Members of the Youth Parliament have debated the scourge of homophobic bullying in Britain’s schools.
The subject was raised as part of a wider discussion on bullying.
More than 300 youngsters aged 11 to 18 crowded into the House of Commons chamber for the Youth Parliament on Friday.
It is the third year in a row the event has been held in the chamber – the only time it is opened to non-MPs.
The Youth Parliament voted for a motion to “radically” overhaul the national curriculum to include better sex education and lessons about cultural awareness, community cohesion and personal financial management.
That motion – which will now form the basis of a national campaign in 2014 – only related to the Youth Parliament in England.
Perdita Blinkhorn, who represents young people in Medway, Kent, said schools needed to do more than say they had a zero-tolerance approach to bullying.
She said: “Recent statistics show that schools class bullying because of race 98% of the time, 95% of the time they class discrimination on the basis of disability but only just 50% of time schools class bullying on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
“That to me speaks volumes – it says to me that zero-tolerance policies in schools is not the issue because so many schools have those. They say they are against bullying, of course they do. What it says to me is that schools have different values that they apply to bullying and it is how they perceive it.”