School Diversity Week 2018

This week is School Diversity Week.

Just Like Us is the LGBT+ organisation behind the week, which was founded for a simple reason: growing up LGBT+ is still one of the most challenging experiences young people can face.

In the Government Equalities Office LGBT Action Plan launched earlier this week, they set-out the results of the largest ever LGBT+ Survey, including in Education and the action the Government will be taking.

Below is a summary of the action we're taking to support LGBT+ people in education.

All LGBT people should feel welcomed and safe at school, college and university so that they can reach their full potential. Existing evidence suggests that homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying can have a disproportionate impact on LGBT young people. It also shows that incidents of bullying are decreasing, although any level of prejudice- based bullying is unacceptable and we are committed to tackling it. We are also committed to ensuring that LGBT teachers and people working in education are free to be themselves at work.

The national LGBT survey asked respondents about their experiences in education. We asked all respondents whether sexual orientation and gender identity were discussed during their education, and how well they felt this prepared them for later life. If respondents were in education in the academic year preceding the survey, we also asked them about how open they were about their LGBT status and any incidents they had experienced.

A significant number of respondents had experienced a negative incident during their time in education. Our survey found many people had been ‘outed’ without their consent, or been victims of verbal harassment in education. In addition, very few respondents felt that their education had prepared them for life as an LGBT person. Some of the most important findings were:

  • In the last academic year, 21% of respondents in education had experienced a negative reaction involving someone disclosing their LGBT identity without their permission, and 19% involving verbal harassment, insults or other hurtful comments. 
  • 21% of respondents recalled discussion of sexual orientation, gender identity or both at school, with younger respondents much more likely to do so than older respondents. Of those who did, however, only 9% felt this had prepared them well for later life as LGBT people, which did not vary remarkably by age. 
  • 83% of the most serious incidents experienced by respondents within educational institutions in the last academic year were not reported, primarily because they considered them too minor, not serious enough or that they ‘happen all the time’.

We will take action so that our education system supports every LGBT child or young person.

  • We will continue to tackle homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying in schools and the wider education system. 
  • We will update Sex and Relationships Education guidance to support the Government’s reforms to this subject.
  • We will ensure that schools have access to the guidance they need to support LGBT pupils.
  • We will support LGBT teachers to be themselves at work and improve the diversity of the teaching profession.
  • We will ensure that support is available for LGBT students who are victims of hate crime and online harassment.

Read the full report HERE.