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CofE Faith Schools Get Guidance on Combatting Homophobic Bullying

12/05/2014

Today, JustCofE Guidancein Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury  launched a report drafted by the Education Division of the Church of England entitled, “Valuing All God’s Children: Guidance for Church of England Schools on Challenging Homophobic Bullying.” Following the same-sex marriage debates in the Houses of Commons and Lords,  Archbishop Welby recognised that the world had indeed changed and made a commitment to combat bullying in Church Schools

The guidance (which can be downloaded here) is being sent to all Church of England schools, and  provides 10 key recommendations which should be adopted by schools in challenging homophobic bullying. It provides sample policies for primary and secondary schools as well a survey questions.

The 10 key recommendations are as follows:

1. Schools should ensure that their Christian ethos statement emphasises an inclusivity that welcomes all, and reveres and respects all members of the diverse community as individuals who are known and loved by God.
2. All school staff should be trained to recognise and understand how to challenge all types of bullying including homophobic language and behaviour. They should also be trained to offer pastoral support in the context of the issues surrounding sexual identity and homophobic bullying.
3. Schools should ensure that their behaviour policies include clear expectations that homophobic behaviour and language will not be tolerated and that there can be no justification for this negative behaviour based on the Christian faith or the Bible.
4. In Collective Worship, themes and values that play a part in challenging bullying in all forms should be explored.
5. Opportunities should be offered for pupils to explore why some people seek to bully and that bullying can take the form of homophobic bullying. Strategies of how to protect yourself and others from bullying should be taught and pupils should be confident that if they report bullying it will be taken seriously.
6. Systems for monitoring and analysing incidents of bullying should include homophobic bullying as a category and the school should regularly review the effectiveness of its curriculum, strategies and ethos in this regard.
7. Governors should take responsibility for monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of anti-bullying strategies and ensure that regular reports about bullying and wellbeing are part of the cycle of governors’ meetings. On all governing bodies there will be a nominated lead governor on safety and behaviour which will include bullying.

8. Within the secondary phase sexual orientation is included as an aspect of Sex and Relationships Education, ensuring that the official Church of England view is taught clearly alongside other viewpoints held by Anglicans, other Christians, and different faith perspectives and world-views.
9. Anti-bullying procedures and outcomes should be included as a performance indicator of a Church school that is distinctive and effective and included in the SIAMS framework for inspection.
10. Diocesan Boards of Education and Diocesan Multi-Academy Trusts should monitor incidents of bullying in their schools and develop systems to monitor schools’ strategies for inclusion and bullying, supporting effective implementation.

 

We await with baited breath for other faiths to respect all humanity and follow suit.

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