Primary school children come from a variety of backgrounds and families. Celebrating and acknowledging different families is crucial to make all children feel welcome and enable them to learn how to value those who are different.
Children prosper academically and developmentally in classrooms where they feel welcome and safe. Unfortunately, hurtful language is very commonplace in primary schools. Three quarters of primary school teachers report hearing the word "gay" being used as an insult or to mean that something is rubbish.
This sort of homophobic language can affect any students perceived as different including boys who apply themselves academically, girls who "behave like boys" and kids with gay parents.
Through Primary School Champions, Stonewall partners with primary schools to help them celebrate different families and address homophobic language in the classroom.
You will meet your legal requirements under the Equality Act and from Education Scotland inspections. New changes in the law require schools to take proactive action. The Equality Act 2010 introduced for the first time a duty on schools requiring them actively to tackle issues such as homophobic bullying and the protection of those who might experience it. Being part of the programme will help to ensure you are complying with the Act. During school inspections, inspectors from Education Scotland evaluate the extent to which all young people are cared for, treated fairly and with respect, and listened to. They look at anti-bullying policies and how the school promotes equality and diversity. Inspectors also evaluate how the learning needs of all young people are being met. If bullying or unfair treatment are found to have an adverse impact on young people’s health and wellbeing, learning or achievement, this will be taken into account in deciding the overall evaluations of the school’s performance.
You will help your students reach their potential. Celebrating difference and tackling homophobic bullying helps to promote an environment for students that is conducive to optimal learning and development. Homophobic bullying can have a profoundly damaging impact on young people’s secondary school experience. A third of gay pupils experience bullying which leads them to change their future educational plans and three in five say it harms their academic performance. By working with Stonewall to mitigate the worst harms of homophobic bullying, you can help push your students towards their academic goals.
You will empower your staff. It can be challenging to tackle homophobic bullying and gender stereotyping in secondary schools. Nine out of ten secondary school teachers say they not received any specific training on how to tackle homophobic bullying. Stonewall can empower your teachers by giving expert and tailored advice.