Education Secretary Nicky Morgan: Teachers bullying gay students is inexcusable

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan has responded to a report that found that over a third of victims of homophobic bullying in schools were bullied by a teacher or adult.

The Tory MP for Loughborough, who is Secretary of State for Education, responded to research published in the Independent from the National AIDS Trust, looking at the level of homophobia in schools.

According to the research, 55 per cent of respondents said they had experienced bullying and discrimination based on their sexuality, and of those, 39 percent said they had been bullied by a teacher or other adult.

Speaking on LBC, Nicky Morgan said: “I haven’t had a chance to read the report, but I was pretty devastated actually by reading the article.

“We have prioritised a £2 million fund to tackle specifically homophobic bullying. We’ve had a lot of organisations come forward with some really good ideas.

“Last month I was at a Stonewall Champion school, Eastbourne Academy, at the end of LGBT History Month… they had posters everywhere, they had talks about it in their PSHE classes, and they were all really engaged, regardless of whether they were gay or straight or trans. It demonstrates to me how important it is the whole school gets together.

“The sadness in the newspaper article today was that the bullying or name-calling wasn’t just coming from students, it was also coming from adults, who should know better. I think it’s inexcusable.”

However, she did not give a direct answer when asked if teachers who bully pupils should be fired, saying: “I’d like to see the Head or the Chair of Governors take that incredibly seriously.

“There are lots of grounds where it’s difficult for me to judge.

“There are employment rights and all sorts of things. I’m not going to sit here and say somebody’s got to be immediately thrown out. I think it is a very serious disciplinary offence.”

When asked about the issue of teacher training on LGBT issues, she said: “I think you’re right about teachers being equipped. Sometimes there’s a worry about them using the wrong language or opening up subjects they’re not equipped to deal with.

“In terms of teacher training, but also generally – it’s about saying young people must feel confident about having someone to talk to.”