Leeds school tackles homophobia in sport
A school in Leeds this week educated pupils on the importance of tackling homophobia in sport.
PE staff from Prince Henry Grammar School in Otley led a day’s activities as part of the school’s Diversity Week.
The school has already achieved the Stephen Lawrence Education Standard for its work on race equality and it was pupils themselves who identified the need to extend the school’s diversity work to challenge homophobia.
As Jo Temple, Assistant Curriculum Leader for Physical education explains: “I am so proud that the PE department is leading the way in tackling the homophobic bullying which goes on in schools and think this is a great example to set to not only other departments within school but to other schools across the country.
“In any sport, grassroots is very important. If we are to tackle homophobia and gender stereotypes in sport we should be tackling them at this early stage in young peoples’ lives.”
The day was delivered in partnership with Pride Sports, the UK’s LGBT sports development and equity organisation, and saw a range of activities take place.
These included presentations and workshops for pupils, which focussed on gender stereotyping, homophobia in sport and homophobic bullying in sport. The presentations and workshops were twinned with practical sports sessions, which saw mixed teams of male and female students take part in netball and rugby inter-house tournaments.
All PE staff wore Stonewall ‘Some People are Gay. Get over it’ campaign t-shirts, whilst campaign bunting also decorated the corridors of the school. In preparation for the day, staff had also created a display, which included images of gay sports heroes such as Gareth Thomas and Donal Og Cussack.
Lou Englefield, Director of Pride Sports praised the school’s initiative: “It was great to be part of such a positive event. The whole school had embraced the initiative.
“It was very powerful to see the whole PE team, male and female staff, in campaign t-shirts and young people really got to grips with some of the issues around homophobia in the workshops. It would be great to see more schools and sports clubs work in such an innovative way with young people.”
The event comes in the wake of last month’s statement from the coalition Government that they are committed to tackling homophobia and transphobia in sport ‘so that people participating in and watching sport feel safe’.
For more information on Pride Sports, please visit pridesports.org