The Leader of the Labour Party, Ed Miliband MP, visited Blatchington Mill School in Hove this afternoon, Friday July 5.
He first met with parents to discuss anti-homophobic bullying strategies and the schools equalities work and then took a question and answer session for forty five minutes with students from all years, outside in the school courtyard.
Subjects covered in the questions ranged from homophobia in sport to homophobic and transphobic bullying in the classroom, from the Brighton bin strike to the recent military coup in Egypt.
In his opening remarks, Mr Miliband said that when he was at school 32 years ago no-one was ‘out’ and nobody discussed lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender issues and questioned why that was. “It was about prejudice” he said, and he explained how through the legislative changes implemented by the last Labour Government right through to the present ‘equal marriage’ debate going through Parliament, the difference now is that in the eyes of the law everyone is equal and valued.
Questions taken from the students included his views on gay marriage, homophobia in football, the reluctance of the church to support gay marriage and women bishops, his views on bi-phobia and trans phobia and whether he thought there would ever be a trans politician in parliament.
Whilst student attainment and progress at Blatchington Mill are a key school priority, student wellbeing is considered vital so all students are happy and then able to learn to the best of their ability when they are studying.
The school is determined to remove barriers to learning for all students; their ethos is one of celebrating diversity and challenging prejudice in any form. Blatchington Mill is a Stonewall champion school and recently had the opportunity to discuss their anti-bullying strategies with the Brighton and Hove Council anti-bullying scrutiny panel.
Todays visit by Mr Miliband coincides with three student commissioners from Blatchington Mill School travelling to London to attend the Stonewall ‘Education for all Conference’ in London today, which was attended by the Minister for Education, Michael Gove, MP. These students are from Year 9 (13-14 years old) and will receive training on how to lead anti-bullying initiatives in school, as well as how to address and challenge homophobic language and bullying.
Blatchington Mill School was reported as ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted for Behaviour and Safety, including its success in tackling LGBT issues and has continued to expand and advance its proactive work in this area.
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