A leading academic has said that schools are not doing enough to tackle issues such as homophobic and cyber bullying.
Professor Peter Smith, head of the Unit for School and Family Studies at Goldsmiths College in London, said school action on anti-gay bullying is improving but the situation is still not good enough, reports sec-ed.co.uk.
Speaking at the Psychology and Anti-social Behaviour in Schools conference at the University of Greenwich yesterday, he said: “As regards school policies specifically tackling homophobic bullying, the situation is getting better, but not quickly enough. At secondary level, 100 per cent should deal with homophobia, but at the moment we’re some way short of that.
“As for cyber-bullying, the problem here is that schools do not always update their policies often enough, so more modern forms of bullying are not addressed,” he added.
According to his own research, Prof Smith said that 33 per cent of secondary schools mentioned homophobic bullying in their policies in 2002, a figure which rose to 46 per cent last year.
He called on ministers to do more to ensure school policies are consistent on these types of bullying, saying: “I think there is a role for national government to play, perhaps offering advice on formulating an effective policy, and making sure that the quality of support at local level is consistent.”
In March of this year, a Stonewall survey of UK teachers found a “deeply alarming” amount of homophobia in schools.
According to the research, titled The Teachers’ Report, more than 150,000 pupils are affected by anti-gay bullying, with boys who work hard, girls who play sport, young people with gay parents, and young people who are thought to be gay all suffering from name-calling and abuse.
Nine in ten secondary school teachers and two in five primary school teachers said pupils experience homophobic bullying, even if they are not gay.
Teachers reported that homophobic bullying was the most prevalent form of bullying after bullying because of weight, coming above racism.