Stonewall: Schools failing to prepare young people for realities of modern Britain.

86% of secondary school teachers say homophobic bullying happens in their school. A third of teachers hear homophobic language from other school staff.

New YouGov polling released today by Stonewall shows that teachers are still failing to tackle homophobic bullying in Britain’s schools. The Teachers’ Report 2014 polled nearly 2,000 school staff and reveals that fewer than one in ten (eight per cent) primary school teachers and fewer than one in five (17 per cent) secondary school teachers have received training on tackling homophobic bullying.This is despite the fact that two thirds (66 per cent) of secondary school teachers say that homophobic bullying has a detrimental impact on students’ achievement and attainment at school.
Shockingly three in ten (29 per cent) secondary school teachers and two in five (37 per cent) primary school teachers do not know if they are even allowed to teach lesbian, gay and bisexual issues.

The polling also revealed that more than a third of secondary school teachers (36 per cent) and nearly a third of primary school teachers (29 per cent) have heard homophobic language or negative remarks about lesbian, gay or bisexual people from other school staff.

The Teachers’ Report 2014 also reveals that an overwhelming majority of teachers across both secondary and primary schools believe school staff have a duty to prevent and respond to homophobic bullying.

Encouragingly the report does show that the percentage of teachers who say homophobic bullying happens often in their schools has fallen by half (13 per cent in 2014, compared to 25 per cent in 2009.
Stonewall Acting Chief Executive Ruth Hunt said: ‘Teachers are the most powerful tool that we have in the fight to tackle homophobic bullying. Sadly our new research shows that, despite some progress, the legacy of Section 28 is lives on in Britain’s schools.

‘We’ve seen what happens when schools fail to get to grips with teaching the realities of 21st century Britain. The Government must now make it a priority that every single teacher is trained to tackle all types of bullying and abuse in our schools.’

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The Teachers’ Report 2014 is launched today at Stonewall’s annual Education for All Conference, which brings together teachers, politicians and students.
The charity is also launching an interactive new website for primary schools to help them tackle homophobia and to talk about different families in an age-appropriate manner: www.stonewallprimary.org.uk

Alongside of the new guidance and research Stonewall has named the top local authorities who are working to tackle homophobic bullying. Brighton & Hove council is named the top local authority for their work to prevent bullying and create inclusive schools. Hertfordshire Country Council and Wiltshire Council round out the top three performing local authorities in 2014.

Speaking about the Education Equality Index, Stonewall’s Head of Education Luke Tryl said: ‘When local authorities abdicate their leadership on tackling bullying and prejudice it is students across Britain who suffer. The local authorities, and particularly Brighton & Hove Council, have shown that we can build schools that are welcoming for all where students can achieve their full academic potential, regardless of their sexual orientation.’