Opinion Former Article

Homophobia remains a problem in schools

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) teachers still feel the problem of homophobia remains endemic in schools and that schools need to do more to tackle the issue.

In a real-time poll conducted at the NASUWT’s LGBT Teachers’ Consultation Conference, held today (Saturday) in Birmingham:

·         nearly two thirds (63%) of LGBT teachers said they had experienced homophobia during their teaching careers;
·         almost two thirds (64%) do not feel that it is safe for LGBT teachers to be out in schools;
·         half of LGBT teachers say that their schools do not have clear and easy to access systems for staff and pupils to report incidents of homophobia;
·         over three quarters (77%) of LGBT teachers say their school does not provide training to enable all staff to identify and deal with homophobia.

Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union, who addressed the Conference, said:

“It’s a national shame that in the 21st Century teachers are still reporting that homophobia is still an issue for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender pupils and staff and that many LGBT teachers do not feel safe in their schools .

“Despite assertions to the contrary, the Coalition Government has actually mounted an unrelenting assault on equality, and we are seeing the continuing harm this is doing to teachers and pupils in our schools.

“Sadly, whilst some important strides have been made towards a more tolerant and inclusive society, more needs to be done to ensure that policy commitments percolate into practice on the ground.

“We need to promote a climate where all teachers and pupils feel respected and safe in our schools, regardless of their sexuality.”

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