County’s schoolchildren use art to tackle LGBT bullying

Children’s artwork tackling the themes of homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying has gone up on display at County Hall.

The paintings and other exhibits are part of the council’s ongoing partnership with schools to help prevent and reduce bullying of young people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, those who have LGBT family members and those who don’t fit gender stereotypes.

The county council is a member of Stonewall’s Education Champions Programme and has developed nationally recognised strategies to combat this issue, providing resources and guidance to school staff. Last year Oxfordshire was rated sixth-best out of 50 councils in the charity’s Equality Index.

Partnership work

The council’s Deputy Director for Safeguarding Lara Patel said: “Any young person can experience homophobic, bi-phobic or transphobic bullying, and like all forms of bullying it should never be allowed to go unchallenged.”

“We are very proud of the partnership work we are doing with schools and other agencies including Thames Valley Police, Health, and youth groups to support young people and combat this particular type of bullying.

She added: “In particular there are many schools in Oxfordshire doing excellent work and developing ideas to help inspire others. We wanted to showcase some of that work here at County Hall.”

The artwork was created by pupils at Dr Radcliffe’s Primary School and Wheatley Park School, alongside children taking part in the My Normal youth arts project.

The council has also raised the rainbow flag at County Hall and Fire Headquarters in Kidlington to mark International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia.