A STRATEGY to tackle homophobic bullying in schools has been launched by the Vale council and Stonewall Cymru.

The council's school improvement and inclusion service is working closely with Stonewall Cymru and has joined the charity's Education Champions programme.

This will give staff in Vale schools access to specialist support and advice to establish additional ways to address homophobic bullying in both primary and secondary schools.

A training programme is being developed to support schools in developing strategies to reduce the use of homophobic language and to support the acceptance of children living in alternative family structures.

An initial training session that will be open to all schools is planned for October. Schools who are interested in developing this work further can join Stonewall’s School Champions programme.

Cabinet member for children's services, Cllr Chris Elmore, said: "Through the Vale’s collaboration with Stonewall Cymru, schools will be supported in their ongoing work to reduce homophobic bullying.

“I want to send a clear message to all young people across the Vale of Glamorgan that if they feel they are subject to homophobic or any other form of bullying, the council is doing all it can to stop the bullying and provide support to victims.

“I know schools across the Vale of Glamorgan are doing all they can to stop all forms of bullying taking place and this additional support and collaboration with Stonewall Cyrmu is another level of support in achieving this.

"By celebrating difference and challenging prejudice, work to promote anti-bullying can make classrooms happier and more welcoming places to learn."