Half of teachers ‘didn’t read’ government guidance on LGBT-inclusive education

PinkNews logo with white background and rainbow corners

A report from the Time for Inclusive Education campaign has exposed the devastating impact of homophobic bullying.

As pressure mounts for LGBT issues to be taught in all Scottish schools. the TIE campaign this week launched a report highlighting high rates of bullying, attempted suicide, self-harm and mental health issues among LGBT young people.

Of the 169 LGBT pupils and former pupils that took part in the survey, two-thirds said they felt homophobia was a problem at their school.

90 per cent of respondents said they had experienced homophobia while at school, and 64 per cent said that they had been directly bullied because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

80 per cent of teachers said that they have not been adequately trained on how to address LGBT issues and tackle homophobia in school.

Christina McKelvie MSP, convenor of the Scottish Parliament’s Equal Opportunities committee, said: “As a long-time advocate of equality, I completely support the goals of the TIE campaign, to let Scotland flourish into the tolerant and wholly inclusive country we know it can be.

“Reading that 90 per cent of LGBT youth reported experiencing homophobia, biphobia and transphobia while at school really hammers home the need for action.

“Education remains one of the most powerful mechanisms we have to overcome ignorance, eradicate bigotry and achieve true equality. To that end, I firmly believe that the time is right for TIE.”

Scottish Education Secretary John Swinney recently said he was  “confident” that the government issued Relationships, Sexual Health and Parenthood (RSHP) education guidance would address issues facing LGBT learners – but 55 per cent of teachers said they had not read or did not know about the guidance – which was updated in 2014 to include LGBT issues – while a further 35 per cent said that they did not feel that the materials were good enough.

A TIE spokesperson said: “Sixteen years since the repeal of Section 28, our research highlights the very real issues facing LGBT learners within Scottish education, and emphasises the need for action.

“There is a culture of silence around LGBT in most classrooms across the country, and we should not be satisfied until all schools are fully inclusive of LGBT issues and identities in order to ensure that all of our young people can thrive and achieve their full potential in a safe and supportive learning environment.

“The issue here is that there is absolutely no requirement for schools to deliver upon any LGBT inclusive guidance such as RSHP education, and we are clear that this has to be addressed. Indeed, 79 per cent of teachers agree with us that LGBT inclusive education should be a legislative requirement for all schools.”