The government is set to pull funding on English school projects designed to tackle bullying of LGBT students, a BBC News report has revealed
Ministers had previously admitted that those identifying as LGBT face a higher risk of bullying, but have said the funding was always going to come to an end.
Initially labelled The Homophobic, Biphobic and Transphobic Challenge Fund, the government funded programme was not compulsory in schools in England, but presented teachers, staff, and pupils with free training and workshops.
The BBC has reported that the providers of workshops, as well as parents, teachers, and students, had been expecting the government funding to continue.
Felt 'sick' at loss of funding
One provider of LGBT inclusion workshops told the BBC that she had felt “sick” that schools would not be able to continue their work. She also claimed that her organisation has been ignored and shut out by the government.
The provider, who wanted to remain anonymous, said: “What message does this send to young people? This government is rolling back on their initial commitment to LGBT rights.”
The report reveals that in March the government quietly ended its funding of LGBT anti-bullying initiatives.
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."
What does LGBT inclusion work involve?
The Government Equalities Office funding has been well received since its implementation in 2014.
Originally starting as a £2 million package, many organisations received extensions in funding, with the total amount now coming in at least £4 million.
The funding went to organisations that provide workshops and education to create safe spaces to challenge bullying and improve awareness of LGBT equality.
The services help staff who may not feel confident in how to challenge bullying of LGBT kids witnessed at school, staff who don’t feel comfortable with language around gender identity, and young people needing contextual safeguarding.
METRO, an LGBT charity, has received funding since 2016. Its CEO Dr Greg Ussger, told the BBC that “most schools” had been unable to continue their LGBT inclusivity work without government backing.
He said: “We were able to work directly with over 200 schools, train over 4,000 staff, as well as engage students in school-wide equalities activities.
“Government funding meant that schools could have this support for free, but they now need to find funds from their already stretched budgets."