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LGBTQ+ bullying projects in schools have been axed
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LGBTQ+ bullying projects in schools have been axed by the UK government

Teachers and parents had expected The Homophobic, Biphobic and Transphobic Challenge Fund to be extended

The UK government has ended funding for projects in schools intended to stem the bullying of LGBTQ+ pupils. Ministers are aware that LGBTQ+ pupils are at higher risk of abuse, however they claim that funding for the initiatives was always set to end, according to the BBC.

Since May 2014, the government Equalities Office has launched several programmes targeting homophobic and transphobic bullying, costing up to £4m. The Homophobic, Biphobic and Transphobic Challenge Fund offered teachers and children training and workshops to help protect children. Providers of these workshops, as well as parents and teachers, expected the funding to continue, but the government “quietly” pulled its backing of LGBTQ+ initiatives last March.

A workshop provider, who wished to remain anonymous, said that she felt “sick” at the news of funding being pulled and that her organisation had been “ignored” and “shut out”. She said: “What message does this send to young people? This government is rolling back on their initial commitment to LGBT rights”.

The government Equalities Office told Dazed: “The anti-bullying grant fund, which provided 2250 schools across the country with materials and training, was always due to end in March 2020.” It added that The Department for Education will be taking forward “all anti-bullying work”, but said nothing of an extension to work relating specifically to LGBTQ+ pupils.

It added that the aim of The Homophobic, Biphobic and Transphobic Challenge Fund was to “educate” and “prevent” the bullying of LGBTQ+ students in schools. “Grantees had to demonstrate that they were able to do this. We are currently evaluating this programme to increase our evidence base on what works in schools, and, in June, the Department for Education announced it has extended its anti-bullying programme until March next year”.

When asked if there were plans for further LGBTQ+ specific funding, the government Equalities Office told Dazed: “The responsibility for all anti-bullying work now sits with the Department for Education now so will be up to them”.