The first stage of a project to drive out homophobic and biphobic bullying in schools has been awarded to a research group and given the go ahead.

The new initiative to help drive out homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying in secondary schools was launched last November in an East London school by Minister for Women and Equalities Jo Swinson, during Anti- Bullying Week.

The National Centre for Social Research, the largest independent research agency in the UK, was awarded the contract for the first stage of the project.

The first stage of the project is to review all evidence and existing practices in place in schools currently.

After bidding for the funding to conduct the work, NatCen was successful.

Minister for Women and Equalities Jenny Willott, said: “Homophobic, biphobic and transphobic taunts and teasing in the school playground may seem harmless but it can seriously affect children’s health and well-being, lead to poor educational performance and prevent them getting ahead in life.

“Young people should be able to go to school without fear of bullying or discrimination. We expect schools to take a strong stand against all forms of bullying and to deal with incidents quickly when they occur.”

“This project will help us to understand all the issues, what works best in tackling this type of bullying, and to develop effective, evidence-based tools and best practice that will help schools and others to stamp out this harmful behaviour.”

Michelle Gray, Project Research Director at NatCen, said: “We are delighted to be carrying out this important and well needed piece of research and have put together a team who fully understand and have experience in the areas of equalities and LGBT research. We have designed a mixed methods programme of work which we hope will really get to the bottom of what works and why to eventually help all of those working with children and young people to eradicate homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying.

“The project builds on action the government has already taken to tackle bullying in schools including publishing updated advice and guidance for schools and governing bodies; and giving schools greater legal powers to tackle bad behaviour and cyber-bullying.”