Thinking Anglicans

Church of England schools revise bullying guidance

Church of England press release

Homophobic, biphobic and transphobic (HBT) bullying tackled in new guidance for Church schools

13 November 2017

Guidance for the Church of England’s 4,700 schools published today aims to prevent pupils from having their self-worth diminished or their ability to achieve impeded by being bullied because of their perceived or actual sexual orientation or gender identity.

The report makes 12 recommendations for schools including ensuring schools’ Christian ethos statements offer “an inclusive vision for education” where “every child should be revered and respected as members of a community where all are known and loved by God. “

Clear anti-bullying policies should include HBT behaviours and language, policies on how to report incidences should be accessible, staff trained on recognising bullying, curriculum and collective worship should support the vision and the wider church ensure that schools are responding well to the guidance.

Commending the report, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said: “All bullying, including homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying causes profound damage, leading to higher levels of mental health disorders, self-harm, depression and suicide.

“Central to Christian theology is the truth that every single one of us is made in the image of God. Every one of us is loved unconditionally by God.

“This guidance helps schools to offer the Christian message of love, joy and celebration of our humanity without exception or exclusion.”

The advice is an update on Valuing All God’s Children, guidance published in 2014 which tackled homophobic behaviour. This update covers a wider range of negative behaviours, incorporates the relevant legal and inspection frameworks and reflects the Church’s Vision for Education, whose four elements of wisdom, hope, community and dignity form the theological basis of the guidance.

Stephen Conway, Bishop of Ely and lead bishop for education said: “Our vision for education speaks of living life in all its fullness. Our vision has a clear commitment to dignity and hope, both of which can be undermined by any form of bullying. This guidance will help to bring our vision into reality by equipping schools to remove these pernicious forms of bullying that strike at the heart of a child’s identity and formation.”

Chief Education Officer for the Church of England, Nigel Genders, said: “Providing an education to our 1 million children that will enable them to live life in all its fullness is a big responsibility.

“This practical and thoughtful advice is packed with templates and a comprehensive selection of resources for schools, teachers, families and young people. I hope that it will make a difference to our school communities and individual pupils too.”

The report acknowledges that it is likely that not all will agree on issues to do with human sexuality, marriage or gender identity. It goes on to say that: “However, there needs to be a faithful and loving commitment to remain in relationship with the other and honour the dignity of their humanity without ‘back turning’, dismissing the other person, or claiming superiority.”

The report can be found here.

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CynthiaDavid RowettEdward PrebbleClairejxxSimon Dawson Recent comment authors
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Richard Lewis
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Richard Lewis

“All bullying, including homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying causes profound damage, leading to higher levels of mental health disorders, self-harm, depression and suicide” says Justin Welby. I agree. So will he now say this to the House of bishops, and the Primates, and declare zero tolerance for this kind of behaviour? And will he apologise for the abysmal treatment of LGBT+ clergy by Church of England bishops – now and in the recent past?

Interested Observer
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Interested Observer

“All bullying, including homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying causes profound damage, leading to higher levels of mental health disorders, self-harm, depression and suicide.”

But refusing gay people marriage, employment and welcome in our church is entirely reasonable. After all, given the choice between concern for our LGBTQ friends and African archbishops who wish them harm, we all know who we should choose, don’t we? Don’t we?

Father David
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Father David

Unusually, with all this talk of tiaras, high heels and super hero cloaks on the wireless, I’m not looking forward to taking the Worship tomorrow at our excellent C of E (V A) Primary School tomorrow, as there is bound to be comment from the Staff about the latest Report.
Has the Established Church gone completely mad? No wonder a prominent Lay member of the Archbishops’ Council and the General Synod has resigned!

Father Ron Smith
Guest

This is a very important move made by the Church of England to educate its young in the matter of the nature of human sexuality and gender difference.

All credit is given to the Archbishop of Canterbury in his approval of a new understanding of the effect of bullying of young people on the grounds of their actual or suspected sexual or gender identity. What a breath of fresh air this is in the area of moral leadership in the good old C. of E.

Laurence Cunnington
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Laurence Cunnington

I initially misread that as ‘HTB bullying’.

stephen morgan
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stephen morgan

‘This guidance helps schools to offer the Christian message of love, joy and celebration of our humanity without exception or exclusion.’ it’s quite breathtaking, really. I do wonder sometimes how the Abp can sleep with himself! Imagine a five year old boy today at a C of E school who likes wearing dresses and tiaras from the dressing-up box. Let us call him John. John’s best friend is George. Twenty years hence John and George are still so enamoured of each other that they wish to marry. They go to their local C of E priest. He/she tells them that… Read more »

Ann Reddecliffe
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Ann Reddecliffe

I think this is good. I liked the part from the curriculum recommendation: ‘Relationships and sex education should take LGBT people into account. Sexual orientation should be included within RSE in the secondary phase. The Church of England’s teaching on human sexuality and a range of Christian views should be taught, as well as a range of perspectives from other faiths and world views.’ Insisting on the teaching of a range of Christian views could be an important step forward. I would have liked to have seen more about protecting and supporting LGBT staff. The subject is mentioned, but more… Read more »

Jeremy Pemberton
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Jeremy Pemberton

“The report acknowledges that it is likely that not all will agree on issues to do with human sexuality, marriage or gender identity. It goes on to say that: “However, there needs to be a faithful and loving commitment to remain in relationship with the other and honour the dignity of their humanity without ‘back turning’, dismissing the other person, or claiming superiority”

I am glad they think this is a bad way to treat children, and that children should be brought up not to do this. Why, then, are they still a homophobic and discriminatory organisation that bully LGBTI adults?

Fr Andrew
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Fr Andrew

Welcome though this is, until it is also applied to adults, including clergy, lay ministers, employees of churches and congregants, it stinks of hypocritical casuistry.

FrDavidH
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FrDavidH

At least Andrea Williams has been wheeled out by the media to express the opposite point of view and has been shown up to be
completely bonkers. Whenever she speaks against anything, it is safe to assume she is wrong about the subject at hand.

Susannah Clark
Guest

The Report itself has plenty that is helpful and necessary. The glossary is useful for people who want to understand some of the terms. Overall it is an encouraging report. What matters is that trans and LGB students can come to school for education and feel safe and accepted. What matters also is the promotion of an accepting culture, teachers making sure they don’t misgender students with pronouns that contradict the gender they identify in, and no condemnation in lessons and classrooms of gay lives, because that instantly becomes cultural and institutional bullying. I have worked in a large secondary… Read more »

Kate
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Kate

So where is the apology to those of us who have suffered lasting damage because CofE schools are 50 years too late doing this?

Bernard
Guest
Bernard

Jeremy. Hypocrisy. Very biblical behaviour. Motes and beams and all that. (As you know; of course your question was rhetorical).

Stanley Monkhouse
Guest

I’m an FG of the only church school in Burton and would like to know how this policy differs from that in force in a non-church school. What is the added value, as they say, that comes from being a church school in this regard? I’m scratching my head a bit at the time and energy spent on producing such a policy and document. If the policy isn’t significantly different from that in force at a non church school, why does the CoE need to bother, given the expense? I am astonished at the commitment demanded these days of school… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
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“Welcome though this is, until it is also applied to adults, including clergy, lay ministers, employees of churches and congregants, it stinks of hypocritical casuistry.

Posted by: Fr Andrew”

Well, Father Andrew (and others who are critical) this is at least, an open statement by the ABC and the Church of England, that LGBTQI people are a part of the Church community. This is, at the very least (and that is its status) a “Step in the Right Direction”.

Interested Observer
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Interested Observer

“an open statement by the ABC and the Church of England, that LGBTQI people are a part of the Church community.”

Well, except for if they want to be married, by a priest, be sexually active…

What _is_ the church position on sexual activity by LGBTQI people? “You can’t get married, so you must be celibate, but be reassured that we don’t hate you or wish you harm?”

stephen morgan
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stephen morgan

Have just noticed that the C of E’s Chief Education Officer, commenting on the above report is one ‘Nigel Genders!’

Kate
Guest
Kate

“Finally, is this really a first order issue compared with the economic and personal hardships that I know many of our pupils have to bear day by grinding day?” When school learned I was LGBT, a teacher put me in a car and took me up to the park to tell me that it was unacceptable and that I should hide it. I was told it was a phase that I should ignore. Not real. I was suicidal already at that point. The teacher they sent was a Samaritan so I knew that I couldn’t get any help from parents… Read more »

Simon Dawson
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Simon Dawson

“Finally, is this really a first order issue compared with the economic and personal hardships that I know many of our pupils have to bear day by grinding day?” As a foundation governor myself I have great sympathy for your plea from the heart for fewer policies and documents, but I would still support this one. Firstly, it is well known that HBT bullying of young people is itself a major cause of economic and personal hardships (for example when young people are thrown out of their homes by their anti-gay, and sometimes Christian, parents and find themselves on the… Read more »

Clairejxx
Guest
Clairejxx

I am delighted that the 2014 document now includes trans children. I with a colleague represented a teenage trans child two weeks ago in an Anglican academy before a governors appeal panel. We complained that the school had obstructed this very vulnerable child’s transition and was subjected to bullying by teachers. I was delighted last Friday to hear that our complaints were upheld but the child has suffered greatly over the past 17 months. I used the previous policy document to point out to the governors that they had not been following church anti-bullying recommendations. Hope things will now change… Read more »

Edward Prebble
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Edward Prebble

I want to try and reiterate what a number of people have already said, but from a slightly different perspective. I have been campaigning strongly, perhaps notoriously, within the Anglican church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia for some decades now. I successfully moved a resolution pressing for liberalising changes at our General Synod in 2002. (By “successfully”, I mean that the motion was agreed to; it was also “unsuccessful” in that nothing much came of it.) Through all that campaigning, I have tried to understand and be sensitive to those who disagree, and have tried to find the common… Read more »

David Rowett
Guest
David Rowett

Re: the C of E being n years too late in this, I note that a far higher percentage of children and young people than those exposed to the tyrannical rule of the CofE’s educational bootcamps are reported as having suffered such bullying.

Sounds like for once we may not be completely behind the game, and that the easy optimism of The Guardian that non-Christians/non-church school pupils never encounter such bullying rests on questionable ‘view from inside the M25’ foundations

Cynthia
Guest
Cynthia

“except that they are excluded from being married in a C of E church by law under a quadruple lock piece of legislation chiefly engineered by the same Abp who wrote the words above.”

Yep. Not that the guidelines aren’t terrific, it’s just that it has a “do as we say and not as we do” quality to it.