'Exceeding Expectations' - ending homophobia through education

Publish Date: 15/10/2008

Hayley Cropper'Exceeding Expectations', Manchester's multi-agency initiative to tackle homophobia in local schools, has received feedback from 1,800 pupils who have seen the play OUTLOUD, which aims to combat homophobia within schools.

Local young people's experiences form the content of the play which is performed by members of Hope Theatre Company around schools in the city. Using the words of pupils interviewed exclusively for the piece, it tells the story of young LGBT people in Manchester and their experiences in the wider community.

A DVD accompanying the project highlights young people's experiences of homophobia and the effects of homophobic bullying in the city's schools. The DVD is available for schools to support their PSHE curriculum work.

Julie Hesmondhalgh who plays Hayley Cropper in Coronation Street, introduces the DVD and comments:'I've been moved to tears by accounts of how 'Exceeding Expectations' has gone down in schools in Greater Manchester. It takes courage to address this issue, to take on homophobia, to acknowledge that this kind of bullying exists and remains relatively unchallenged." outloud being performed

The findings of the survey given out in the schools where pupils have seen OUTLOUD revealed that:

* 1 in 2 young people (47%) feel that their school is NOT a welcoming and safe place for LGB pupils
* 2 in 5 (40%) have witnessed verbal homophobic bullying
* 1 in 8 of those (13%) reported verbal homophobic bullying.
* More than 1 in 5 (22%) have witnessed physical homophobic bullying.
* While only 1 in 10 (10%) reported physical homophobic bullying.
* 1 in 8 (13%) said that reporting the bullying (verbal and physical) resulted in anything actually being done about it.

"There is still a long way to go" says OUTLOUD Director Adam Zane: "we have witnessed and heard a lot about how the issue of homophobia affects young people in Manchester schools. Also, we have seen a lot of young people wanting to support this initiative, and find ways to end discrimination in their schools."

The North West Public Health Awards 2008, has recently recognized the work of 'Exceeding Expectations' with a 'Highly Commended' citation in it's Public Health Partnership category.

'Exceeding Expectation's' Theatre in Education performance, will be presented in more Manchester schools in November, with performances at various schools between the 17-28th November, with a support package featuring: staff training, a DVD presentation, and workshops. The next round of performances will run from 23 February - 6 March 2009.

To book the play and workshops for your school, Tel: 07866 445985 or email: exceedingexpectations@lgf.org.uk