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How we tackled HBT Bullying

In April 2015, Barnardo’s secured government funding to tackle homophobic, biphobic and transphobic (HBT) bullying in schools in Leeds and Wakefield. Our programme provided face-to-face support for children and young people, and training for staff, with a focus on cultural issues.

Recent national research by Youth Chances and Nat Gen highlighted that some schools lack confidence in dealing with HBT bullying. Teachers said they were unsure how to confidently address this form of bullying and didn’t have enough time or resources to tackle and prevent HBT bullying.

Our programme aimed to build schools’ capacity to understand HBT bullying and deal with it effectively. We also aimed to increase the visibility, respect and understanding of young people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans or those questioning their sexuality or gender identity (LGBTQ) in schools and communities.

We worked with two school clusters – the Outwood Grange Academies Trust in Wakefield and the Temple Newsam Learning Partnership in Leeds – and a consortium of organisations, together we created a tried and tested model for work for addressing HBT bullying that can be replicated by other schools and communities.

The project is ran for 12 months being independently evaluated at both a local and a national level. At the end of this period, the schools involved continued to maintain and build on the model.

What we did in schools

Our two lead schools were Outwood Grange Academy in Wakefield and Temple Moor High School in Leeds. We began by conducting a survey among staff and students. We wanted to understand how much awareness there was of LGBTQ issues in everyday school life, and what progress had been made so far in tackling and preventing HBT bullying prior to our work.

Based on our findings, we provided the following services within the schools and their local communities.

  • One-to-one support for students, on a drop-in basis.
  • Group support sessions, which offered LGBTQ young people and their friends a safe place to explore issues that matter to them, including the impact of HBT bullying.
  • Weekly drop-in clinics for young people who experienced, or who were involved in HBT bullying.
  • Summer activities to support young people and increase their confidence.
  • Delivery of Barnardo’s SafeZone identity training to teaching and non-teaching staff.
  • Training for school leaders and governors on the impact of HBT bullying.
  • Support for community and faith leaders to find ways to address HBT bullying, where it involveed issues relating to faith, culture and religion.
  • Support for the two lead schools to review and develop their policies on and responses to HBT bullying.

Who to contact

If you’ve got a question about Barnardo’s Positive Identities Service in relation to the above grant, you can contact Outwood Grange Academy or Temple Moor High School directly. Or email our Positive Identites team.

If you would like to discuss training for your school or organisation please contact our Children’s Services Manager, Yasmeen Sharif at

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