Secondary schools

Schools should be secure and happy environments where all young people can focus on their education. However, homophobic bullying is endemic in Britain's schools. Many young people are not being prepared for life in our diverse society. Lesbian, gay and bisexual young people don't receive relevant information and don't feel they can be themselves. 


Homophobic bullying

Stonewall's 2007 research The School Report found that almost two thirds of lesbian, gay and bisexual young people experience homophobic bullying in Britain's schools and 98 per cent hear phrases like 'That's so gay' or 'You're so gay'. In Stonewall's 2009 research The Teachers' Report school staff say that homophobic bullying is the most frequent form of bullying after bullying because of weight. It is important that all school staff know that anyone perceived as different can be affected and that they have the duty to prevent and tackle homophobic bullying. School staff should also be aware of the consequences and what they can do. Stonewall's guide on Challenging homophobic language and guidance Stonewall was commissioned to write for the Department for Education in 2007 are useful resources. Read more 

Lesbian, gay and bisexual issues in the curriculum 

The most effective way to prevent homophobic bullying and to ensure lesbian, gay and bisexual young feel included and have the information they need to stay safe, is making the curriculum inclusive of lesbian, gay and bisexual issues. 

The 2009 publication The Teachers' Report found that more than nine in ten secondary school teachers say lesbian and gay issues should be addressed in schools. However, many teachers don't feel they have the tools and confidence to do so and that's why Stonewall has produced resources specifically for secondary school staff.

Supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual young people

Lesbian, gay and bisexual young people have the same needs as all other young people - they want to feel safe and included. All professionals working with young people should want to ensure that lesbian, gay and bisexual young people are able to fulfill their potential but some are unsure about how to do that. 

The whole school should be involved in creating an atmosphere where everyone feels they can be themselves. This also includes the senior managment team, non-teaching staff and governors. In 2007 Stonewall was commissioned by the Department for Education to write guidance on preventing and tackling homophobic bullying and this includes specific sections for teachers, governors and heads.

Stonewall also wrote a guide on Supporting lesbian, gay and bisexual young people which includes issues such as coming out, providing information and working with parents and carers of lesbian, gay and bisexual young people. The guide also includes information on working with parents and carers, young people's voices, examples of good practice and advice on how to respond when a young person comes out. Read more 

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