Stonewall's study The School Report published today reveals that
55 per cent of lesbian, gay and bisexual secondary school pupils
have experienced homophobic bullying and almost a quarter of those
asked have attempted suicide.
The charity Diversity Role Models, which aims to educate young
people about LGBT issues by bringing positive role models into
schools, has already responded by demanding a review of the
Chief executive Suran Dickson said: "Good for Stonewall for
highlighting this problem once again, but neither the statistics
nor the stories we've heard this week are surprising. I can't
believe that the Government has decided on a 'hands off' approach
when all the research continues to show that it is a majority who
are suffering this abuse.
"We know that teaching works and it works fast. Giving teachers
more powers to tackle bullying only works if that bullying is
reported and staff take it seriously. Those are big ifs. Most
importantly, disciplinary powers don't stop the bullying happening
in the first place."
The School Report, a national survey by the University of
Cambridge of just over 1,600 lesbian, gay and bisexual pupils
between the ages of 11 of 18, found that three in five young people
who experience homophobic bullying reported that their teachers do
not intervene when they witness the abuse. According to the
research, 44 per cent skip school because of the bullying.
Ben Summerskill, chief executive of Stonewall, said: "It's
unacceptable that over half of gay young people face a daily
nightmare of homophobic bullying, and deeply worrying that many
schools and teachers still fail to challenge it effectively."
96 per cent of those asked said that they hear homophobic language
like "poof" and "lezza" at school, but one in four, and over one in
three in faith schools, reported that teachers never challenge it.
The study suggests that more than half of gay young people are not
taught about LGBT issues at school.
The schools minister, Nick Gibb said: "Homophobic bullying, of any
kind and of any child, is completely unacceptable. No child should
have to suffer fear, victimisation or disruption as a result of
bullying, either on or off school premises.
"Tackling poor behaviour and bullying are top priorities for the
Coalition Government. Working with Stonewall and other groups, we
are supporting schools to take a zero tolerance approach to all
forms of bullying. We are also clear that homophobic language
should become as unacceptable as racial slurs."
The report did find an overall reduction in levels of homophobic
bullying, which was at 65 per cent in Stonewall's last survey in
Stonewall have also praised Brighton & Hove City Council as
the best local authority at tacking homophobia in schools, helped
by their work with the charity Allsorts Youth Project and
anti-homophobic bullying sessions conducted in PSHE lessons.
The School Report 2012 is available for download