Students and teachers have signed an anti-homophobic language petition at Malmesbury School, as part of a pilot scheme called ZeeTee.

The scheme, run by Wilt-shire Council, aims to reduce bullying of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender young people. Malmesbury School has taken it on as part of a crackdown on bullying.

A group – made up of 12 students, parents, governors and staff members – has been put together to help the drive.

Simon Shaw, senior pastoral leader at the school, said: “We started by rewriting the school’s bullying policy. We’ve introduced a confidential text line for students to report bullying.

“There’s also a scheme of mini lessons in tutorial time and an intervention scheme, which is a short course for anyone involved in bullying.

“Stopping bullying is a high priority for parents and their kids and this is an ongoing process.”

Pupils signed a pledge board, saying they would not use homophobic language, and were given a wristband and badge.

ZeeTee was launched this month and 17 students have become ZeeTee ambassadors, helping to manage the signing process.

Actor Sir Ian McKellen, a supporter of ZeeTee, said in a statement: “Until I visited secondary schools recently, I hadn’t realised how much anti-gay bullying goes on.

“By talking frankly about my own life as a gay man and listening to the concerns of staff and students, parents and governors, I hope the visits, arranged by Stonewall, made a difference in the classroom and the playground and also gave confidence to gay students.”

This week is anti-bullying week and teachers in all the school’s subjects have been setting homework around the bullying theme.