Homophobic language and gender identity bullying is widespread in UK secondary schools. Almost nine in ten secondary school staff surveyed in Wales say pupils in their school are bullied, harassed or called names for being, or suspected of being, lesbian, gay or bi. More than half of lesbian and gay pupils have never been taught about lesbian and gay people or seen lesbian and gay issues addressed in class.
The good news is that things are improving. Over the past five years, the proportion of gay pupils who report that their schools take homophobic bullying seriously has increased markedly. At the same time, the number of gay pupils who feel unable to speak out about being bullied has declined.
Our research shows that secondary schools which take an active, positive approach to tackling homophobic language and bullying get the best results. This is what Secondary School Champions offers to your school: a partnership with Stonewall Cymru.
Why should my school join?
You will be prepared for Estyn inspections and other legal requirements. The Equality Act 2010 introduced for the first time, a duty on schools requiring them actively to tackle issues such as homophobic bullying and the protection of those who might experience it. Being part of the programme will help to ensure you are complying with the Act. During school inspections, inspectors from Estyn evaluate the extent to which all young people are cared for, treated fairly and with respect, and listened to. They look at anti-bullying policies and how the school promotes equality and diversity. Inspectors also evaluate how the learning needs of all young people are being met. If bullying or unfair treatment are found to have an adverse impact on young people’s health and well being, learning or achievement, this will be taken into account in deciding the overall evaluations of the school’s performance.
You will help your students reach their potential. Celebrating difference and tackling lesbian, gay, bi and trans (LGBT) related bullying helps to promote an environment for students that is conducive to optimal learning and development. LGBT bullying can have a profoundly damaging impact on young people’s secondary school experience. A third of gay pupils experience bullying which leads them to change their future educational plans and three in five say it harms their academic performance. By working with Stonewall Cymru to mitigate the worst harms of homophobic and gender identity bullying, you can help push your students towards their academic goals.
You will empower your staff. It can be challenging to tackle homophobic bullying and gender stereotyping in secondary schools. Nine out of ten secondary school teachers say they have not received any specific training on how to tackle homophobic bullying. Stonewall Cymru can empower your teachers by giving expert and tailored advice.