The School Report

The experiences of gay young people in Britain's schools (2012)

Teacher report 2012

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Key findings:

  • Homophobic bullying continues to be widespread in Britain’s schools. More than half (55 per cent) of lesbian, gay and bisexual pupils have experienced direct bullying
  • The use of homophobic language is endemic. Almost all (99 per cent) gay young people hear the phrases  ‘that’s so gay’ or ‘you’re so gay’ in school and ninety six per cent of gay pupils hear homophobic language such as ‘poof’ or ‘lezza’
  • Three in five gay pupils who experience homophobic bullying say that teachers who witness the bullying never intervene
  • Only half of gay pupils report that their schools say homophobic bullying is wrong, even fewer do in faith schools (37 per cent)
  • Homophobic bullying has a profoundly damaging impact on young people’s school experience. One in three (32 per cent) gay pupils experiencing bullying change their future educational plans because of it and three in five say it impacts directly on their school work
  • Gay people who are bullied are at a higher risk of suicide, self-harm and depression. Two in five (41 per cent) have attempted or thought about taking their own life directly because of bullying and the same number say that they deliberately self-harm directly because of bullying

In the last five years

Since this study was first conducted in 2007, Stonewall has produced a range of high-quality, age-appropriate resources to help teachers combat homophobic bullying. Stonewall has also been working directly with schools, local authorities and national agencies, among others, to develop strategies for tackling bullying. The 2012 study show the encouraging results of this work: 

  • The rate of homophobic bullying of lesbian, gay and bisexual young people has decreased to 55 per cent, down from 65 per cent
  • Twice as many gay pupils report their schools say homophobic bullying is wrong - 50 per cent up from 25 per cent in 2007
  • The number of gay pupils who still feel unable to speak out when they are bullied, whilst still too high, has fallen from 58 per cent to 37 per cent
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