
other and honour the dignity of their humanity without ‘back
turning’, dismissing the other person, or claiming
superiority.”

 

The report can be found here.