The Council has been named by the charity Stonewall as the one of the best local authorities in Britain for tackling homophobic bullying and celebrating difference in their schools.
Stonewall published the Education Equality Index 2014 on Friday, listing the Top 10 local authorities in Britain.
Bath & North East Somerset Council has secured fifth place, after being named Best New Entrant on the 2013 Index.
The Index measures practice and policy at all of the participating local authorities. Forty-five local authorities submitted entries to the 2014 Index, making it the most competitive to date.
Cllr Dine Romero (Lib Dem, Southdown) Cabinet Member for Early Years, Children and Youth, said: “I am delighted that the work of Bath & North East Somerset Council and its schools and early years settings on equalities and diversity is being nationally recognised – and that we have climbed so rapidly in the index.
“All schools should be safe places for all people regardless of any differences, so I am pleased that our schools and teachers are not tolerating homophobic bullying.”
Luke Tryl, Stonewall Head of Education, said: “Bath & North East Somerset Council deserves enormous congratulations on its performance in this year’s Stonewall Education Equality Index. Homophobic bullying still has a detrimental impact on the attendance, achievement and life chances of young people.
“It’s fantastic to see the work of our Top 10 highlighted in the Index, inspiring others to take action to provide teachers with the tools they need to make schools a safe and supportive place to help all young people to achieve their full potential.”
The Teachers’ Report 2014 found that over 90 per cent of primary school staff – and eight in ten secondary school teachers – say they haven’t received specific training on how to tackle homophobic bullying. Separate research by the University of Cambridge – The School Report 2012 – showed that three in five gay pupils who experience homophobic bullying say that teachers who witness the bullying never intervene.
The same research found that two in five lesbian, gay and bisexual pupils who experience homophobic bullying deliberately harm themselves because of it.
Michael Gove MP, Secretary of State for Education, said: ‘Stonewall’s research clearly shows that all too often the biggest barrier to tackling homophobic bullying isn’t lack of will, but lack of teacher confidence.
“This year’s Education Equality Index shows that evermore local authorities are now rising to meet this challenge by providing the training and support that teachers need to challenge homophobia in their classrooms.
“We congratulate the Top Ten authorities and welcome the fact that the Index continues to drive performance in this important area.”
The Education Equality Index 2014 is available from www.stonewall.org.uk/educationequalityindex from 4th July.