The following information is specific to the Welsh context, legal powers, advice services and policy development.
In Wales responsibility for education is devolved to the Welsh Government; giving us a unique opportunity to make a real change to lives of Wales's pupils, students and teachers.
Section 28 of the Local Government Act was finally repealed in England and Wales on 18 September 2003. Prior to this, the Welsh Assembly guidance, Sex and Relationships Education in Schools (2002) clearly stated that Section 28 did not prevent "objective discussions of homosexuality" in the classroom, effectively repealing Section 28 a year earlier in Wales.
The Welsh Assembly's Respecting Others: Anti Bullying Guidance (2003) acknowledges the existence of bullying in relation to sexual orientation and identifies that homophobic bullying is not restricted to pupils who identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual. Anyone who is thought to be 'gay,' who is perceived to be 'different' or who does not conform to traditional gender roles can be subjected to homophobic bullying.
Respecting Others advocates a whole school approach to tackling bullying. This will include discussing same-sex relationships and sexual orientation in Personal and Social Education, raising awareness of discrimination and homophobia across the taught curriculum and acknowledging homophobic bullying in anti-bullying policies, behaviour policies and Equal Opportunity policies. The need to challenge homophobic language is also highlighted. The word 'gay' is widely used as an insult and needs to be challenged in the same way as racist language is challenged. Respecting Others has cross-party support.
In addition, Estyn, the Wales education and training inspectorate, include evaluation of the effectiveness of school bullying policies as part of their inspection criteria.
In 2006 a review of the implementation of the Respecting Others guidance was commissioned by Jane Davidson, Minister for Education and Lifelong Learning. The evaluation found that those policies which identified and tackled bullying across all 'strands' including those that specifically discussed how homophobic bullying is manifest and how it should be addressed, were consistently the most effective (Evaluation of Anti-Bullying Policies in Schools in Wales, 2006).
A major survey of Britain's secondary schools has revealed that almost two thirds of lesbian and gay pupils (156,000 children) have been victims of homophobic bullying.
The School Report, the largest poll of young gay people ever conducted in this country, presents a shocking picture of the extent of homophobic bullying undertaken by fellow pupils and, alarmingly, school staff.
Key findings are:
The survey of 1,145 young people, conducted by the Schools Health Education Unit for Stonewall, also highlights the consequences of bullying for gay pupils. Seven out of ten of those who have experienced it say it has adversely affected their school work. Half of those bullied say they have missed school as a result.
The report does demonstrate significant benefits when schools intervene. In schools that have said homophobic bullying is wrong, gay young people are 60 per cent more likely not to have been bullied. The incidence of anti-gay bullying remains higher in 'faith schools'.
Click here to read the full report.
If you cannot find the information you need on this website, you can call the Stonewall Cymru offices on 029 20 237744 or 01492 622202 or the Stonewall info line on 08000 50 20 20 (Mon-Fri 9:30am - 5:30pm) and we will try to point you in the right direction.