OFSTED report highlights homophobic bullying in schools
June 20, 2012
SchoolsOUT, the organisation that campaigns for schools to be safe places for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transexual (LGBT) people has welcomed the OFSTED report into bullying in schools, ‘No Place for Bullying’ released on Tuesday. The report reveals a worrying level of bullying amongst both Primary and Secondary students and cites pupils with special educational needs and those who are, or are perceived to be homosexual as two groups that are disproportionately bullied. Many pupils reported that homophobic language was common.
These findings chime with those recently carried out by Kirklees and Lancashire NUT groups into the prevalence of homophobia in schools. OFSTED found that the schools that most effectively tackled bullying were those that planned their curriculum to devise opportunities for pupils to develop their knowledge and understanding of diversity. They also found that many staff felt that they did not have adequate training to help them to effectively counter specific types of bullying, including homophobic language that was often dismissed as ‘banter’. Where staff had been trained they felt this increased their confidence in challenging such behaviour.
SchoolsOUT has developed training and classroom resources aimed specifically at celebrating diversity in schools. Educate and Celebrate, a course run by Elly Barnes, based at Stoke Newington School in North London has proved very popular, and thousands of teachers have been downloading LGBT-themed resources from the Classroom (also available through the TES and Guardian resources websites).
SchoolsOUT hope that the OFSTED report will encourage more schools to bring diversity into their curriculum. Spokesperson Sue Sanders said “We’ve said since the year dot that our schools are not safe spaces for our children or our LGBT communities. We’ve proof in the Prevalence of Homophobia Surveys that teachers want training on diversity, and Elly Barnes’ workshops in Stoke Newington are always sold out. LGBT History Month gave schools the opportunity to talk about lesbians, gays, bisexuals and trans people in schools and the Classroom gives teachers the tools to teach about LGBT and all equalities in the curriculum. It’s all out there. This survey shows there is a need to adopt it and put it into everyday practice”.
The Classroom http://www.tes.co.uk/mypublicprofile.aspx?uc=2151777