Educational Action Challenging Homophobia

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Educational Action Challenging Homophobia (EACH) is a registered charity in the United Kingdom established "to affirm the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) people and reduce discrimination experienced because of sexual orientation or gender identity".[1] Founded in 2002, EACH provides support services to young people and adults affected by homophobic or transphobic bullying or harassment and training to agencies committed to realising an equal and safe working environment for all, regardless of age, sex, ability, ethnicity, faith, gender identity or sexuality.[2]

Consultancy and training is delivered to schools, colleges, universities, statutory and voluntary sector agencies on sexual orientation and gender identity issues.

EACH runs a freephone Helpline (telephone and web-based) for young people affected by homophobic or transphobic bullying nationwide.[3]

Learn Equality - Live Equal[edit]

Commissioned by the Department for Education and the Government Equalities Office in a programme running from March 2017 to March 2019, EACH is working in partnership with the National Children's Bureau's Sex Education Forum and Anti-Bullying Alliance to challenge homophobic, biphobic and transphobic (HBT) bullying in schools.[4]

The programme will deliver targeted support to over 350 eligible schools in the East Midlands, West Midlands, South West and East of England.[5] It favours a whole school approach to effect change, aiming to equip teaching and non-teaching staff with the knowledge and skills to tackle prejudice and build inclusive school environments.[6] An independent evaluation of the project will be carried out by Sheffield Hallam University at the end of the programme.[7]

Inspiring Equality in Education[edit]

In March 2015, The Government Equalities Office and Department for Education awarded EACH funding from a £2m package of support to promote lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality and challenge prejudice-based bullying in schools. EACH was one of only eight organisations selected nationally and led a consortium of local and national charities to work with West of England schools, delivering training to over 700 professionals.[8]

The programme culminated in the production of a comprehensive School Resource for KS1-4, Inspiring Equality in Education, including 17 lesson plans, policy and practice guidance and an educational film, 'What is Gender?' to help young people explore how diverse gender can be.[9]

Inspiring Equality in Education was created to help address the findings that schools often lack confidence and feel under-resourced to deal effectively with homophobic, biphobic or transphobic bullying, and draws on decades of professional practice gained from primary, secondary, rural, urban, faith and secular schools to ensure a safe and equal learning environment for all.[10] The resource includes policy and practice guidance covering what the law says, teaching about LGBT+ identities and relationships, handling disclosures, staff training and development, improving anti-bullying policies and one-to-one support for LGBT+ young people.[11]

History[edit]

In January 2015 EACH received funding from the Ben Cohen StandUp Foundation towards its Youth Volunteering Programme. The EACH Youth Volunteering Programme provided opportunities for young people across Avon and Somerset to challenge homophobic, transphobic and cyber bullying. Young people aged 13 – 24 were encouraged to participate in a range of exciting activities and events providing opportunities to discuss prejudice-based bullying in a safe and non-judgmental environment. They could meet new people and devise youth-led awareness campaigns that promoted affirming representations of gay and transgender lives.[12]

EACH Executive Director Jonathan Charlesworth’s first book, "That's So Gay - Challenging Homophobic Bullying" was published in 2015. It is aimed at teachers and others working directly with young people, in formal or informal settings. It is a hands-on, practical guide to dealing with homophobic name-calling and bullying in primary, secondary or college settings.[13]

In 2009 EACH was awarded a Big Lottery grant for its groundbreaking Reach project. Since 2010 EACH has been working with over 3,500 young people across the West of England: co-creating the Reach Teaching Resource: a toolkit for challenging homophobic, sexist and cyberbullying. The resource contains a DVD of films and connected activities on homophobia, sexism and cyberbullying plus guidance notes for teachers to help them understand their legal obligations and Ofsted requirements. Reach’s young people were awarded the 2013 Diana Anti-Bullying Award at a celebration conference in London in February 2014.[14] In 2014 the Reach Teaching Resource achieved the PSHE Association's Quality Assurance 'Kite Mark'.[15]

In 2007 the now Department for Education commissioned EACH and Stonewall to create the web-based guidance to all schools - "Safe to Learn: Homophobic Bullying" which continues to be widely used and applauded by many working within education in its widest sense.[16]

EACH was subsequently invited to contribute to "Safe to Learn: Bullying Out of School" and "Safe to Learn: Gender-related Bullying" - the final guidance in the suite designed by the DCSF for schools everywhere. EACH has contributed to the Department's advice to schools on preventing and tackling bullying and consulted closely with the Church of England in its creation of guidance to church schools to help challenge homophobic school bullying.

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