WILTSHIRE Council is one of the top three authorities in the country when it comes to tackling homophobic bullying in schools, according to the latest figures.
Stonewall, a charity that works for equality and justice for gay, lesbian and bisexual people, has published the Education Equality Index 2014, listing the top ten local authorities in Britain.
The index measures practice and policy at all the participating local authorities, and this year saw 45 local authorities submit entries.
Wiltshire Council's successful ZeeTee campaign is in its second year and is led by young people. The campaign uses innovative approaches to tackle homophobic bullying and language and has been highlighted by Stonewall.
The ZeeTee campaign consists of all-school assemblies and invites students to show their support by signing the ZeeTee pledge. They get a 'respecting difference' wristband and a ZeeTee badge in return.
The secondary school campaign, which includes a short film featuring young LGBT people, has now been delivered to more than 25,000 students in Wiltshire and an age-appropriate campaign has been launched in primary schools this year.
Wiltshire came third behind Brighton & Hove City Council and Hertfordshire County Council.
Laura Mayes, cabinet member for children services, said: “I'm so pleased this great partnership of Wiltshire Council working with young people to tackle these important issues has received further backing from Stonewall.
“Thousands of our students support the ZeeTee campaign and are, as a consequence, much more aware of these issues. Gaining such a high ranking in a very competitive index once again underlines the value of this work.”
Luke Tryl, Stonewall head of education, said: “Wiltshire Council deserves enormous congratulations on its performance. 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 ten 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.”
To see the Education Equality Index, go to www.stonewall.org.uk/educationequalityindex.