One of Stonewall’s key aims is to eradicate homophobia and sexual orientation-based discrimination in Britain’s schools so that every child and young person can learn in a safe, supportive and respectful environment. Stonewall works with the following bodies and groups in our efforts:
- Central government departments
- Local authorities
- Local agencies
- Young people
In 2007, Stonewall conducted research with 1,145 young lesbian, gay and bisexual pupils across Britain about their current experiences in school, the largest survey of young gay people ever conducted in Great Britain.
The School Report revealed the alarming extent and nature of homophobic bullying currently faced by young gay people in school. Almost two thirds of young lesbian, gay and bisexual people have experienced direct homophobic bullying. arrying out research, publishing briefings and working with government, trade unions, business, NGOs and policy institutions to develop ideas and policy that remove discrimination and improve the lives of lesbians, gay men and bisexual people.
Stonewall’s 2009 research The Teachers’ Report found that homophobic bullying affects more than the 150,000 gay pupils we already knew to be affected from The School Report. Nine in ten secondary school teachers and more than two in five primary school teachers say homophobic bullying occurs in their school.
Teachers explained that gay pupils are not the sole targets for homophobic bullying as pupils suffer homophobic bullying regardless of their sexual orientation. The results of this report confirm that homophobic bullying is a problem that affects not only young gay people, but young heterosexual people too.
The findings detail the first national picture of teachers’ experiences of homophobic bullying. Challenging the underlying cultural and attitudinal values that allow discrimination to flourish. Changing cultures and attitudes to positively value diversity.
Stonewall’s education work began with its founding campaign to abolish Section 28 of the Local Government Act in England and Wales (1988), which prohibited local authorities from ‘promoting’ homosexuality. Though this legislation never applied to schools, it had a devastating effect as the legislation led to fear and confusion in schools and resulted in teachers refraining from addressing sexual orientation in classrooms, tackling homophobia or offering support to young lesbian and gay pupils. Stonewall achieved the repeal of Section 28 in 2003.
Since then, Stonewall has advised a number of agencies and government departments on policies and practices for tackling homophobic bullying in Britain’s schools. The Department for Children, Schools and Families commissioned Stonewall to produce extensive online guidance for governors, heads, senior management, and teachers on tackling homophobic bullying in schools.
In 2005 Stonewall launched Education for All, a national campaign to tackle homophobic bullying in all of Britain’s schools. Education for All works with over 70 organisations including government departments, local authorities, unions, voluntary and community organisations and LGB groups. Please click here for further information on our Education for All campaign.
As well as working with a range of education professionals to develop strategies to prevent and respond to homophobic bullying, Education for All runs three national programmes of work:
Stonewall’s Education Champions programme provides bespoke support and guidance to local authorities in preventing and tackling homophobia and homophobic bullying in their local schools.
Stonewall's School Champions programme provides tailored support and guidance to individual primary and secondary schools in preventing and tackling homophobic bullying and creating inclusive school environments where all pupils feel able to be themselves.
The Stonewall Youth Volunteering Programme works directly with young people to provide them with the tools to combat homophobic bullying in their local schools and communities.