Bullying related to sexual orientation is now recognised as a serious issue with which schools should engage. This guide is intended for governors, school staff or other professionals who want to prevent or challenge homophobic bullying in secondary schools. Evidence increasingly suggests that attention to the physical and emotional well-being of pupils (including helping those who are bullied or who bully) can and does lead to more effective schools and raised academic attainment. Indeed, national guidance from the DfES states that governors and head teachers have a legal duty to prevent all forms of bullying, including that related to sexual orientation. Furthermore, head teachers should 'determine measures (which may include the making of rules and provision for enforcing them) to be taken with a view to encouraging good behaviour and respect for others on the part of pupils and, in particular, preventing all forms of bullying among pupils'. However, people are not always clear about what can be done in schools to prevent homophobic bullying. To clarify what can be done, the ideas in this guide build on research carried out in seven schools across England and Wales, each of which was committed to challenging homophobic behaviour.
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