The School Report

The experiences of gay young people in Scotland's schools (2012)

Teacher report 2012

School Report 2012 (in full)
The School Report 2012 - Scottish Data 

Key findings from Scotland:

  • Homophobic bullying continues to be widespread in Scotland’s schools. More than half (52 per cent) of lesbian, gay and bisexual pupils have experienced direct bullying
  • The use of homophobic language is endemic. Almost all (99 per cent) gay young people hear the phrases  ‘that’s so gay’ or ‘you’re so gay’ in school and ninety seven per cent of gay pupils hear homophobic language such as ‘poof’ or ‘lezza’
  • One in four (26 per cent) lesbian, gay and bisexual pupils who experience homophobic bullying say that teachers who witness the bullying never challenge it
  • Only 11 per cent of lesbian, gay and bisexual pupils report that teachers challenge homophobic language every time they hear it
  • Less than three in five (57 per cent) lesbian, gay and bisexual pupils report that their schools say homophobic bullying is wrong
  • Homophobic bullying has a profoundly damaging impact on young people’s school experience. Half (49 per cent) of lesbian, gay and bisexual pupils don't feel that they are achieving their best at school, and seven in ten have skipped school
  • Gay people who are bullied are at a higher risk of suicide, self-harm and depression. One in four (26 per cent) have attempted to take their own life and more than half (54 per cent) deliberately harm themselves, which can include cutting or burning themselves

In the last five years

Since this study was first conducted in 2007, Stonewall has produced a range of high-quality, age-appropriate resources to help teachers combat homophobic bullying. Stonewall has also been working directly with schools, local authorities and national agencies, among others, to develop strategies for tackling bullying. Across Britain, the 2012 study show the encouraging results of this work: 

  • The rate of homophobic bullying of lesbian, gay and bisexual young people has decreased to 55 per cent, down from 65 per cent
  • Twice as many gay pupils report their schools say homophobic bullying is wrong - 50 per cent up from 25 per cent in 2007
  • The number of gay pupils who still feel unable to speak out when they are bullied, whilst still too high, has fallen from 58 per cent to 37 per cent
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