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A gay-rights campaigner visited Newham College to urge staff to help stamp out homophobic bullying in schools and further education centres.

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Teacher and trainer Elly Barnes, who works at a school in neighbouring borough Hackney, spoke to about 100 workers at the college in High Street South, East Ham, as part of an event marking Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Month.

The teacher described how she had tackled prejudice at her school by hosting workshops to encourage pupils to challenge their preconceptions about gay people.

She told the audience: “There needs to be more training in colleges and the bottom line is training staff. Staff want to stop bullying but some don’t know how to do it.”

Business support worker, Ninette Le Brun, said afterwards: “Elly’s approach to the whole subject makes it less foreign and allows people to use the language and relate to lesbian and gay issues.”

Newham College established a Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual (LGB) Advisory Group in 2008 after staff requested one. It meets monthly to raise issues on behalf of LGB staff and offers advice.

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