Teachers’ Leader Accuses Government of ‘Neutering’ Equality and Human Rights Commission

A Teachers’ Union leader in February accused the Government of “encouraging a culture of contempt where discrimination can flourish” by ‘neutering’ the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) and dismissing Equality Impact Assessments.

Chris Keates, General Secretary of the Teachers Union the NASUWT (pictured), made the statement after a survey held in situ at the annual LGBT Teachers Conference in Birmingham on February the 23rd.

The survey, which used ‘Who wants to be a Millionaire’ style handsets to test the audience’s reaction to several questions, found that among teachers at the Conference:

more than 60% of LGBT teachers said they have experienced discrimination on the basis of their sexual identity in the course of their teaching careers;
over three quarters of LGBT teachers said they had experienced bullying and harassment during their teaching careers;
60% of LGBT teachers said their school has no policy which explicitly opposes homophobia, biphobia and transphobia;
two thirds of LGBT teachers said it was not safe for LGBT teachers to be out at work.

Chris Keates added:

“The NASUWT will be meeting with Government ministers throughout the UK to discuss with them how they intend to address the concerns raised at the conference to ensure that pupils can continue to benefit from the skills, talents and expertise of LGBT teachers.”

Delegates at the Conference were also treated to a workshop by Elly Barnes on how to use LGBT History Month to Educate and Celebrate Diversity within our schools, and Schools OUT and LGBT History Month Co-chair Tony Fenwick handed out copies of the free schools Rights Against Intolerance: Building an Open Minded World (Rainbow) DVD, which features 9 films and lesson plans to combat the stereotypes and prejudice that leads to homophobia and transphobia in European schools.

To get your free rainbow DVD email us at info@schools-out.org.uk and give us your name and a school’s address. Even the postage is paid!


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