Michael Gove pledges clampdown on use of homophobic language in school playgrounds

Education Secretary to hold discussions to determine whether law outlawing incitement of hatred was being 'properly policed'

Education Editor

Education Secretary Michael Gove has pledged to clampdown on the use of homophobic language in the school playground.

He told a conference: “It is outrageous and medieval to think that the use of the word ‘gay’ as an insult is somehow acceptable.

“Whether it is Chris Moyles (the former Radio One disc jockey) or anyone else it is wrong and it should be called out.” Moyles was accused of being homophobic after he said he would not accept a telephone ring-tone “because it’s gay”.

Mr Gove, who was addressing the annual education conference of Stonewall - the gay and lesbian rights campaign group, said he would be holding discussions with it to determine whether the existing law outlawing incitement of hatred was being “properly policed” - and that he would be prepare to consider strengthening it if necessary.

Mr Gove made his pledge after being urged by the pop singer Will Young, who was attending the conference to crack down on the problem.

Will Young said homophobic bullying - particularly through the use of homophobic language was “almost on crisis level” that one in four young LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) people had made an attempt on their life or self-harmed.  He singled out the use of the word “gay” as a term of abuse as a particular problem.

Earlier student Catherine Hennigan had told the conference how she had been afraid to come out at her top girls’ grammar school even though she had known she was gay from the age of 11 - because the girls commonly used insults like “that’s so gay” or “you’re such a lesbian”.

“It is absolutely essential that all our young teachers are trained to tackle homophobic bullying - not just in secondary schools but primary, too,” she added.

Mr Gove said it was wrong that “someone struggling with their sexuality should be made to feel marginalised and worth less” than other people.

He added that he would take every opportunity of a public platform to affirm that “every child is of equal value and equal worth”. He said that all children should feel that “any aspect of how they live their life or how they wish to love others should be celebrated as part of who they are and how wonderful they are as well”.

Wes Streeting, director of education at Stonewall, said that schools should be sending a message to same sex couples that “they will be welcome at parents’ evenings or when they go on sports days and school trips”.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
Buttoned up: Ryan Reynolds with Helen Mirren in ‘Woman in Gold’
filmFor every box-office smash in his Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. Now he says it's time for a reboot
News
people
News
Actress Julianne Moore wins the Best Actress in a Leading Role Award for 'Still Alice' during the 87th Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, California
people
Sport
Ross Barkley
footballPaul Scholes says it's time for the Everton playmaker to step up and seize the England No 10 shirt
News
'We will fix it': mice in the 1970s children’s programme Bagpuss
science
Life and Style
2 Karl Lagerfeld and Choupette
fashion
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Imperial College London: Safety Training Administrator

£25,880 – £28,610 per annum: Imperial College London: Imperial College London ...

University College London: Client Platform Support Officer

£26,976 - £31,614 per annum: University College London: UCL Information Servic...

Guru Careers: Instructional Designer / e-Learning Designer

£30 - 32k (DOE): Guru Careers: We are seeking an Instructional / e-Learning De...

Recruitment Genius: Schools Education & Careers Executive

£30500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Schools Education & Careers Executive ...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria's capital

War with Isis

Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria
Scientists develop mechanical spring-loaded leg brace to improve walking

A spring in your step?

Scientists develop mechanical leg brace to help take a load off
Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

As film-makers and advertisers make increasing posthumous use of celebrities' images, some stars are finding new ways of ensuring that they rest in peace
The UK horticulture industry is facing a skills crisis - but Great Dixter aims to change all that

UK horticulture industry facing skills crisis

Great Dixter manor house in East Sussex is encouraging people to work in the industry by offering three scholarships a year to students, as well as generous placements
Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head

Hack Circus: Technology, art and learning

Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head. Rhodri Marsden meets mistress of ceremonies Leila Johnston
Sevenoaks is split over much-delayed decision on controversial grammar school annexe

Sevenoaks split over grammar school annexe

If Weald of Kent Grammar School is given the go-ahead for an annexe in leafy Sevenoaks, it will be the first selective state school to open in 50 years
10 best compact cameras

A look through the lens: 10 best compact cameras

If your smartphone won’t quite cut it, it’s time to invest in a new portable gadget
Paul Scholes column: Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now

Paul Scholes column

Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now
Why Michael Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Why Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Manchester United's talented midfielder has played international football for almost 14 years yet, frustratingly, has won only 32 caps, says Sam Wallace
Tracey Neville: The netball coach who is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

Tracey Neville is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

The former player on how she is finding time to coach both Manchester Thunder in the Superleague and England in this year's World Cup
General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?