Menu

Stonewall Scotland

Stonewall Scotland is a LGBT rights charity, campaigning for equality for all LGBT people. Acceptance without exception.

Stonewall Scotland

Stonewall Scotland is a LGBT rights charity, campaigning for equality for all LGBT people. Acceptance without exception.

Stonewall was originally set up UK wide 25 years ago in opposition to Section 28. Section 28 of the Local Government Act 1988 prohibited local authorities from “promoting” homosexuality or gay relationships, and prevented councils spending money on educational materials and projects perceived to promote a gay lifestyle. Section 28 was repealed by MSPs as part of the Ethical Standards in Public Life Act on 21 June 2000.

Despite 15 years having passed since the repeal of Section 28, a staggering 75% or primary, and 44% of secondary school staff say they either aren’t allowed to, or aren’t sure if they are allowed to teach about LGBT issues in their school.

Research

Stonewall Scotland has carried out two pieces of research within the last few years, ‘The School Report 2012’ and ‘The Teachers’ Report 2014’. When carrying out the School Report, Stonewall Scotland spoke to LGBT young people from all over the country and asked them about their experiences of school and if they had experienced bullying. The results they received were quite shocking. More than half of the young people had been targeted by bullies and 99% of the young people had heard homophobic language being used in the classroom. What was equally shocking was the effect this had on the attainment and mental health of these young people. 71% admitted to skipping school, over half had self-harmed at some point and a staggering 25% had attempted suicide.

Stonewall Scotland then ran follow-up report in 2014 asking teachers what they were seeing in their schools. The report shows that 88% of secondary and 39% of primary school staff say that pupils in their school have experienced homophobic bullying, harassment or name calling. Despite this, only 16% have received any specific training on how to tackle this sort of bullying.

Train the Trainer programme

In 2014, Stonewall Scotland launched a new programme for primary and secondary school teachers. The Train the Trainer programme aims to support individual teachers to make a positive change in their schools. It also empowers them with the confidence, skills and tools to tackle homophobia, biphobia and transphobia, and to support LGBT pupils.

The programme is a one-day intensive course and is fully interactive to encourage delegates to share strategies and best practice. Delegates also receive a large pack of Stonewall education resources. The programme is designed to give delegates the tools and techniques required to train colleagues when they return to school.

The feedback from this programme has been overwhelmingly positive, with 100% of attendees feeling more confident in tackling homophobic bullying.

The course costs £100 plus VAT and you can book online at: http://www.stonewallscotland.org.uk/scottish-teacher-training

Recommendations

Stonewall Scotland believe that teachers are the most powerful tool in the fight against homophobia, biphobia and transphobia. However, teachers need the support and backing of their school leadership, education authorities and the Scottish Government in order to tackle these issues. The Teachers’ Report sets out clear recommendations which schools should aim for to ensure that we can deliver the best for Scotland’s children and young people. These recommendations are as follows:

  • Revise bullying policies to ensure they specifically support all staff to tackle homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying and language.
  • School leaders should make sure that all staff are aware that they are allowed and encouraged to talk about LGBT issues and understand the importance of this in tackling homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying and language and in creating an inclusive school.
  • Make sure there is an effective system in place for recording and reporting incidents of homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying to the local authority, and that all staff feel confident and supported in using this system appropriately.
  • Provide staff with comprehensive training on tackling homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying and language, and including LGBT issues in the curriculum. Teacher training can be accessed through your local authority or programmes such as Stonewall’s Train the Trainer, which gives primary and secondary teachers the knowledge, skills and confidence to train their colleagues on tackling homophobic bullying and celebrating difference.

Further information

For more information on the work of Stonewall Scotland and to download educational resources, you can visit their website at: http://www.stonewallscotland.org.uk.