HOMOPHOBIA STILL BLIGHTING LIVES OF TEACHERS AND PUPILS

Over half of teachers have experienced some form of homophobia, biphobia or transphobia during their teaching career, a conference organised by the NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union in the UK, has heard.

Less than half of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) teachers at the NASUWT’s LGBT Teachers’ Consultation Conference today (Saturday) in Birmingham said their school takes the issue of homophobia, biphobia or transphobia against either teachers or pupils seriously.

A real-time electronic poll of members attending the Conference found that:

  • Over half (56%) said they had experienced homophobia, bi phobia and transphobia during their teaching career;
  • Nearly half (44%) have experienced the word gay being used in a derogatory or offensive manner in schools;
  • Nearly a quarter (24%) have had to hide their sexual orientation or gender identity at school;
  • More than one in ten (12%) have experienced homophobic, biphobic or transphobic verbal abuse at school;
  • Only a third said that they believe teachers can be out and safe in schools;
  • Less than half said that their school takes the issue of homophobia, biphobia and transphobia against pupils or teachers seriously;
  • More training for school staff on tackling homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in schools would make the biggest difference in tackling the problem;
  • 95% said the Coalition Government’s decision not to equalise pension survivor benefits to civil partners or same sex couples on cost grounds is unjustified;
  • Less than a quarter said the Coalition Government’s record on advancing LGBT equality was good or very good.

Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, who addressed the Conference, said:

“It is scandalous that in the 21st century teachers are still reporting that homophobia is still an issue for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender pupils and staff and that many LGBT teachers do not feel safe in their schools .

“Despite assertions to the contrary, the Coalition Government has rolled back the progress made over decades on equality and we see the adverse impact this is having on teachers and pupils in our schools.

“Post the General Election, we need a government which is committed to creating a climate in our schools where all children and young people and staff feel respected and safe."

ONLY RESPITE FOR TEACHERS IS A CHANGE OF GOVERNMENT IN MAY

Responding to the publication of the Government’s response to the Workload Challenge, Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, the largest teachers’ union in the UK, said:

“The Coalition Government’s response to the Workload Challenge demonstrates its contempt for the teaching profession.

“The Report released today wilfully misinterprets and misrepresents the clear evidence provided by thousands of teachers about the chronic workload burdens they are facing as a consequence of this Coalition Government’s policies.

“The Coalition Government has created a culture in schools where anything goes and where any adverse impact on the health and wellbeing of teachers is simply regarded as collateral damage.

“Anyone reading the Report would be forgiven for thinking that workload is a marginal issue, that the current recruitment crisis does not exist and that nearly two-thirds of teachers are not seriously considering quitting the profession.

“The excessive workload burdens on teachers have been evident since 2011 and have risen year on year.

“On the eve of a General Election, Ministers have claimed to empathise with teachers but have published a Report that is woefully inadequate given the scale of the teacher workload crisis.

“None of this will come as any surprise to teachers.

“With their Workload Challenge, ministers have over-promised and under-delivered.

“The clear message from the Report is that the only respite for teachers will come from a change of Government in May.”

The NASUWT made practical suggestions of actions which could be taken before the General Election. The letter to Nicky Morgan is attached.

Letter to Nicky Morgan