The Labour Party has today announced that it will make Sex and Relationship Education (SRE) compulsory in all state schools, and that it plans to crack down on homophobic bullying.

The announcement was made by Shadow Education Secretary Tristram Hunt today at Little Ilford School in London.

The plan, as well as making age-appropriate SRE more LGBT inclusive, and compulsory in all state-funded schools, including academies, free schools and voluntary aided institutions, will ensure all teachers are trained to deal with homophobic bullying.

In addition, mental health services for young people living with the consequences of homophobic bullying will be promoted, and a national best practice toolkit will be created to help schools to tackle homophobic, transphobic and biphobic bullying.

Mr Hunt, announcing the policy at the beginning of LGBT History Month, said it aims to make “every classroom, dinner hall and playground a homophobic free zone.”

He said: “The presence of homophobic bullying in our classrooms, playgrounds and dinner halls is deeply troubling, and it is very real. The use of homophobic language and other forms of homophobic bullying is damaging the life chances of so many young people.

“It has a daily effect that limits learning, and causes people long term damage. There is no place for it in our society – and never should it be ignored in our schools. Schools have a duty to show a zero tolerance approach to the use of homophobic language and bullying.”

Continuing, Mr Hunt said he hoped the new policy would rid the UK of the shadow of Section 28, calling it “a most pernicious piece of legislation”, which “casts a shadow over our education system, both for those that are new to the schools workforce and for those who worked in schools whilst it was in operation.

“That is why repealing Section 28 alone, is not enough. We need new training for new and long-standing teachers, and others in the school workforce. Strategies for education, dealing with both prevention and resolution. And we need to act urgently to prevent the plight of homophobic bullying that is damaging the lives and life chances of thousands of pupils.”

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