Corrie star helps showcase anti-homophobia work in schools

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Coronation Street star Julie Hesmondhalgh (aka Hayley Cropper) will help showcase the work of the Exceeding Expectations Anti-Homophobic Bullying Project at Parrs Wood High School on May 16th.

The showcase precedes the project going into Manchester schools on International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO) on May 17th through to June 3rd challenging the issue of homophobic bullying and promoting understanding.

Last year, research carried out by the Equality & Human Rights Commission (EHRC) highlighted that two thirds of lesbian, gay, and bisexual young people in England report being bullied. Those that report bullying perform 15% worse at GCSE.

Adam Zane, Artistic Director of Hope Theatre Company – one of the Exceeding Expectations partners – says: “It’s vital that the project is in schools around IDAHO, Anti-Bullying Week and LGBT History Month. We speak openly to schools, young people and staff about the affect of homophobic bullying and the importance of challenging all forms of prejudice. We find that when young people see the play OUTLOUD – it really makes them think differently about using the word gay as an insult.”

Nearly 5000 young people across Manchester have seen the Exceeding Expectations play – OUTLOUD – which is based on the experiences and voices of young people across Manchester. The project also provides staff training, follow-up workshops, a school’s pack including resources and lesson plans, peer support and the website www.exceedingexpectations.org.uk

At this month’s NUT conference delegates debated the serious issue of homophobic bullying specifically in faith schools. Exceeding Expectations have pro-actively involved the city’s faith schools in the project, and over the coming week’s are delivering a number of sessions in faith schools to help support them in challenging the issue of homophobia and talk openly about lesbian, gay and bisexual issues.

Cllr Sheila Newman, Executive Member for Children’s Services at Manchester City Council talks about the importance of supporting schools: “Only through effective education can we overcome prejudice of any kind – including homophobia. This is sometimes an issue schools find difficult to address and the work being done through Exceeding Expectations is really valuable and helps greatly with this.”

While Paul Martin Chief Executive of The Lesbian & Gay Foundation – another one of the Exceeding Expectations partners, highlights the far reaching effects of homophobia: “It isn’t just lesbian, gay and bisexual young people who are affected by homophobic bullying – it affects their friends, family, and the wider community too.”

“Over the last four years Exceeding Expectations has made real change. We’ve worked with thousands of pupils and staff across Manchester to encourage understanding between different communities, challenge homophobia and help make schools a safer and more welcoming place for lesbian, gay and bisexual students, staff and parents.”

For more on Exceeding Expectations or to come to the Exceeding Expectations showcase event on Monday May 16th contact exceedingexpectations@lgf.org.uk