Teachers say homophobic bullying is rife

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Any pupil perceived as ‘different’ falls victim
Children experience anti-gay bullying in primary school
Nine in ten teachers never received training

A major YouGov survey of primary and secondary school teachers has revealed that homophobic bullying affects more than the 150,000 gay pupils in British schools.
The Teachers’ Report, the largest ever survey to ask teachers from both primary and secondary schools about anti-gay bullying, presents a deeply alarming picture of the extent of homophobic bullying in schools.

The report, published today, finds that it is not just gay pupils who experience bullying. Teachers reveal that boys who work hard, girls who play sport, young people with gay parents, and young people who are thought to be gay, can all experience homophobic bullying in both primary and secondary school.

Key findings are:
• Nine in ten secondary school teachers and two in five primary school teachers say pupils experience homophobic bullying, even if they are not gay.
• Secondary and primary school teachers say homophobic bullying is the most prevalent form of bullying after bullying because of weight.
• Teachers say the vast majority of incidents go unreported by pupils.
• 43 per cent of secondary school teachers and three in ten primary school teachers have heard homophobic language or negative remarks abut gay people from other school staff.
• Nine in ten teachers say they have never received training about homophobic bullying.
• Three in five secondary school teachers and a quarter of primary school teachers have addressed sexual orientation in the classroom and ninety-five per cent say they would do so again.

‘This survey reveals how much remains to be done by our schools to demonstrate to all pupils that homophobic bullying is unacceptable,’ said Ben Summerskill, Stonewall Chief Executive. ‘In July last year, 18-year old Michael Causer from Liverpool was kicked to death by a young man shouting homophobic abuse. That young man had not been educated in the 1970s, or the 1980s, or the 1990s. He attended a British secondary school during the last five years. Teachers need support to ensure this tragedy does not happen again.’

The survey of 2,043 teachers conducted by YouGov for Stonewall, also highlights the barriers that teachers face when trying to prevent homophobic bullying. Only two in five secondary school teachers and less than half of primary school teachers say their headteacher demonstrates a clear leadership role when it comes to tackling homophobic bullying. Two thirds of secondary school staff and three in four primary school staff believe homophobic language in broadcast media affects the frequency of homophobic language and homophobic bullying in schools.

Observations from teachers included in the research:

‘I teach primary age children who use the terms “poof”, “queer”, etc. when name calling.’ – Emily, teacher, primary school, (East Midlands)

‘I do not believe my headteacher to be supportive in the slightest of our gay and lesbian students: he is, in my opinion, as bigoted as the bullies.’ Daniel, teacher, secondary school (North East)

‘They need to be shown and taught about it, just like we do other countries, religions etc. Hiding won’t make it go away.’ Niamh, teacher, primary school (South West)

‘It is time for a major initiative to tackle issues, including homophobia, in schools as part of the national curriculum rather than as a whim of each headteacher.’ Yasmin, teacher, secondary school (Yorkshire & the Humber)