Stonewall, Britain’s leading lesbian, gay, bi and trans equality charity, has named Birmingham City Council as one of the best local authorities in Britain for tackling homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying and celebrating difference in its schools. This comes as the charity today publishes its annual Education Equality Index, listing the Top 10 local authorities in Britain, with Birmingham City Council coming in eighth position.

The Index measures practice and policy at all of the participating local authorities. 50 local authorities submitted entries to the 2016 Index, making it the most competitive to date.

Birmingham City Council’s Education and Schools Strategy and Improvement Plan makes a strategic commitment to offer all schools training on preventing and tackling homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying and creating LGBT inclusive spaces.

LGBT awareness training has been delivered to 60 Early Years Foundation Stage practitioners with each attendee given an ‘All families welcome’ jigsaw puzzle, featuring photos of same-sex parents and their children in locations around Birmingham, to use in their settings.

Primary pupil ambassadors visit other schools in the city to spread their No Outsiders ethos and encourage them to celebrate difference. Inter-agency partnership work, through the Bullying Reduction Action Group (BRAG), continues to drive Birmingham’s anti-bullying work. BRAG has developed a new partnership with PAPYRUS (the national charity for the prevention of young suicide) to look at ways to support young people at risk of suicide, including those who are LGBT.

Councillor Brigid Jones, Cabinet Member for Children, Families and Schools, said: ‘I’m really pleased Birmingham has been recognised as one of the leading authorities when it comes to tackling homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in schools. There is of course still some way to go until we are in a place where nobody is bullied or treated differently because of their sexuality or gender identity, and we will continue to do all we can to create a safe and supportive atmosphere in all our schools for all our young people.’

Sarah Rose, Senior Account Manager, Stonewall: ‘We have seen phenomenal work from all of those local authorities that have participated in this year’s Education Equality Index – in particular our Top 10 and our award winners. Birmingham City Council has shone with its incredible initiatives and work with and for young people, and is role modelling behaviour in its commitment to fighting bullying and discrimination.’

Stonewall’s Teachers’ Report 2014 found that over 90 per cent of primary school staff – and eight in ten secondary school teachers – say they haven’t received specific training on how to tackle homophobic and biphobic bullying.

Results of the Index were announced on Friday 8 July at Stonewall’s Education for All conference, where speakers included Gok Wan and Yvette Cooper MP.