On the same day I also spoke to a prominent author, who asked me whether there were any issues around homophobia, biphobia and transphobia left in schools or whether it was all mostly dealt with by now.
It’s true there’s been some notable progress over the past few years. In Stonewall’s The Teachers’ Report (2014), the percentage of primary and secondary schools teachers surveyed who hear homophobic language often or very often was a lot lower than in 2009.
Yet as my inbox unfortunately demonstrated, there’s still lots to do. In particular, a report last year (Metro Youth Chances 2014) showed that nine in ten of more than 7000 young people surveyed said they have never learned about bisexuality (89 per cent) or transgender issues (94 per cent) in school. Two thirds of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and questioning young people surveyed said that, at their school, school staff didn’t speak out against homophobia, biphobia and transphobia.
A key barrier is teacher training. At Stonewall, teachers overwhelmingly tell us that they want to tackle homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying, but lack the training or support to do so. That’s why we’re so excited that this term, a new government-funded project has enabled us to roll out our Train the Trainer courses for primary and secondary schools across the country. These courses give school staff the knowledge, tools and confidence to train their colleagues on tackling homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying.
In the past, we were able to deliver about ten courses per term. Now, if you have a look on our website, you’ll find more than 70 courses across the country. For the first time, we can ensure that teachers from schools across the country, from Cumbria to Kent, Exeter to Newcastle, can access an affordable, local and available training course on tackling homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying – to help to create an environment where all young people are accepted, without exception.
You can find out more about this project, and your local Stonewall Training Partner who’ll deliver the training, at www.stonewall.org.uk/teachertraining.
By Alex Newton, Programmes Manager at Stonewall (originally posted on Safer Schools).