Four out of five gay teachers and lecturers experience homophobia at work, according to a report by the Teacher Support Network.

The study comes in response to the International Day Against Homophobia, which takes place today, recognising the homophobia that remains in society.

Patrick Nash, chief executive of Teacher Support Network, said: “Research carried out by Teacher Support Network revealed that 83 per cent of gay teachers and lecturers who responded have experienced homophobic harassment or discrimination at work.

“Respondents said the harassment included offensive ‘jokes’ or language, name calling, rumour spreading, malicious allegations, written abuse, and in some cases physical threats and physical assault.

“The survey also revealed that 86 per cent experienced this homophobic behaviour from pupils, 43 per cent from colleagues, 40 per cent from their managers, 14 per cent from pupils’ parents and six per cent from Governors.

“Such harassment and discrimination has left many teachers with low self-esteem, reduced effectiveness at work and high stress levels. Seventeen per cent were too scared to go to work.

“Teacher Support Network strongly encourages all schools, colleges and universities to implement and adhere to a code of conduct relating to any form of harassment and discrimination, which will provide support and protection for staff and students alike.

“This is especially important because 38 per cent of gay teachers and lecturers said their workplace does not have a code of conduct to address homophobic harassment and discrimination, and of those that did, only 15 per cent said it was properly enforced.

“Wherever appropriate, Teacher Support Network refers incidents of discrimination and harassment to the unions but also helps teachers and lecturers to develop strategies to cope with this stressful situation via our information, support and counselling/coaching services, Teacher Support Line and Teacher Support Online.”