Category Archives: Learning, Skills, and Young People

International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexphobia and Transphobia

Today’s blog has been written in partnership with Bristol City Council’s LGBT+ Employee Group

If you go past City Hall today, you may notice the Progress Pride Flag flying over College Green. This is to mark the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT), which since 2004 has commemorated and coordinated global action to promote LGBT+ rights on 17 May.

We want to make sure our commitment to making Bristol a safe city for LGBT people is visible, from lighting up City Hall for LGBT History Month to the forthcoming rainbow crossing we’re installing on Wine Street for Bristol Pride. But, as important as these visible symbols are, we also want to deliver real action. As a local authority, we’ve been working to put equality and inclusion at the heart of everything we do: from making sure LGBT staff have a meaningful voice in how the council operates, to improving representation and improving the city-wide response to hate crime.

We know that the pandemic has had specific effects on Bristol’s LGBT+ community. Loneliness and isolation have been particularly difficult for those cut off from their social spaces and contacts during lockdown. We also know that lockdown for many people – particularly young people – meant sharing their home with people who don’t know, or don’t support, their sexuality or gender identity.

The LGBT+ Employee Group have therefore made supporting colleagues through the process of easing restrictions a priority in the coming months. More broadly, I’ve pledged to commission a Mayoral Equalities report to look into and address anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination in Bristol. We’ll work across the city to make sure Bristol is a city where everyone can thrive.

It’s not only through local action that we achieve equality. As a global city, we work with city networks across the world to promote human rights. In this spirit, we’re joining with our twin city Hannover in flying the flag to show our solidarity with cities who also want to make their cities safe and welcoming for LGBT+ people.

Talking Heads

Today my Cabinet Lead for Education, Claire Hiscott, and I met today with head teachers from secondary and primary schools from across Bristol.

I have made a clear commitment to giving every child the best possible start in life and schools are key to this.  So it was essential to hear from them about how they think the city must work to enable our schools to flourish.

Funding is a key issue.  That goes without saying. The Government’s National Funding Formula sets out the budgets schools have and in total 92 city schools would lose out financially.  The figures show that while support for secondary schools has increased on average by £2,524, primary schools have lost £9,940 on averageWe are writing to Justine Greening, Secretary of State for Education, to ask how her commitment to ensuring no Bristol school loses out financially will be made real. We’ll share our approach with the Core Cities network and ask them to join us in lobbying government. Our new MPs will play a key role in ensuring Westminster understands that education is an investment, not a cost.

We must also get the health service in the city working in a more joined up way with schools, especially around mental health. I am going to take this challenge on, working through the Learning City Partnership and the Health and Wellbeing Boards.

We also discussed the need for better internal communications between schools to share support and best practice. At the moment there are pockets of connected schools but the whole city remains fragmented.