Two in five primary school teachers tell us that they see homophobic bullying in their schools. Children use homophobic language – not always understanding what it means – to be mean to other children. Children come from a variety of different backgrounds and children may have gay siblings, uncles, god parents, or parents. Celebrating and acknowledging different families is crucial to enable children to learn how to value those who are different or come from different backgrounds and families.
Stonewall's Different Families report found that children with lesbian, gay or bisexual parents don't think of their family as anything out of the ordinary. It is only when they realise that other children think of their family as unusual or different and use the word ‘gay’ to mean something is bad or inferior, that they become self-conscious about the fact that they have two dads or that their mother is a lesbian. They also start to realise that their family isn’t reflected in the curriculum. It doesn't have to be difficult to be inclusive in your teaching and to prepare children for life in a diverse society. Stonewall's Including Different Families guide provides information on how to address gay and lesbian issues in the classroom. Read more
With many primary teachers not talking inclusively about different families and lesbian, gay and bisexual people, it isn't suprising that homophobic bullying and homophobic language are prevalent in many primary schools. Stonewall's 2012 research The School Report shows that more than two in five primary school teachers (44 per cent) say children experience homophobic bullying in their schools. However, nine out of ten primary school teachers have never received any specific training on how to prevent and respond to homophobic bullying. Read more
As we have done and continue to do with Secondary Schools, we will work with teachers, parents, local authorities and national agencies to support primary schools to talk about and celebrate different families and take steps to prevent homophobic bullying. This will include working with the Scottish Government to help them understand why this is a relevant issue for primary schools, as well as the production of training resources for teachers and materials to be used in class. We have compiled a list of existing primary school books which can be used in class.
Schools have the duty to ensure homophobic bullying is dealt with and that under the new Single Equality Act and Public Duty they also have to advance equality and foster good relations. It is furthermore illegal to discriminate against someone because they have lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender parents. Teachers and other school staff are protected by legislation against discrimination and harassment on grounds of sexual orientation. Read more