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Here's why its important 

DCFS says:

Schools are ideally placed to teach pupils about sexual orientation and how to challenge homophobia, as they make a significant contribution to the development of values and attitudes in young children that are likely to be resistant to change in adulthood. Relationship and sex education (R&SE) teaches young people to understand human sexuality and to respect the sexual orientation of others.

The Department has produced Sex and Relationship Education Guidance for teachers, which explains how to approach issues such as sexual orientation with honesty and sensitivity and how to deal with pupils' questions and offer support

A few key points from the Stonewall's report of 2012 on the experiences of young gay people in schools, including those in Somerset.

  • 55% had experienced Homophobic bullying
  • 96% Frequently heard derogatory phrases like “Dyke, Poof, Bender, Queer”
  • Only 50% of schools stated that homophobic bullying was wrong (25% in 2007 report) 37% in Faith schools
  • In the schools that did, the young people were 60% more likely NOT to be bullied
  • 37% of those bullied never tell anyone about it
  • 54%% felt there wasn’t an adult at school they could talk to about their situation
  • 25% felt there wasn’t an adult at home or elsewhere they could talk to about their situation
  • 56% of LGB young people self harmed (NSPCC estimate 7.5 – 10%  young people in general self harm)
  • 23% of LGB young people have attempted suicide (Samaritans estimate 7% young people in general attempt suicide)

How does this affect the lesbian, gay or bisexual student?

  • They are likely to truant to escape harassment (44% reported skipping school as direct result of bullying)
  • Their academic standards are likely to drop (3 out of 5 stated it affected their work)
  • They are likely to suffer from low self esteem & self worth
  • They are likely to suffer from mental health and/or physical disorders
  • They are more likely to engage in alcohol & drug misuse as a copying mechanisim or engage in risky sexual activities.
  • They are at a higher risk of self harm and eating disorders


  • 71% of lesbian & bisexual girls  had reported thoughts of suicide
  • 57% of gay & bisexual boys, HOWEVER this jumps to 76% for black or minority ethnic young men
  • 23% Have tried to take their own life (29% of girls 16% boys)

You can download the full report from our Useful Info & Resources section of our website or from the Stonewall website

Bullied LGB young people are far more likely to attempt to take their own life than other LGB young people who haven’t been bullied.

Section 28, the common name for Section 2a of the Local Government Act 1986, which banned local authorities in England and Wales from 'promoting' homosexuality in schools, was repealed in 2003 and replaced by new guidance for schools on how to approach issues of sex and sexuality within the R&SE framework. Tackling homophobic bullying is one of the key things a school can do to improve the well being of LGB young people in schools.

Challenging homophobic language
Stonewall's Education Guide on Challenging homophobic language provides information and advice for primary and secondary school staff.
Challenging homophobic language doesn't have to be time-consuming or difficult. This guide includes how you can respond to and prevent homophobic language and Stonewall's top ten recommendations for tackling homophobic language. It also provides top ten tips and features good practice examples from Stonewall Education Champions. Visit their website for these resources and much more

Terrence Higgins Trust has developed a teaching pack designed to provide ideas on how to talk about sexual orientation and challenge homophobia in school’s. This pack has been written by teachers for teachers
This FREE pack contains ideas that can be used across the curriculum including

  • Assembly
  • Geography
  • Modern Languages
  • Religious Education
  • PSHE
  • English
  • Drama

As well as a guide to current legislation and guidance in this area of work.
The Pack is available in an A4 ring binder which also contains a cd rom. You can download a PDF of the pack from our Useful Info & Resources section of our website or contact THT to obtain a free copy. Tel: 020 7812 1787 
or search their website

Stand up for us is a Wired for Health initiative aiming to help schools tackle homophobic bullying, in the context of developing an inclusive, safer and more successful school environment for all. (This is an older publication, 2004)

Educational Action Challenging Homophobia (EACH) is a national, charitable organisation set up to challenge homophobia through education. It provides a professionally staffed national helpline which offers advice and support.

The Schools Out website has some useful information and tools

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