Funds for anti-LGBTQ+ bullying programmes in schools has been axed by the UK government.
Initially called The Homophobic, Biphobic and Transphobic Challenge Fund, the programme launched in 2014 for staff, parents and students to receive free training and workshops to stamp out homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying.
Although training was expected to continue, as it has done over the past six years, the BBC have learned that Boris Johnson’s conservative government pulled funding earlier this year.
The Government Equalities Office said: “The anti-bullying grant fund, which provided 2,250 schools across the country with materials and training, was always due to end in March 2020.”
The news arrives shortly after a tweet from the Department for Education, in which they wrote: “No child should have to experience bullying, in or out of school.”
A new study from LGBTQ+ education charity Diversity Role Models also recently discovered that half of queer kids don’t feel like they can be their authentic selves at school.
The Pathways to LGBT+ Inclusion report surveyed 6,136 students and 5,733 adults from 90 schools.
It found that 46% of students wouldn’t feel safe coming out at school, with the number jumping to 73% for students in secondary schools.
Only 32% of secondary school students said their teachers would challenge anti-LGBTQ+ language.
Nancy Kelley, chief executive of Stonewall, told the BBC that cut funding would lead to students being left to “suffer in silence”.
“We know LGBT+ people are disproportionately affected by poor mental health, and some of this is because of the way they were treated at school,” she said.
“It’s crucial this government invests money in funding anti-LGBT+ bullying programmes across England.”
Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, stressed the important of young students learning about harmful stereotypes that result in LGBTQ+ youth feeling marginalised.
He said: “If the government is dropping this funding, they need to explain what alternative plans they have to give schools support with challenging LGBT+ bullying.”