Teachers must “challenge homophobia” in class

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Teachers must include the gay community when teaching about issues such as equality, families and the media to help challenge homophobic bullying in schools, an education consultant advised today.

Mark Jennett, an expert in teaching on sexuality, told a conference of the NASUWT teaching union that the classroom is a place where sexuality can easily be talked about.

The Boys to Men conference addressed issued surrounding boys in education.

He said: “People need to know how to challenge homophobia, you can talk about sexuality in the classroom without talking about sex.

“There is no reason why when talking about relationships and a mum and dad you cannot talk about two mums.

“Teaching about discrimination does not just have to use examples of ethnicities, and you can talk about how gay people are represented in the media as well as other minorities.

He highlighted the importance of logbooks of homophobic incidents currently being used in some local authorities, “A few local authorities are piloting the recording of homophobic incidents in schools in the same way that schools are currently required to record racist incidents.

“Apart from helping to give an indication of the level of bullying in schools, it’s really important in terms of the message it sends out that such behaviour is equally as unacceptable as racism, “he said.

A Department for Education and Skills spokesperson said: “Bullying should never be tolerated in our schools, no matter what its motivation.”