Working with schools

'Schools can only be effective in any area with the support of the wider community. Families and society have the strongest effect on children's attitudes to life.'
 - Charlotte, teacher, Scottish primary school

Parents and carers who are aware of or concerned about homophobic bullying can make a great difference by working with schools. 


Find out about policies

All state schools have to have an anti-bullying policy. Stonewall's research The School Report showed that where young people are told that homophobic bullying is wrong fewer pupils say they are affected by it. It is therefore important that homophobic bullying is specifically mentioned in the policy and that staff and young people are aware of that.

Speak to the senior leadership team

It is important that the senior leadership team of a school understands why homophobic bullying and language should be tackled and prevented. Speaking to the head and senior leadership team directly ensure they are aware of parents' concerns and of young people's needs.

Suggest resources

Schools have the duty to challenge all forms of bullying including homophobic bullying. Parents and carers can help schools and teachers by sign-posting them to useful resources such as The School Report and The Teachers' Report which both include a list of recommendations for a whole school approach. 

Commissioned by the Department for Education Stonewall wrote guidance on preventing and tackling homophobic bullying for head teachers, teachers and governors.

FIT is a great educational film for secondary school pupils about friendship, coming out and fitting and was sent to every maintained secondary school in Britain. Parents and carers might want to find out whether it has been shown in their child's school.

Teachers and other school staff will also find the education guides Challenging homophobic language and Supporting lesbian, gay and bisexual young people helpful.  

Make a complaint

If you feel a school does not take their duty to tackle homophobic bullying seriously or doesn't support your child, you first want to contact your child's guidance teacher and year head in secondary school. In primary school the class teacher would be your first point of call.

If you are not satisfied with their response, ask for the outline of the complaints procedure and take it to your local authority. Stonewall works with a number of local authorities through the Education Champions programme so you might want to check whether yours is a member. In case of a private school you can contact the Scottish Council of Independent Schools for more information.

If you think your school or your local authority is acting 'unreasonably' you can write to the Scottish Government Learning Directorate. This should be a last resort, and you should highlight in your communication the steps you have already taken to resolve the problem.

For more information you can also e-mail or call the Stonewall information line on 0131 474 6197.


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