The International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO) on May 17th sees the launch of two reports into the prevalence of homophobia in schools, carried out on behalf of the NUT in Lancashire and Kirklees.
SchoolsOUT welcomes these reports, which involved over 1200 teachers, giving a unique insight from hundreds of classrooms.
The Lancashire survey followed up an earlier one completed in 2008. They found that over the past four years there has been a decrease in general homophobia, but that there has been an increase in homophobia aimed against staff by pupils. 16% of teachers reported that they had been the victim of homophobic abuse from pupils on a termly basis, up from 12% four years ago. A worrying number of teachers continue to observe or overhear derogatory homophobic references in their school on a daily or weekly basis, although this figure has declined slightly from 56% to 43% in secondary schools. It is heartening to note that more teachers feel confident about tackling homophobia their schools, but most teachers believe that a whole school approach is required and 70% of teachers would welcome specific training.
Schools OUT co-chair Tony Fenwick said: “Although some of these changes show progress, they need to be seen in the light of the fact that the Equality Act has been law for over two years, schools have been subject to the Public Sector Duty for over one year and schools had to report back on their progress in April. In the light of this they are disappointing. The Government needs to be more pro-active in challenging homophobia – and transphobia in our schools.”
SchoolsOUT believes that every school should have a policy on tackling homophobic bullying, and that training should be provided for all teachers. It is particularly worrying that some Academy providers may not be fulfilling their Public Sector Duty to tackle discrimination on the grounds of sexuality.
SchoolsOUT spokesperson Sue Sanders will be present at the Lancashire report launch and available to talk to the press.
Training available www.ellybarnes.com
SchoolsOUT Classroom resources http://the-classroom.org.uk/