Young People Need Support in Schools in Dealing with LGBTI Issues

The SSTA urges the Scottish Government to ensure priority is given to supporting young people, particularly those under the age of 16, in all school environments in dealing with the whole spectrum of LGBTI issues and of gender recognition including that of non-binary.

Seamus Searson, SSTA General Secretary said “LGBT rights have been increasingly strengthened, supported by legislation and increasingly recognised and supported in society. Discrimination protections were extended to all, including LGBT people under the Equality Act 2010. Transgender people have had the right to change their legal gender since 2005. Same-sex couples were granted the right to enter into a civil partnership in 2005, and in 2014 same sex marriage was legalised in Scotland. Today, LGBT citizens have most of the same legal rights as non-LGBT citizens and the UK provides one of the highest degrees of liberty in the world for its LGBT communities”.

“This is important to teachers as more young people feel able to express themselves as they wish and believe themselves to be because of the Equalities Act and the inclusion agenda. We as educational professionals have become practised in using more inclusive language and being more sensitive to the needs of the diverse range of young people that we teach. However, recent research by Stonewall Scotland highlights the need for leadership from the highest level to help support teachers in Secondary Schools”.

  • 44% of secondary staff say they aren’t allowed to, or aren’t sure if they are allowed to teach about LGBT issues in their school (despite Section 28 (2A) being repealed in Scotland in 2000
  • United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child enshrines rights of young people to live without fear of discrimination but 88% of secondary staff report that pupils have experienced homophobic bullying/harassment/name calling
  • Only 16% of teachers have received specific training on tackling homophobic bullying
  • Only 43% of secondary school staff say their school has a policy that specifically addresses homophobic bullying
  • Over 90% of secondary school teachers say LGBT issues should be addressed in schools but 35% of secondary school teachers have not addressed LGBT issues in the classroom
  • Only 14% of secondary school staff say pupils at their school have visible LGBT role models. Evidence shows positive role models are important.

Seamus Searson added “Schools are normally places of safety for all young people and a place for young people to be themselves but there is major work to be done for this to be achieved for all”.

Further information from

 

Seamus Searson
General Secretary

Published on 07 July 2016 - Press Releases