Ian McKellen, co-founder of Stonewall, will be touring schools nationwide on behalf of the charity throughout October, November and December.
He will be giving assemblies, chatting to pupils in classrooms and promoting Stonewall’s campaign to tackle homophobic bullying, which is rife in Britain’s schools.
Ian McKellen said: ‘Until I visited secondary schools recently, I hadn’t realised how much anti-gay bullying goes on, throughout the education system. By talking frankly about my own life as a gay man and listening to the concerns of staff and students, parents and governors, I hope the visits arranged by Stonewall may make a difference in the classroom and the playground and also give confidence to gay students about their lives in the future.’
The tour is a benefit to all members of Stonewall’s Education Champions Programme, which supports local authorities in helping their local schools to prevent and tackle homophobic bullying. Members who will be visited by Sir Ian include schools in Wigan, North Yorkshire, Bristol, Cambridge, Newcastle, Leeds and several London boroughs. The programme currently has 42 members.
Recent YouGov research for Stonewall found that nine in ten teachers say their pupils currently experience homophobic bullying, but nine in ten have never received any training on how to tackle and prevent it.