Homophobic language and bullying is widespread in UK secondary schools. Nearly nine in ten secondary school teachers say pupils in their schools are bullied, harassed or called names for being – or perceived to be – lesbian, gay or bisexual. More than half of lesbian, gay or bisexual pupils experience physical or verbal bullying at school.
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 School Champions offers to your school: a partnership with Stonewall Scotland, aimed at creating a safe and welcoming learning environment for pupils of all backgrounds.
Why should my secondary school join?
- Meet your legal requirements under the Equality Act
New changes in the law require schools to take proactive action. 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.
- Help your students reach their potential.
Celebrating difference and tackling homophobic bullying helps to promote an environment for students that is conducive to optimal learning and development. Homophobic 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 to mitigate the worst harms of homophobic bullying, you can help push your students towards their academic goals.
- 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 not received any specific training on how to tackle homophobic bullying. Stonewall can empower your teachers by giving expert and tailored advice.
Become a School Champion
School Champions membership is available as a free benefit of attending one of Stonewall Scotland's Train the Trainer sessions, which will be held regionally throughout the school year.
Stonewall’s Train the Trainer series provides participants with all the tools and techniques needed to train other staff on tackling homophobic bullying and celebrating difference. It also provides support on how to positively celebrate difference in an age appropriate way and how to meet Education Scotland inspection requirements.
We strongly recommend that primary schools join the School Champions programme by registering to attend a training session in their area. Schools attending a training session will also be supported in conducting an Initial Needs Assessment and creating a personalised Action Plan. If you would like to join, but can't make any of the available training sessions, please complete this form and return it to firstname.lastname@example.org