Two thirds of teachers who have addressed lesbian and gay issues in the classroom have done so because the children brought it up, others because they think it is important to do so. Ninety five per cent of teachers who have addressed these issues declare they would do so again.
I do think that it is important for children to have the opportunity to discuss same-sex relationships etc. at primary level. We briefly touch on it when we do sex education, but I doubt that many teachers go into it in much detail. I also think that it should be pointed out whenever relationships are talked about, so that children see same-sex relationships as just another type of relationship, rather than as something “different”.
Sarah, teacher, primary school (London)
Pupils with parents or carers in same-sex relationships are often embarrassed to talk about it as they fear they will be bullied or negative comments will be made about their families. If this issue was discussed more openly in school then it would perhaps reduce issues such as this, as other children would hopefully see it not as something freaky or bad. Victoria, teacher, primary school (West Midlands)
I feel that the younger it is addressed (from age five upwards), the more receptive the children are to believing that other ways of life are acceptable. You don’t have to shove it in their faces, just teach them that some people have other ways of life and it is just as normal as the ways of life they are familiar with.
Alice, teacher, primary school (London)
They need to be shown and taught about it, just like we do with other countries, religions etc. Hiding won’t make it go away.
Niamh, teacher, primary school (South West)