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UK: Stonewall report shows Scotland ‘lagging behind’ on tackling bullying

Ashley Chhibber July 7, 2014

A new report on homophobic bullying in primary and secondary schools indicates that Scottish schools are lagging behind others in Britain.

The figures were collected from a YouGov survey on 2,043 teachers and are contained in the Teachers’ Report 2014, which was released by Stonewall at the Education for All conference on Friday.

11% of primary school teachers in Scotland were more likely to report that pupils experienced homophobic bullying or name-calling ‘often’. This compares to an average of 3% across England and Wales.

Teachers in Scotland were also the least likely to say that a policy exists in their school that explicitly addresses homophobic bullying.

55% of primary teachers in Scotland reported that their school lacks such a policy, compared to 41% in the Midlands and Wales, 40% in the south of England and 31% in the north of England.

A similar trend was found in secondary schools, where 55% of teachers across Britain reported being aware of a policy addressing homophobic bullying. Only 41% of secondary teachers in Scotland said that they were aware that such a policy existed in their schools.

This is lower than the figures for the north of England (57%), the Midlands and Wales (51%), London (60 %) and the rest of the south (59%).

The disparity in policies against homophobic bullying is not affected solely by geography. Secondary teachers in independent schools are also less likely to say their schools have these policies, 45% compared to 60% in maintained schools.

The report also shows that teachers in independent schools are less likely to say that homophobic incidents are recorded: 36% in primary schools and 44% in secondary schools, compared to 52% and 63% in maintained schools.

Scottish-specific data from Stonewall’s School Report 2012, which surveyed LGB students aged 11 to 19, also found areas where Scottish schools were doing significantly worse than those in England and Wales.

54% of Scottish students reported that they did not feel “part of their school community”, 13% higher than the British average (41%). Similarly, 11% more Scottish students disagreed that their school was “an accepting, tolerant place where I feel welcome”: 43% compared to 33% across Britain.

However, the picture for Scottish schools is not completely bleak. Primary school teachers in Scotland were the most likely to say that they were allowed to teach about lesbian, gay or bisexual issues, a figure of 35%.

This compares with 29% in the south (excluding London), 24% in the north and 22% in Midlands and Wales. Barely one in ten primary teachers in London (11%) reported being allowed to teach LGBT issues.

Beyond education, incidents of homophobic crimes appear to have risen sharply in Scotland in recent months. Figures released last month showed an increase in homophobic hate crimes of 22% since 2013.

More: Education for All, homophobic bullying, schools, Scotland, Stonewall, students, Teachers Report

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