Homophobic bullying - EACH

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Homophobic bullying - EACH

HomophobicbullyingSafe to Learn: Embeddinganti-bullying work in schools


01ContentsGUIDANCEExecutive summary 04Foreword 09A. Advice for governors 11A1. Introductions 12A2. The Legal Framework 13A3. Recognition 16A4. Prevention 21A5. Responding 24A6. Monitoring 25B. Advice for Heads and Senior management team 27B1. Introductions 28B2. The Legal Framework 29B3. Recognition 32B4. Prevention 37B5. Responding 45B6. Monitoring 48C. Advice for Teachers and School Staff 49C1. Introductions 50C2. The Legal Framework 51C3. Recognition 54C4. Prevention 59C5. Responding 63C6. Monitoring 67Frequently asked questions 68Further resources 73Downloads (DLs) 79


02 Safe to Learn: Embedding anti-bullying work in schools


06 Safe to Learn: Embedding anti-bullying work in schools• Or, they may bully a pupil who has gay parents/carers or family members.How to respond to homophobic bullying11. School staff interact with pupils on a daily basisand are more likely to see, and be told about,incidents of homophobic bullying. It is important thatstaff responses are, in line with Ofsted guidelines,‘swift, proportionate, discreet, influential andeffective’. Staff should feel able to respond effectivelyto incidents of homophobic bullying, and instilconfidence in pupils and parents/carers that issueswill be dealt with.Responding to homophobic language:12. Casual homophobic language is common inschools but, if it is not challenged, pupils may thinkthat homophobic bullying is acceptable. It istherefore important to challenge homophobiclanguage when it occurs:• Ensure that pupils know that homophobiclanguage will not be tolerated in schools. Makesure it is included in policies and procedures.• When an incident occurs, pupils should beinformed that homophobic language isoffensive, and will not be tolerated.• If a pupil continues to make homophobicremarks, explain in detail the effects thathomophobic bullying has on people.• If a pupil makes persistent remarks, they shouldbe removed from the classroom and teachersand staff should talk to him or her in more detailabout why their comments are unacceptable.• If the problem persists, involve senior managers.The pupil should be made to understand thesanctions that will apply if they continue to usehomophobic language.• Consider inviting the parents/carers to school todiscuss the attitudes of the pupil.Responding to physical bullying insecondary schools:13. Like verbal abuse, pupils may be reluctant to reportincidents of homophobic bullying because they fearthat staff will assume they are gay, even if they are not.Physical abuse can indicate a young person is at risk,and the overarching strategies that are implemented tosafeguard pupils might be appropriate in this context,for example working with other agencies, including, ifnecessary, the police. Schools know how to respond toincidents of physical abuse, and the same strategiesshould apply when motivated by homophobicbullying. Homophobic violence can be a crime. Antibullyingpolicies should be rigorously enforced in orderto keep pupils safe from physical abuse.14. Teachers should refer to the anti-bullying policyand the ‘hierarchy of sanctions’ when respondingto homophobic bullying. In particularly severecircumstances the school should consider permanentexclusion.Prevention15. Heads, governors and staff can take a numberof steps to help prevent homophobic bullying.Prevention should be a central focus of a school’s workto tackle homophobic bullying since taking steps toprevent bullying makes it easier to respond to incidentswhen they occur. It also enables a school to create anethos in which pupils are clear that bullying iscompletely unacceptable and will not be tolerated.• Ensure relevant policies exist, for example,checking that homophobic bullying is included inanti-bullying policies and related policies andprocedures.• Assess and monitor the extent of homophobicbullying through anonymous staff and pupilsurveys, and existing methods like bullying


GUIDANCE 07Executive summaryboxes. Evaluate the responses received andensure consistent recording and reporting.• Raise awareness of what homophobic bullyingis and how the school will respond. Ensureeffective reporting systems are in place to enablepupils to report incidents.• Evaluate and make use of curriculumopportunities in order to instil respect for others.• Develop effective intervention strategies.• Know how to provide sensitive support tolesbian and gay pupils to help them feel safe,and able to tell teachers about incidents ofhomophobic bullying.Summary16. To create an inclusive environment in your schoolwhere all pupils feel safe and are able to fulfil theirpotential requires a whole school approach. This shouldbe integral to your school’s mission statement andoverall vision. The following ten steps can be taken toaddress homophobic bullying in your school:1. Acknowledge and identify the problem ofbullying. The most important step is to recognisethat all sorts of bullying takes place in schools, evenif some forms are not immediately visible.2. Develop policies which recognise the existenceof homophobic bullying. Ensure that your antibullyingpolicy takes homophobic bullying intoaccount. Take other appropriate action such aschallenging use of the word ‘gay’ and ensuring fastremoval of graffiti.3. Promote a positive social environment. Theethos of the entire school community, including allstaff and parents/carers, should be to support allpupils, regardless of their differences and to ensurethat they are happy and safe.4. Address staff training needs. Do not assume thatonly lesbian, gay and bisexual staff are able to dealwith homophobic bullying, but ensure all staff areconfident they know how to react to such situations.5. Provide information and support for pupils.Make age-appropriate information about servicesand support available to all pupils. Refer pupils toservices including ChildLine for additional support.6. Include addressing bullying, includinghomophobic bullying, in curriculum planning.Try to include teaching about bullying, includinghomophobic bullying, in the curriculum as a wholein an age-appropriate way and in accordance withNational Curriculum subject frameworks andguidance so that pupils understand and appreciatediversity. This can be done formally in lesson times,but also informally, e.g. by providing informationabout LGB groups within secondary schools, inaccordance with the school’s policy.7. Feel able to use outside expertise. Peopleworking in external agencies (such as lesbian andgay charities, youth workers or local telephonehelplines) can offer support, both outside and insidethe classroom, in addressing homophobic bullying.8. Encourage role models. Openly gay staff,governors, parents/carers and/or pupils can all bestrong role models for the school.9. Do not make assumptions. Do not assume thatall pupils in a class are, or will be, heterosexual. Donot assume that all staff in a school or college areheterosexual. And do not assume that all pupilsexperiencing homophobic bullying are gay.10. Celebrate achievements. Make successes known,such as updating the school anti-bullying policy orreducing the incidence of bullying, through tutorialtime, newsletters, notice-boards or websites etc.


08 Safe to Learn: Embedding anti-bullying work in schools


GUIDANCE 09ForewordForewordThis guidance provides school governors, heads,teachers and other staff with information abouthow to prevent and respond to homophobicbullying. It is intended to be read in conjunction withthe Department for Children, Schools and Families’(DCSF) resources on bullying and behaviour,particularly Safe to Learn, and is to be used against thebackdrop of a school’s existing policies.Homophobic bullying has a significant impact onschools and individuals within that school. Pupilswho experience homophobic bullying are more likelyto miss school, are less likely to stay in full timeeducation, and are less likely to feel safe, enjoy andachieve, be healthy and make a positive contributionto their community. It should therefore be central toa school’s ethos that all pupils feel they are safe andprotected from bullying. Creating a safe and inclusiveatmosphere in this way builds a sense ofcommunity within the school, which will, in turn,develop and sustain the community which the schoolserves and supports.This guidance is aimed at maintained schools(including maintained nursery schools), maintainedspecial schools and Pupil Referral Units, thoughmuch of the good practice advice is relevant to alltypes of school.Where the law is discussed, the guidance offers theDepartment’s view on relevant legal provisions, butit is not intended as definitive legal advice. Only acourt can decide on the interpretation of the law.Where a specific legal duty is referred to “must” isused; other advice can be considered asrecommended best practice.The definition of a “parent” or “carer” for the purposeof this guidance is broadly drawn and includes anyperson who has parental responsibility (whichincludes the local authority where they have a careorder in respect of the child) and any person (forexample, a foster carer) with whom the child livesand/or the child’s birth parent(s). Where “LGB” isused in the guidance this is the shortened form of“Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual”.The guidance was written for the Department byStonewall 1 and Educational Action ChallengingHomophobia 2 (EACH). It was created with the help ofchildren and young people, heads and school staff,community and voluntary sector organisations,representatives of the main faith groups, theprofessional associations, local authority officersand the trade unions.1www.stonewall.org.uk2www.eachaction.org.uk


10 Safe to Learn: Embedding anti-bullying work in schoolsGovernment, the teacher unions and professionalassociations, children’s charities, as well as all faithcommunities are united in their declaration that allforms of bullying are wrong.Each of the following 3 sections is structured as:IntroductionsThe Legal FrameworkRecognitionPreventionRespondingMonitoringFurther information:Frequently Asked QuestionsFurther ResourcesDownloadable sheets are provided to be used assummaries and to offer practical tips and information.Sheets are labelled as to whether they are suited to aPrimary or Secondary audience, or both.“Stonewall is proud to have been commissioned by theDCSF to help produce this guidance. The life chances ofchildren bullied at school are often permanentlydiminished. This tool represents an essential, and muchwelcome, step forward in the development of joined-upthinking that will help schools and teachers address allforms of bullying effectively.”Ben SummerskillChief Executive, Stonewall“This guidance demonstrates the government’s firmcommitment to challenging homophobic bullying;an under-reported problem which blights so manylives. This innovative resource provides educationprofessionals with a detailed insight into the issues,offers practical strategies to tackle the problem andhelp towards improving the emotional andacademic potential of everyone.”Jonathan CharlesworthDirector of Projects, EACH


GUIDANCE 11A. Advice for governorsA. Advice for governors


12 Safe to Learn: Embedding anti-bullying work in schoolsA1: IntroductionsA1.1 The purpose of this guidanceThis section provides information for governorsabout their roles and responsibilities in relation tohomophobic bullying.A1.2 Why should governors addresshomophobic bullying?Refer to DL2 with this sectionGovernors have a legal duty to ensure all forms ofbullying, including homophobic bullying, are dealtwith in schools under the Education and InspectionsAct 2006. For more on overall duties to promote thewelfare of pupils and to safeguard them see Safe toLearn 1 and Safeguarding Children in Education 2 .Bullying can cause lasting damage to the self-esteem,happiness and well-being of the children and youngpeople that encounter it. Homophobic bullying canbe particularly difficult for the young people affectedby it and the DCSF is aware that schools find it achallenging area to address. In fact 34% of allcommunications received by the EACH helpline arefrom members of school staff seeking guidance onhow best to deal with the homophobic bullying ofpupils (EACH, 2007, sample 3361).ResearchResearch by Stonewall 3 indicates that young peoplewho experience homophobic bullying are more likelyto leave school at 16, sometimes despite being keento continue their studies. Bullying can also be linkedto poor attendance with one survey showing that72% of LGB adults reported a regular history ofabsenteeism at school (Rivers, 2000).As a result, homophobic bullying can negativelyaffect a young person’s attainment and future lifechances, and in the most severe cases can lead toyoung people self-harming and contemplatingsuicide. A survey by Rivers in 2000 showed that 53%of adult lesbians and gay men who had been bulliedat school reported contemplating self-harm as aresult, while 40% had gone on to harm themselves.A further study showed that more than 20% hadattempted suicide (Mullen, 1999).A school where any bullying is tolerated creates anunsafe learning and teaching environment for all.Therefore governors have explicit responsibilityto ensure that schools respond to and preventhomophobic bullying.1www.teachernet.gov.uk/wholeschool/behaviour/tacklingbullying/safetolearn/2www.teachernet.gov.uk/wholeschool/familyandcommunity/childprotection/guidance/3www.stonewall.org.uk/schoolreport


GUIDANCE 13A. Advice for governorsA2: The Legal FrameworkLegal duties and government policies:what this means for your schoolThis section sets out the relevant laws and policies inrelation to this topic.Relevant law [see A2.1]Relevant policies [see A2.2]Relevant guidance [see A2.3]Inspections [see A2.4]A2.1 Relevant lawFor general law related to preventing and tacklingbullying please see main text of Safe to Learn.The Employment Equality(Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003 4These laws protect all staff [see C2] in a schoolagainst discrimination or harassment on the groundsof their sexual orientation. Discrimination, eitherdirect or indirect, involves treating one person lessfavourably than another on the grounds of theirsexual orientation. Harassment is unwanted conductwhich violates a person’s dignity or creates anintimidating, hostile, degrading or humiliatingenvironment. If employers do not take action to stopsuch behaviour against staff they run the risk of legalchallenge. The laws also cover perceived sexualorientation (if someone bullies because they thinka person is lesbian, gay or bisexual even though theyare not) or association (such as harassing a personover a friend or family member who is lesbian, gayor bisexual).Employers should be aware that they are responsiblefor the actions of their employees, and what peoplemay think of as just “banter” and “having a laugh” canbe deemed harassment if it is at the expense ofsomeone else’s dignity. For staff who think that theyare being discriminated against, support is availablethrough channels such as trade unions andprofessional associations [see Further resources].Creating a culture [see A4.2] of respect wheredifference is valued is important and heads andgovernors therefore have a key role In ensuring allmembers of staff, including those who are lesbian,gay or bisexual are treated fairly.The Equality Act 2006 5Part 3 of the Equality Act 2006 gives powers to outlawdiscrimination on the grounds of sexual orientationin the provision of “goods and services”. Regulationsmade under Part 3 came into effect on 30 April 2007and cover public bodies as well as private, andspecifically cover education.4www.opsi.gov.uk/SI/si2003/20031661.htm5www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts2006/20060003.htm


14 Safe to Learn: Embedding anti-bullying work in schoolsIn practice it means for instance, that a pupil couldnot be refused entry to a school on the grounds thatthey were, or were thought to be, lesbian or gay, orbecause they had gay relatives. It would also meanthat privileges, such as being a prefect, could not bedenied to lesbian or gay pupils. It also means thatschools that do not treat homophobic bullying withthe same level of seriousness as other forms ofbullying could face legal action.Guidance for schools on their duties andresponsibilities under the Sexual OrientationRegulations can be found at:www.teachernet.gov.uk/wholeschool/equality/sexualorientation/regulations2007/The Regulations should have no effect on theteaching and curriculum in schools, provided that thesubject of sexual orientation is approached in anappropriate manner in line with existing guidance.Section 28Section 28 of the Local Government Act 1988confused many schools with regards to what couldbe said in relation to homosexuality due to issuesaround the word “promotion”.Section 28 was repealed in 2003 and is no longer law.There are no, and never have been any, legal barriersto teachers and staff discussing issues around sexualorientation in the classroom and responding [see A5]to, and preventing [see A4], homophobic bullying.A2.2 Relevant policiesEvery Child Matters 6Every Child Matters provides a focus for theeducation sector and the wider children’s workforceto think about supporting children to grow intorespectful, confident and socially and emotionallyhealthy adults.Those pupils who may be experiencing homophobicbullying will not be able to meet the outcomes EveryChild Matters requires:• Being healthy: Young people experiencinghomophobic bullying are at risk of suffering fromlow self-esteem, and possibly experiencing mentalhealth issues. They may also take part in risk takingbehaviour.• Staying safe: Young people experiencinghomophobic bullying are at risk from harassment,and physical abuse, and are therefore not beingkept safe.• Enjoying and achieving: A young person who isexperiencing homophobic bullying is less likelyto enjoy school or achieve their full potential.Research suggests they may be reluctant toattend after school activities, or contribute fullyto class in case this draws attention to them.• Achieving economic well-being: A youngperson who experiences homophobic bullyingmay not do as well at school, and may not stay onto study further. Lesbian and gay pupils are morelikely to leave school at 16, even if they do havean interest in continuing their studies.• Making a positive contribution: Young peopleexperiencing homophobic bullying will bediscouraged from making a positive contributionto their school life and to their community.Youth Matters 7Youth Matters is part of Every Child Matters and aims toensure that all young adults (14-19) are supported toachieve the objectives of Every Child Matters.The challenges facing young people, such as “study,money, employment, health, self-esteem andrelationships” can provide additional challenges for6www.everychildmatters.gov.uk/7www.DCSF.gov.uk/publications/youth/


lesbian and gay young people. Learning about one’ssexual orientation can however be a positiveexperience if suitable support structures are in place.Since homophobic bullying can lead to an increasedpossibility of self-harm, educationalunderachievement, truancy, homelessness and evensuicide it can prevent the objectives of Youth Mattersbeing met.A2.3 Relevant GuidanceSafe to Learn 8The DCSF’s recently updated overarching guidance toschools, Safe to Learn, provides detailed guidance onhow to tackle all forms of bullying. It includes sectionson establishing a whole-school policy, practicalinterventions, data collection and working withparents/carers to strategically tackle bullying in theclassroom and beyond. The strategies within it canalso be used to tackle homophobic bullying.Stand Up For Us 9Stand up for us, developed by DCSF and theDepartment of Health in 2004, helps schools challengeand respond to homophobic bullying throughestablishing and delivering a whole school approach.DCSF Sex and Relationship Education Guidance 10DCSF guidance on Sex and Relationship Education(SRE) states that teaching in this area shoulddemonstrate to pupils the importance of stable,loving relationships and respect and care.In discussions about stable relationships,heterosexual and same-sex relationships can bediscussed. The guidance also states that it is forschools to make sure that the needs of all pupils areGUIDANCE 15A. Advice for governorsmet in their SRE. Whatever their developing sexuality,all young people need to feel that SRE is relevant tothem and sensitive to their needs.It is also vital that schools can assure parents/carersthat all SRE is age-specific and context specific.A2.4 InspectionOfsted self-evaluation forms 11The new Ofsted inspection regime is much morefocussed than before with the emphasis on selfevaluation.Bullying is one of the issues that inspectorswill look for in a school and Ofsted are increasinglysensitive to bullying motivated by prejudice.The new forms require schools to evidence ‘how wellequality of opportunity is promoted and discriminationtackled so that all learners achieve their potential’ andto what extent ‘learners feel safe from bullying andracist incidents’. In collecting evidence for the SEF aschool will therefore look to demonstrate the ways inwhich it tackles all forms of bullying, includinghomophobic bullying.The General Teaching Council in its documentThe Statement of Professional Values and Practice forTeachers supports the importance of maintainingtotal equality of opportunity.“Teachers work within a framework of legislation,statutory guidance and school policies, with differentlines of accountability. Within this framework they placeparticular importance on promoting equality ofopportunity – challenging stereotypes, opposingprejudice, and respecting individuals regardless of age,gender, disability, colour, race, ethnicity, class, religion,marital status or sexual orientation.” 128www.teachernet.gov.uk/wholeschool/behaviour/tacklingbullying/safetolearn/9www.wiredforhealth.gov.uk/cat.php?catid=1101&docid=770710www.dfes.gov.uk/sreguidance/11www.ofsted.gov.uk/schools/sef.cfm12www.gtce.org.uk/standards/disc/StatementOfProfValues


16 Safe to Learn: Embedding anti-bullying work in schoolsA3: RecognitionA3.1 Homophobic bullying in schools:what does it look like?Refer to DL1, DL27 and DL28 with this sectionHomophobic bullying is a specific form of bullyingand occurs when bullying is motivated by prejudiceagainst lesbian, gay or bisexual people (LGB), oragainst those perceived to be lesbian, gay or bisexual.It can also be targeted towards pupils who are seento be “different” in some other way, for example,because they may be considered shy by other pupils.In this way, a person’s identity is used to abuse themand homophobic bullying can therefore beexperienced by all pupils, regardless of their sexuality.The bullying suffered can include verbal andphysical abuse by an individual or group towards anindividual or group of people. It can consist of:• Verbal abuse such as suggestive remarks,‘teasing’, jokes or name calling• Non-verbal abuse such as mimicry, offensivegestures, or body language• Ignoring or excluding someone because they aregay or lesbian, or thought to be gay or lesbian• Display or distribution of offensive materialor graffiti• Threatened or actual physical abuse or attack• Unwanted physical contact, includingsexual contact• Cyberbullying [see A3.2], including via email,chat-rooms and mobile phones.Homophobic bullying can occur in primaryand secondary schools and through a rangeof channels.There are some differences in the ways that girls andboys bully in this way. Girls tend to use methods ofsocial exclusion, particularly rumour spreading, “funnylooks” and ignoring the person being bullied. This canlead to the young woman being attacked feelingexcluded and eventually being isolated and unable tore-integrate herself. If this occurs, she may be morelikely to take part in risk taking behaviour, such asattending adult venues or meeting people online.Boys are more likely to be the victims of physicalbullying. In order to avoid being called ‘gay’, boysmay try to conform to perceived masculinestereotypes. This strengthens the idea that there issuch a thing as ‘gay behaviour’.Whilst many schools are becoming more confidentto deal with bullying motivated by other kinds ofprejudice, such as racist bullying, few have specificmeasures in place, or the confidence to deal with,homophobic bullying. Research conducted onbehalf of the DCSF found that only 6% 13 of schoolssurveyed had anti-bullying policies that addressedhomophobic bullying. Whilst some more recentresearch suggests this figure may now be around33% 14 in secondary schools, it remains clear that toofew schools make specific mention of bullying of thiskind. Additionally recent results from Stonewall’s TheSchool Report 2007 15 show that 76% of LGB pupilsattend schools where there is no explicit mentionthat homophobic bullying is wrong.This may in part be due to the fact that homophobicbullying can be difficult to recognise. Many pupils


GUIDANCE 19A. Advice for governorsIn secondary schools, homophobic bullyingcommonly manifests itself in the form of physicalabuse. ChildLine 16 has identified that boys are morethan twice as likely to report being physically bulliedthan girls. Physical homophobic bullying can takemany forms, both sexual and non-sexual. A boy maybe forced to undress in front of other pupils to belaughed at, or may be beaten up. As a result of theembarrassment this kind of bullying causes, manypupils do not report it.“I was coming out of the toilets when a group of girlsstarted giving me grief for being a lesbian. I told them toleave me alone, and then one punched me in the face.I reported it to the teachers but they didn’t sort out theproblem completely so I went to the police.”16 year old girl, LeedsA3.4 who experienceshomophobic bullying?Anyone can experience homophobic bullying:• Young people who are lesbian, gay or bisexual(LGB)• Young people who are thought to be lesbian, gayor bisexual• Young people who are thought to be different insome way, for example, might work hard, or maynot be as good at sport, or may have a particularhobby or interest• Young people who have parents/carers [15.10] orfriends or family who are lesbian, gay or bisexual• Teachers and other school staff, who may ormay not be lesbian, gay or bisexual.Homophobic bullying can also occur when a bullyuses homophobic language [see A3.2] to describesomething, for example: “Those trainers are so gay”.In this context, the general hurtful action is deliveredin a way that is homophobic.The wide use of ‘gay’ to illustrate ‘something bad’creates a hostile environment at school wheredifference and diversity is not respected.“Homophobic bullying makes me miserable.Nothing else to say really.”14 year old boy, West MidlandsA3.5 who does the bullying and why?There is no one type of person who bullies inthis way.Pupils may justify homophobic bullying because:• They think that lesbian and gay people should bebullied, because they believe gay people are“wrong”• They do not think there is anything wrong inbullying someone because of their sexualorientation. This may in part be motivated by anincorrect interpretation of what is taught by thefaith to which they belong• They do not realise that it is bullying• They may have low self-esteem, poorcommunication skills, and were possibly bulliedthemselves• They think they might be lesbian or gay, and thismakes them uncomfortable and hostile to otherswho are• They think it is acceptable to bully others who donot conform to their “norm”• They think gay parenting is wrong and pupilsshould be treated differently because of it.16www.ChildLine.org.uk/extra/homophobicbullyingsurvey.asp


20 Safe to Learn: Embedding anti-bullying work in schoolsIn addition pupils tend not to intervene in cases ofhomophobic bullying in case the bully thinks thatthey might be gay, or they think that it is ok to be gay.This makes the sense of isolation more profound forthe person being bullied.For more information on the motivations forbullying and strategies to deal with this, pleasesee Safe to Learn.


GUIDANCE 21A. Advice for governorsA4: PreventionA4.1 Developing policies, practicesand proceduresRefer to DL3, DL5 and DL29 with this sectionAnti-bullying policies will be school specific,depending on pastoral and management structureswithin the school. Heads and governors should beaware of government guidance and legislation[see A2] concerning homophobic bullying andconsider the implications of this when drawing upthe anti-bullying policy within their behaviour policy.Governors need to ensure that explicit reference ismade to homophobic bullying in the anti-bullyingpolicy, as well as an explanation of the sanctionswhich will be invoked to deal with such incidents. It isimportant that the policies, practices and proceduresthat relate to other forms of bullying (such as racistbullying) are applied equally to homophobic bullying.Governors should consider consulting staff, studentsand parents/carers about changes to policies. This willprovide an opportunity to identify resistance to takingsteps to prevent homophobic bullying and will alsohelp secure support when changes are implemented.Schools should also consider whether their EqualOpportunities policy, designed to ensure fair access toprovision and processes, details the school’s attitudesto tackling bullying, including homophobic bullying.For more information on developing an Anti-Bullyingpolicy, see Safe to Learn.A4.2 The role of leadershipSchool governors provide leadership to a school andensure that the ethos and culture of the school isreflected in all its workings. It is important that indoing this they make it clear that the school will nottolerate homophobic bullying. The governors willtherefore lead the way in considering and includingmeasures to respond to and prevent homophobicbullying in schools. This includes informing andconsulting [see B4.4] pupils, parents/carers and staff.Governors need to be clear that homophobicbullying can affect anyone who is perceived asdifferent, and a bullying culture creates an unsafelearning environment for everyone.A4.3 Supporting the development of staffUnder the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation)Regulations (2003) [see A2], staff or potential staffcannot be discriminated against on the groundsof sexual orientation. This means that duringrecruitment sexual orientation should not be relevantto the appointment. The regulations apply to allforms of employment (including teacher training)and schools must take appropriate action in responseto homophobic actions or comments by any pupils.Under the law, all staff must be protected fromhomophobic bullying (regardless of their sexualorientation) and must feel able to challengehomophobic bullying when it occurs. This meansthat staff should not experience any form of direct orindirect discrimination or victimisation. Thereforegovernors have a legal responsibility to protect


22 Safe to Learn: Embedding anti-bullying work in schoolsstaff from harassment on the grounds of sexualorientation (even if the staff member is not gay).This includes situations when pupils are harassingmembers of staff.Schools will want to ensure that all new staffunderstand the policies and sanctions that are inplace to prevent and respond to homophobicbullying. Schools can make use of recruitmentinduction training, INSET (including on non-teachingdays), training provided by external organisationsincluding the Local Authority, the programmesconducted by the National Strategies and the widerangeof resources available, to ensure staff feelconfident enough to challenge homophobicbullying. A full list of organisations and websitesthat may help can be found in the FurtherResources section.“As a result of dedicated training staff now feel a gooddeal more positive about challenging homophobiclanguage and behaviour, not only as and when itpresents itself, but also in being proactive by raising theissue in class discussions.”A Head-teacher’s comments to EACHAbove all, staff members need to feel that they havethe unequivocal support of the senior managementteam and other colleagues when dealing withhomophobic bullying. If a staff member does not feelcompetent in dealing with the issue, they will not bebest able to support the pupils who need their help.Establishing a climate where diversity is celebratedbenefits the entire school community.“I spoke to a teacher about being gay and the fact I wasgetting bullied, but she told me although she was willingto listen, I mustn’t tell anyone that we had spoken, orwhat she had said. It didn’t really make me feel betterabout things.”18 year old woman, BirminghamA4.4 A whole-school ethos– key milestonesChallenging homophobic bullying takes time.Once decisive action has been taken to tackle it, it isbest practice to keep everyone informed of theprogress made.Governors should consider including references tohomophobic bullying in letters sent to parents/carersabout bullying policies, in any agreements drawn upbetween a school, parents/carers and pupils beforethey are admitted, and in the school prospectus.This does not necessarily mean sending out explicitinformation about homophobic bullying butincluding it when references are made to bullying,and anti-bullying policies. Informing families inthis way ensures that they understand what ishappening and why, which in turn will help fostertheir support.Schools might also consider getting in touchwith their Local Authority to see if they canoffer additional support or provide examples ofbest practice.Schools that acknowledge and communicate thatthey are taking steps to prevent homophobicbullying send a clear message to the community thatthe work being done is positive and important.Schools that do not celebrate or communicate theirplans can look defensive and uncomfortable. It ismore difficult to gain the support of parents andcarers [see B4.10] for this issue if they think there issomething wrong or covert about it.In creating a whole-school ethos which preventshomophobic bullying schools should consider:• Making it clear within the school’s overall ethosor mission statement that all members of theschool community should be able to feel safeand respected


GUIDANCE 23A. Advice for governors• Displaying Helpline information [see Furtherresources] in an appropriate place in secondaryschools (and in line with school policy), ensuringthat it is not removed or defaced• Providing age-appropriate literature [seeFurther resources] that is relevant to theemotional and sexual health of young lesbianand gay people• Revising the anti-bullying policy• Establishing an incident log• Collating feedback requested from both pupilsand staff as to the effectiveness of any new policyor reporting system.A4.5 Multi-agency workingand safeguardingGovernors and schools in general have aresponsibility to safeguard children and youngpeople from harm, including bullying. This meansthat on occasion, schools may want to engage withother agencies in order to protect children and youngpeople from bullying. See Safe to Learn for moreinformation. Governors will also want to be awarethat some voluntary organisations can offer supportto children or young people experiencinghomophobic bullying. Please see the FurtherResources section for more information.This demonstrates that ongoing interest is beingmaintained in the issue and suggestions will beacted upon.“One of the ideas we’ve put into effect immediately is thecreation of a series of oversized posters which sit abovethe reception areas. These make it clear to all who visit,learn and teach that everyone has a right to dignity andto be treated with respect. Sexuality is one of the criteriareferred to.”A teacher’s feedback to EACHAchievements should also regularly be celebratedperhaps through the head, or a local dignitary ora senior police officer commending the school onits achievements.Further national mechanisms also exist that enablea school to develop work to prevent homophobicbullying, and celebrate progress in this area. See Safeto Learn for more information.


24 Safe to Learn: Embedding anti-bullying work in schoolsA5: RespondingA5.1 Responding to homophobicincidentsGovernors have a role in supporting heads [10] indeveloping systems and processes to ensure that arange of interventions, sanctions and systems are inplace to respond to homophobic bullying if it occurs.The first stage in the process of preventinghomophobic bullying is to evaluate the effectivenessof anti-bullying measures already in place andconsider how these can be applied to homophobicbullying. The Education and Inspections Act 2006requires governors to develop a statement ofbehaviour principles. This statement helps the headdevelop policies to respond to incidents of bullying.Although governors are unlikely to be involved inresponding directly to incidents, they still have a rolein helping heads develop effective policies.A ‘hierarchy of sanctions’ helps staff respondeffectively to bullying. Governors can help shape thosesanctions. Governors may want to consider thesequestions when advising on a hierarchy of sanctions:1. How can interventions be designed so thatminor and perhaps unintended instances ofhomophobic bullying can be addressed? Forexample, what sanctions should apply to a pupilusing homophobic language such as “That’sso gay”?3. How can interventions be used if a young personis not lesbian, gay or bisexual but is experiencinghomophobic bullying?4. How might interventions be used for a youngperson who has gay parents or family membersand is experiencing homophobic bullying asa consequence?5. How can interventions escalate when anindividual is experiencing continual homophobicbullying?6. How can the strategy apply to group bullyingagainst an individual?7. How might the school keep parents/carersinformed about incidents if the young person islesbian, gay or bisexual and does not want theirparents to find out?8. When will multiple agencies [see A4.5] beinvolved in incidents?9. How can schools consider incidents that occuroutside school (including cyberbullying) whendeveloping escalation strategies?For more on determining the use of sanctions seeSafe to Learn.2. How can interventions be used whenhomophobic language is used against anindividual? For example, “Pass me the calculatoryou dyke”?


GUIDANCE 25A. Advice for governorsA6: MonitoringA6.1 Monitoring and evaluationRefer to DL3 and DL4 with this sectionMost schools have mechanisms for recordingincidents of bullying, and in particular, racist bullying.Monitoring incidents of bullying enables a schoolto identify patterns of behaviour and the extent ofbullying, and then take pro-active steps to challengeit. The DCSF therefore recommends as best practicethat schools record all incidents of bullying, includinghomophobic bullying. Schools that use monitoringprocesses are able to modify their bullying policiesto respond to specific trends and issues.Incorporating incidents of homophobic bullying intothese existing systems is an invaluable means ofraising awareness about the issue amongst all staff.Good recording procedures allow heads todemonstrate that responses have been made toparticular bullying incidents, which is useful in theevent of a complaint. It also enables heads todemonstrate that they are taking steps to tacklebullying, and to asses which initiatives aremost effective.Governors should also aim to evaluate how theschool is performing in this area. Evaluating progressalso makes it easy to celebrate success and helpsthose involved keep focused and motivated.For more information on data collection see Safeto Learn.In common with racist bullying, however, not allincidents of homophobic bullying will be reported toteachers and staff. Some schools have thereforeincluded questions about homophobic bullying onanonymous pupil surveys. One school found thatsexual orientation (real or perceived) was the secondmost common motivator for bullying (the first wasweight). This insight prompted the school toimplement lessons and group discussions thataddressed the issue of homophobic bullying.


26 Safe to Learn: Embedding anti-bullying work in schools


GUIDANCE 27B. Advice for heads and SMTB. Advice for HEADS ANDSenior management team


28 Safe to Learn: Embedding anti-bullying work in schoolsB1: IntroductionsB1.1 The purpose of this guidanceThis section provides information for heads andthe senior leadership team about their roles andresponsibilities in relation to homophobic bullying.B1.2 why should heads addresshomophobic bullying?Heads have a legal duty to ensure homophobicbullying is dealt with in schools. They are also in thestrongest position to state clearly that homophobicbullying is wrong. Under the Education andInspections Act 2006 heads must determinemeasures to be taken with a view to promoting goodbehaviour, respect for others, and self disciplineamongst pupils, and to prevent all forms of bullying.Ministers have made it clear that this includes theprevention of homophobic bullying. For more onoverall duties to promote the welfare of pupils andto safeguard them see Safe to Learn andwww.teachernet.gov.uk/wholeschool/familyandcommunity/childprotection/guidance/Bullying can cause lasting damage to the self-esteem,happiness and well-being of the children and youngpeople that encounter it. Homophobic bullying canbe particularly difficult for the young people affectedby it and the DCSF is aware that schools find it achallenging area to address. In fact 34% of allcommunications received by the EACH helpline arefrom members of school staff seeking guidance onhow best to deal with the homophobic bullying ofpupils (EACH, 2007, sample 3361).Research 17 indicates that young people whoexperience homophobic bullying are more likely toleave school at 16, often despite being keen tocontinue their studies. Bullying can also be linked topoor attendance with one survey showing that 72%of LGB adults reported a regular history ofabsenteeism at school (Rivers, 2000).As a result homophobic bullying can negativelyaffect a young person’s attainment and future lifechances, and in the most severe cases can lead toyoung people self-harming and contemplatingsuicide. A survey by Rivers in 2000 showed that 53%of adult lesbians and gay men who had been bulliedat school reported contemplating self-harm as aresult, while 40% had gone on to harm themselves.A further study showed that more than 20% hadattempted suicide (Mullen, 1999).A school where any bullying is tolerated creates anunsafe learning and teaching environment for all.Therefore the senior leadership team have explicitresponsibility to ensure that schools respond to andprevent homophobic bullying. It is important that allstaff, at all levels, are aware of the school’s approachto addressing bullying.17www.stonewall.org.uk/schoolreport


GUIDANCE 29B. Advice for heads and SMTB2: The Legal FrameworkLegal duties and government policies:what this means for your schoolThis section sets out the relevant laws and policies inrelation to this topic.Relevant law [see B2.1]Relevant policies [see B2.2]Relevant guidance [see B2.3]Inspections [see B2.4]B2.1 Relevant lawFor general law related to preventing and tacklingbullying please see main text of Safe to Learn.The Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation)Regulations 2003 18These laws protect all staff in a school againstdiscrimination or harassment on the grounds of theirsexual orientation. Discrimination, either direct orindirect, involves treating one person less favourablythan another on the grounds of their sexualorientation. Harassment is unwanted conduct whichviolates a person’s dignity or creates an intimidating,hostile, degrading or humiliating environment. Ifemployers do not take action to stop such behaviouragainst staff they run the risk of legal challenge.The laws also cover perceived sexual orientation (ifsomeone bullies because they think a person islesbian, gay or bisexual even though they are not) orassociation (such as harassing a person over a friendor family member who is lesbian, gay or bisexual).Employers should be aware that they are responsiblefor the actions of their employees, and what peoplemay think of as just “banter” and “having a laugh”can be deemed harassment if it is at the expense ofsomeone else’s dignity. For staff who think they arebeing discriminated against, support is availablethrough channels such as trade unions andprofessional associations [see Further resources].Creating a culture of respect where difference isvalued is important and heads and governorstherefore have a key role in ensuring all members ofstaff, including those who are lesbian, gay or bisexualare treated fairly.The Equality Act 2006 19Part 3 of the Equality Act 2006 gives powers to outlawdiscrimination on the grounds of sexual orientationin the provision of “goods and services”. Regulationsmade under Part 3 came into effect on 30 April 2007and cover public bodies as well as private, andspecifically cover education.In practice it means for instance, that a pupil couldnot be refused entry to a school on the grounds thatthey were, or were thought to be, lesbian or gay, orbecause they had gay relatives. It would also meanthat privileges, such as being a prefect, could not bedenied to lesbian or gay pupils. It also means thatschools that do not treat homophobic bullying withthe same level of seriousness as other forms ofbullying could face legal action.18www.opsi.gov.uk/SI/si2003/20031661.htm19www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts2006/20060003.htm


30 Safe to Learn: Embedding anti-bullying work in schoolsGuidance for schools on their duties andresponsibilities under the Sexual OrientationRegulations can be found at:www.teachernet.gov.uk/wholeschool/equality/sexualorientation/regulations2007/The Regulations should have no effect on theteaching and curriculum in schools, provided thatthe subject of sexual orientation is approached in anappropriate manner in line with existing guidance.Section 28Section 28 of the Local Government Act 1988confused many schools with regards to what couldbe said in relation to lesbian and gay people due toissues around the word “promotion”.Section 28 was repealed in 2003 and is no longerlaw. There are no, and never have been any, legalbarriers to teachers and staff discussing issues aroundsexual orientation in the classroom and respondingto, and preventing, homophobic bullying.B2.2 Relevant policiesEvery Child Matters 20Every Child Matters provides a focus for theeducation sector and the wider children’s workforceto think about supporting children and young peopleto grow into respectful, confident and socially andemotionally healthy adults.Those pupils who may be experiencing homophobicbullying will not be able to meet the outcomes EveryChild Matters requires:• Being healthy: Young people experiencinghomophobic bullying are at risk of suffering fromlow self-esteem, and possibly experiencing mentalhealth issues. They may also take part in risk takingbehaviour.• Staying safe: Young people experiencinghomophobic bullying are at risk from harassment,and physical abuse, and are therefore not beingkept safe.• Enjoying and achieving: A young person who isexperiencing homophobic bullying is less likelyto enjoy school or achieve their full potential.Research suggests they may be reluctant toattend after school activities, or contribute fullyto class in case this draws attention to them.• Achieving economic well-being: A youngperson who experiences homophobic bullyingmay not do as well at school, and may not stay onto study further. Lesbian and gay pupils are morelikely to leave school at 16, even if they do havean interest in continuing their studies.• Making a positive contribution: Young peopleexperiencing homophobic bullying will bediscouraged from making a positive contributionto their school life and to their community.Youth Matters 21Youth Matters is part of Every Child Matters and aimsto ensure that all young adults (14-19) are supportedto achieve the objectives of Every Child Matters.The challenges facing young people, such as “study,money, employment, health, self-esteem andrelationships” can provide additional challenges forlesbian and gay young people. Learning about one’ssexual orientation can however be a positiveexperience if suitable support structures are in place.Since homophobic bullying can lead to an increasedpossibility of self-harm, educationalunderachievement, truancy, homelessness and evensuicide it can prevent the objectives of Youth Mattersbeing met.20http://www.everychildmatters.gov.uk/21www.DCSF.gov.uk/publications/youth/


B2.3 Relevant GuidanceSafe to Learn 22The DCSF’s recently updated overarching guidance toschools, Safe to Learn, provides detailed guidance onhow to tackle all forms of bullying. It includes sectionson establishing a whole-school policy, practicalinterventions, data collection and working withparents/carers to strategically tackle bullying in theclassroom and beyond.Stand Up For Us 23Stand up for us, developed by DCSF and theDepartment of Health in 2004, helps schools challengeand respond to homophobic bullying throughestablishing and delivering a whole school approach.DCSF Sex and Relationship Education Guidance 24DCSF guidance on Sex and Relationship Education(SRE) states that teaching in this area shoulddemonstrate to pupils the importance of stable,loving relationships and respect and care.In discussions about stable relationships,heterosexual and same-sex relationships can bediscussed. The guidance also states that it is forschools to make sure that the needs of all pupils aremet in their SRE. Whatever their developing sexuality,all young people need to feel that SRE is relevant tothem and sensitive to their needs.It is also vital that schools can assure parents/carersthat all SRE is age-specific and context specific.GUIDANCE 31B. Advice for heads and SMTB2.4 InspectionOfsted self-evaluation forms 25The new Ofsted inspection regime is much morefocussed than before with the emphasis on selfevaluation.Bullying is one of the issues that inspectorswill look for in a school and Ofsted are increasinglysensitive to bullying motivated by prejudice.The new forms require schools to evidence ‘how wellequality of opportunity is promoted and discriminationtackled so that all learners achieve their potential’ andto what extent ‘learners feel safe from bullying andracist incidents’. In collecting evidence for the SEF aschool will therefore look to demonstrate the waysin which it tackles all forms of bullying, includinghomophobic bullying.The General Teaching Council in its documentThe Statement of Professional Values and Practice forTeachers supports the importance of maintainingtotal equality of opportunity.“Teachers work within a framework of legislation,statutory guidance and school policies, with differentlines of accountability. Within this framework they placeparticular importance on promoting equality ofopportunity – challenging stereotypes, opposingprejudice, and respecting individuals regardless of age,gender, disability, colour, race, ethnicity, class, religion,marital status or sexual orientation.” 2622www.teachernet.gov.uk/wholeschool/behaviour/tacklingbullying/safetolearn/23www.wiredforhealth.gov.uk/cat.php?catid=1101&docid=770724www.dfes.gov.uk/sreguidance/25www.ofsted.gov.uk/schools/sef.cfm26www.gtce.org.uk/standards/disc/StatementOfProfValues


32 Safe to Learn: Embedding anti-bullying work in schoolsB3: RecognitionB3.1 Homophobic bullying in schools:what does it look like?Refer to DL1, DL27 and DL28 with this sectionHomophobic bullying is a specific form of bullyingand occurs when bullying is motivated by prejudiceagainst lesbian, gay or bisexual people (LGB), oragainst those perceived to be lesbian, gay or bisexual.It can also be targeted towards pupils who are seento be “different” in some other way, for example,because they may be considered shy by other pupils.In this way, a person’s identity is used to abuse themand homophobic bullying can therefore beexperienced by all pupils, regardless of their sexuality.The bullying suffered can include verbal andphysical abuse by an individual or group towards anindividual or group of people. It can consist of:• Verbal abuse such as suggestive remarks,‘teasing’, jokes or name calling• Non-verbal abuse such as mimicry, offensivegestures, or body language• Ignoring or excluding someone because they aregay or lesbian, or thought to be gay or lesbian• Display or distribution of offensive materialor graffiti• Threatened or actual physical abuse or attack• Unwanted physical contact, includingsexual contactHomophobic bullying can occur in primaryand secondary schools and through a rangeof channels.There are some differences in the ways that girls andboys bully. Girls tend to use methods of socialexclusion, particularly rumour spreading, “funnylooks” and ignoring the person being bullied. This canlead to the young woman being attacked feelingexcluded and eventually being isolated and unable tore-integrate herself. If this occurs, she may be morelikely to take part in risk taking behaviour, such asattending adult venues or meeting people online.Boys are more likely to be the victims of physicalbullying. In order to avoid being called ‘gay’, boysmay try to conform to perceived masculinestereotypes. This strengthens the idea that there issuch a thing as ‘gay behaviour’.Whilst many schools are becoming more confidentto deal with bullying motivated by other kinds ofprejudice, such as racist bullying, few have specificmeasures in place, or the confidence to deal with,homophobic bullying. Research conducted on behalfof the DCSF found that only 6% 27 of schools surveyedhad anti-bullying policies that addressedhomophobic bullying. Whilst some more recentresearch suggests this figure may now be around33% 28 in secondary schools, it remains clear that toofew schools make specific mention of bullying of thiskind. Additionally recent results from Stonewall’s TheSchool Report 2007 29 show that 76% of LGB pupilsattend schools where there is no explicit mentionthat homophobic bullying is wrong.• Cyberbullying [see B3.2], including via email,chat-rooms and mobile phones.


GUIDANCE 33B. Advice for heads and SMTThis may in part be due to the fact that homophobicbullying can be difficult to recognise. Many pupilsfind it extremely difficult to admit that they areexperiencing homophobic bullying. This can bebecause they may not want to disclose their sexualityto a member of staff, or because they are not lesbianor gay and/or are embarrassed that they are beingbullied in this way.Some LGB pupils feel that being bullied is inevitableand therefore have no right to report it. Others maynot report the bullying as they are concerned abouthow staff may deal with the problem given thesensitivities involved. As such it cannot be assumedthat where no homophobic bullying has beenreported it is therefore not an issue for that schoolsince, by its nature, homophobic bullying tends tobe covert.“Homophobic language is rife in schools, and nobodyseems to do anything about it.”16 year old boy, BirminghamB3.2 verbal homophobic bullyingRefer to DL12 with this sectionHomophobic language is a common form ofhomophobic bullying. It can be casual and istherefore often dismissed as “harmless banter”.Schools need to take a consistent approach totackling any kind of inappropriate language. Formore information on overall anti-bullying strategiessee DCSF guidance Safe to Learn.Homophobic language and abuse can start inprimary school where pupils may call each other“gay” or “lesbian” without really understanding whatit means. If such usage is not challenged at this stageit can appear acceptable, making it more difficult toaddress in secondary school. Children may alsoexperience verbal bullying because they havea gay parent.“They play with a pack of cards, and one card is the gaycard. Whoever ends up with the card is the ‘gay boy’ forthe day. These boys are 9 years old”.Primary School Teacher, SussexIn secondary school, homophobic language can bemore extensive. Homophobic language can be used:• To describe an inanimate object or item that isthought to be inferior or laughable – “that pencilcase is so gay”• To bully someone who has gay parents or otherfamily members who are gay• To suggest that a person is inferior or laughableor in some way not behaving as they should do –“why do you want to play basketball? Are youa gay?”• To suggest that an action or response is felt to beinappropriate – “I’m not doing the play if I have tohug him, that’s gay”• To intimidate someone or make them feeluncomfortable – “Miss, are you a lesbian?”• To undermine and bully someone by suggestingthat they are gay, including spreading rumoursand malicious gossip• To verbally bully someone who is gay, or who isthought to be gay.27DCSF “Don’t Suffer in Silence”, 2002 (Douglas et al 1999, sample size 307)28Smith, P.K., Smith, C., Osborn, R. & Samara, M. (in press). A content analysis of school anti-bullying policies: Progress and limitations. EducationalPsychology in Practice (2007, sample size 115 primary schools, 27 secondary schools).29Sample, 1,140 (2007)


34 Safe to Learn: Embedding anti-bullying work in schools“Everything is gay. No-one even thinks it is a formof bullying.”14 year old girl, LeicesterPupils may also experience indirect homophobicabuse, not directed towards a particular person orgroup, but used when remarks are made to passnegative judgement, such as ‘your bag is so gay’ or‘that ring tone is gay’. It is important for all staff tochallenge pupils, explaining the consequences ofusing ‘gay’ in a derogatory way. It might be timeconsuming at first, but a consistent “zero-tolerance”approach to such language is central to achievingprogress and an environment in which being gay isnot thought of as being inferior.Direct homophobic abuse is directed towards anindividual or group of pupils, as either a one offincident or repeatedly. A boy who is called ‘poof’ orhears ‘backs to the wall’ when he walks by, or a girlwho is called ‘dyke’ and avoided as she walks throughthe school corridor, will suffer both short and longterm consequences in terms of the harm caused.In both contexts, it is essential to challengehomophobic language. It is the role of governors toensure heads, teachers and other staff feel supportedin doing so.CyberbullyingHomophobic bullying increasingly takes placethrough phone calls, text messaging, picture/videomessaging, e-mail, online message boards, onlinechat rooms and on personal web spaces. Throughmodern technology vicious comments can bemade and rumours spread about a person’ssexual orientation.“They set up a website that had all this stuff on it aboutme being gay… what I’d done, who I’d been with. I wasreally scared my parents would see it.”14 year old girl, LondonSchools need to ensure that they are alert to the risksof cyberbullying and include provision for it withintheir anti-bullying policies. See Safe to Learn.B3.3 Physical homophobic bullyingPhysical abuse can include hitting, punching orkicking. Young people also report that theyexperience vandalism and theft of property, beingthreatened with a weapon, and even death threats.Homophobic physical abuse can also include sexualabuse. Some gay women report that they haveexperienced sexual abuse and humiliation from bothheterosexual women and from men. Some youngpeople who are lesbian or gay feel under pressure tohave sex with someone of the same sex or oppositesex, to “prove” that they really are gay. Some youngpeople are also pressured into having sex withsomeone of the opposite sex in order to “prove” theyare not gay. These pressures are heightened byphysical abuse and pressure from peers. Physicalabuse might indicate that staff need to take steps tosafeguard the pupil.Physical homophobic bullying can affect anyone,regardless of whether or not they are gay, and has tobe challenged and stopped within a school.“On Tuesday we went on a geography field trip. One boythought it would be funny to throw stones and mud atme because I was a filthy gay. I shouted at him to stop,we started fighting. We both got detention but only forthe fighting.”13 year old boy, LondonPrimary school pupils can experience physicalhomophobic bullying, as well as verbal abuse. Thismay involve hitting, kicking or punching but can alsoinvolve inappropriate touching between pupils.These forms of bullying may be motivated by the factthat a child seems “different” in some way. Teachersand staff may not realise that homophobic bullying isplaying a part in the other pupils’ responses.


GUIDANCE 35B. Advice for heads and SMT“I was first beaten up for being “different” when I was 8.The teachers thought it was rough and tumble.”16 year old boy, LondonIn secondary schools, homophobic bullyingcommonly manifests itself in the form of physicalabuse. ChildLine 30 has identified that boys are morethan twice as likely to report being physically bulliedthan girls. Physical homophobic bullying can takemany forms, both sexual and non-sexual. A boy maybe forced to undress in front of other pupils to belaughed at, or may be beaten up. As a result of theembarrassment this kind of bullying causes, manypupils do not report it.“I was coming out of the toilets when a group of girlsstarted giving me grief for being a lesbian. I told them toleave me alone, and then one punched me in the face.I reported it to the teachers but they didn’t sort out theproblem completely so I went to the police.”16 year old girl, LeedsB3.4 who experienceshomophobic bullying?Anyone can experience homophobic bullying:• Young people who are lesbian, gay or bisexual(LGB)• Young people who are thought to be lesbian, gayor bisexual• Young people who are thought to be different insome way, for example, might work hard, or maynot be as good at sport, or may have a particularhobby or interest• Young people who have parents/carers [see B4.9]or friends or family who are lesbian, gay orbisexual• Teachers and other school staff, who may ormay not be lesbian, gay or bisexual.Homophobic bullying can also occur when a bullyuses homophobic language [see A3.2] to describesomething, for example: “Those trainers are so gay”.In this context, the general hurtful action is deliveredin a way that is homophobic.The wide use of ‘gay’ to illustrate ‘something bad’creates a hostile environment at school wheredifference and diversity is not respected.“Homophobic bullying makes me miserable.Nothing else to say really.”14 year old boy, West MidlandsB3.5 who does the bullying and why?There is no one type of person who bullies inthis way.Pupils may justify homophobic bullying because:• They think that lesbian and gay people shouldbe bullied, because they believe gay peopleare “wrong”• They do not think there is anything wrong inbullying someone because of their sexualorientation. This may in part be motivated byan incorrect interpretation of what is taughtby the faith to which they belong• They do not realise that it is bullying• They may have low self-esteem, poorcommunication skills, and were possiblybullied themselves30www.ChildLine.org.uk/extra/homophobicbullyingsurvey.asp


36 Safe to Learn: Embedding anti-bullying work in schools• They think they might be lesbian or gay, and thismakes them uncomfortable and hostile to otherswho are• They think it is acceptable to bully others who donot conform to their “norm”• They think gay parenting is wrong and pupilsshould be treated differently because of it.In addition pupils tend not to intervene in cases ofhomophobic bullying in case the bully thinks thatthey might be gay, or they think that it is ok to be gay.This makes the sense of isolation more profound forthe person being bullied.For more information on the motivations forbullying and strategies to deal with this, pleasesee Safe to Learn.


GUIDANCE 37B. Advice for heads and SMTB4: PreventionB4.1 LeadershipRefer to DL20 with this sectionHeads provide leadership to a school. The heads whodeal most successfully with challenging homophobicbullying make it clear that such abuse is not toleratedwithin their school. Individual teachers and membersof staff cannot undertake this work in isolation: thewhole school should try to be involved. In order forthis to be possible, heads and the senior leadershipteam need to demonstrate clear and unequivocalleadership by recognising the problem and proactivelytaking steps to prevent it. It is not an issuethat can be ignored.“Apparently, we do not have any homophobic bullyingin our school so there is no need to do anything about it.”Secondary school teacher, NewcastleThe most important step is to recognise that all sortsof bullying takes place within a school, and it is likelythat homophobic bullying is also occurring. Researchsuggests that only 6% 31 of schools have a fullyinclusive anti-bullying policy that specificallyaddresses homophobic bullying. Whilst some morerecent research suggests this figure may now bearound 33% 32 in secondary schools, it remains clearthat too few schools make specific mention ofbullying of this kind. 76% of respondents to“Stonewall’s The School Report” 33 attended schoolsthat did not explicitly mention homophobic bullyingin anti-bullying policies. Ignoring the problem createsan unsafe learning environment for all. This sectiondetails ways in which heads and the seniormanagement team can prevent homophobicbullying and develop existing strategies to includehomophobic bullying.B4.2 Roles and responsibilities– who does what?Every member of the school community has aresponsibility to prevent homophobic bullyingand the head should ensure that staff membersunderstand how to deal with incidents should theyoccur. Anti-bullying work should be the explicitresponsibility of an appropriately senior individual orteam within the school. This team or individual willwork closely with other members of the communityto prevent homophobic bullying.The following downloads discuss individual roles inmore detail:Governors [DL 2]Heads [DL19]Teachers and school staff [DL7]Parents/Carers [DL10]31DCSF “Don’t Suffer in Silence”, 2002 (Douglas et al 1999, sample size 307)32Smith, P.K., Smith, C., Osborn, R. & Samara, M. (in press). A content analysis of school anti-bullying policies: Progress and limitations. EducationalPsychology in Practice (2007, sample size 115 primary schools, 27 secondary schools).33Sample, 1,140 (2007)


38 Safe to Learn: Embedding anti-bullying work in schoolsB4.3 Developing policies to be inclusiveRefer to DL3 and DL5 with this sectionAnti-bullying policies will be school specific,depending on pastoral and management structureswithin the school. Heads and governors should beaware of government guidance and legislation[see B2.1] concerning homophobic bullying andconsider the implications of this when drawing upthe anti-bullying policy within their behaviour policy.The key to developing policies relating tohomophobic bullying is to integrate the work intopolicies and plans that are already in place. Withinthese documents it is important to make explicitreference to homophobic bullying. It cannot beassumed that staff, pupils and parents/carers willunderstand that general anti-bullying policies willinclude homophobic bullying.Heads need to consider consulting staff, studentsand parents/carers about changes to policies. Thiswill provide an opportunity to identify any resistanceto taking steps to prevent homophobic bullying andwill also help secure support when changes areimplemented.In reviewing the anti-bullying policy the head willalso want to consider what sanctions are appropriatefor dealing with homophobic bullying, and howincidents will be dealt with.A ‘hierarchy of sanctions’ helps staff respondeffectively to bullying. Heads may want to considerthe following when determining a hierarchy ofsanctions:1. How can interventions be designed so thatminor and perhaps unintended instances ofhomophobic bullying can be addressed. Forexample, what sanctions should apply to a pupilusing homophobic language such as “That’sso gay”?2. How can interventions be used whenhomophobic language is used against anindividual? For example, “Pass me the calculatoryou dyke”?3. How can interventions be used if a young personis not lesbian, gay or bisexual but is experiencinghomophobic bullying?4. How might interventions be used for a youngperson who has gay parents or family membersand is experiencing homophobic bullying as aconsequence?5. How can interventions escalate when anindividual is experiencing continual homophobicbullying?6. How can the strategy apply to group bullyingagainst an individual?7. How might the school keep parents/carersinformed about incidents if the young person islesbian, gay or bisexual and does not want theirparents to find out?8. When will multiple-agencies be involvedin incidents?9. How can schools consider incidents that occuroutside school (including cyberbullying) whendeveloping escalation strategies?For more on determining the use of sanctions seeSafe to Learn.It is important that the policies, practices andprocedures that relate to other forms of bullying(such as racist bullying) are applied equally tohomophobic bullying. As such heads should considerestablishing a homophobic bullying incident log.


GUIDANCE 39B. Advice for heads and SMTThe procedure for dealing with homophobicincidents should be clear and everyone in the schoolshould be familiar with it. The DCSF advises as bestpractice that incidents that are recorded should bereviewed and pupils given appropriate support in thesame way that they would for other forms of bullying.Heads should also consider other policies where itmight be necessary to include homophobic bullying.This might include:• School improvement policies• Equal Opportunities policy• Pupil support and safeguarding policies• Staffing policies• Site policies including before/after school, break,lunchtime and travel management supervisionroutines.B4.4 Staff, pupils, parents and governors– raising awarenessRefer to DL10 and DL7 with this sectionRaising awareness about the issue of homophobicbullying is a key element to preventing it. When dataindicates that homophobic bullying exists in a school,a head has a responsibility to act on that data andtake targeted steps to prevent homophobic bullying.Data and audits about the nature and extent ofhomophobic bullying in schools should be sharedwith governors. Governors can help a head developpolicies and strategies for preventing homophobicbullying. Getting them on board is a crucial aspect ofany prevention plan.Writing to parents/carers about the findings of anyaudit and data collection provides an opportunity toexplain to them that homophobic bullying can affectanyone perceived as different. Engaging the supportof parents and carers from the outset will help answerany concerns they may have about preventinghomophobic bullying and ensure their continuedsupport. Parents/carers can have a positive role toplay in helping to tackle homophobic bullying byengaging children and young people with sensitiveissues at home and ensuring their children and youngpeople understand the concepts of respect andcommunity.Staff should understand the nature and extent ofhomophobic bullying in schools and feel empoweredto respond and prevent it. Staff will feel moreconfident about preventing homophobic bullying ifthe head and governors are clear about itsimportance.Pupils should understand that the school will nottolerate any homophobic bullying and thathomophobic comments and behaviour areprejudiced. If this message is consistent amongst thestaff including the head, the senior team, and theanti-bullying leads, pupils will understand that thewhole school is committed to preventing andresponding to homophobic bullying. Heads canraise awareness through messages in the prospectus,during tutorial time, in anti-bullying policies andthrough curriculum development.B4.5 Using curriculum opportunitiesand developing social and emotionalskillsRefer to DL6, DL21, DL22, DL23 and DL24 withthis sectionSchools should refer to what the guidance on thesexual orientation regulations says about thecurriculum. The guidance can be found at:www.teachernet.gov.uk/sholeschoole/equality/sexualorientation/regulations2007/


40 Safe to Learn: Embedding anti-bullying work in schoolsThe curriculum for any maintained school must bebalanced and broadly based and should promote thespiritual, moral, cultural and cognitive developmentof pupils and prepare them for the opportunities,responsibilities and experiences of adult life. As partof this the school curriculum should promote equalopportunities, enable pupils to challenge discriminationand stereotyping and introduce them to theconcept that any kind of bullying is morally wrong.Through curriculum subjects, including English,Geography, History, Art, Music, Drama, PE, Citizenshipand PSHE opportunities may be provided tointroduce issues around homophobic bullying. Morewidely General Studies and Religious Educationlessons can be used as vehicles for discussing thistopic, although they should not be considered theonly subjects where it is appropriate to raise issuesaround bullying and discrimination. In raising issuesaround religious perspectives it is important todistinguish that bullying behaviour is entirelydifferent from religious belief.SEALThe Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning (SEAL)programme is being implemented in primary schools,and the rollout of SEAL to secondary schools starts inSeptember 2007. Primary SEAL provides a wholecurriculumframework and resource to develop pupils'social and emotional skills, through a whole-schoolapproach. It focuses on five key areas of learning: selfawareness,empathy, managing feelings, motivationand social skills. Developing skills in these areas islikely to help reduce bullying. SEAL helps schools tomeet many of the requirements of the non-statutoryPSHE framework and to acquire National HealthySchool status through its contribution to promotingemotional health and wellbeing.For more information on SEAL please visitwww.teachernet.gov.uk/SEAL or see Safe to Learn.B4.6 Different familiesRefer to DL13 with this sectionThe concept of what constitutes a family has changedover the years. Increasingly families can include:• One parent, either a mother or father• One or two grandparents• One parent, and the partner of a parent (eithersame sex or opposite sex)• Parents who have adopted a child• Siblings from different families and different ages• Parents who live with a child and a parent whodoes not live with the child• Looked after children and young people,including those in long and short-term care.It is likely that some children and young people in aprimary school and secondary school will either have,or know about, same-sex parenting.“My partner, my daughter’s biological father, and I allhave parental responsibility. The school was a bitconfused to begin with but I think my daughterexplained it all to them!”Parent of a primary school pupil, BirminghamChildren and young people can experience bullyingbecause of their family arrangements, regardless ofwhether or not a parent is gay. Some pupils reportthat they experience homophobic bullying becausethey come from a one-parent family, and it isassumed by peers that the parent is gay.Acknowledging and recognising difference infamilies, and ensuring that those differences arenot seen to be inferior, is central to tacklinghomophobic bullying.


GUIDANCE 41B. Advice for heads and SMTPreventing homophobic bullying of this sort relies ona broader and more inclusive approach to discussingfamilies and parents and pupils should understandthat different family structures exist.“All my friends know my mum is a lesbian and she hasa girlfriend. I know I’m not the only one in school either,though I’m probably the most open. I’ve learnt somequick lines if anyone has a go. Most don’t these days.”14 year old girl, LancasterB4.7 Staff development and trainingRefer to DL7 with this sectionUnder the Employment Equality (SexualOrientation) Regulations (2003) [see B2], staff orpotential staff cannot be discriminated against on thegrounds of sexual orientation. This means that duringrecruitment sexual orientation should not be relevantto the appointment. The regulations apply to allforms of employment (including teacher training)and schools must take appropriate action in responseto homophobic actions or comments by any pupils.Under the law, all staff must be protected fromhomophobic bullying (regardless of their sexualorientation) and must feel able to challengehomophobic bullying when it occurs. This meansthat staff should not experience any form of direct orindirect discrimination or victimisation. This meansthat heads have a legal responsibility to protect stafffrom harassment on the grounds of sexualorientation (even if the staff member is not gay).This includes situations when pupils are harassingstaff members.Schools should ensure that all new staff understandthe policies and sanctions that are in place toprevent and respond to homophobic bullying.Schools can make use of recruitment inductiontraining, INSET (including on non-teaching days),training provided by external organisations includingthe Local Authority, the programmes conducted bythe National Strategies, and the wide-range ofresources available, to ensure all staff feel confidentenough to challenge homophobic bullying. A full listof organisations and websites that may help can befound in the Further Resources section.“As a result of dedicated training staff now feel a gooddeal more positive about challenging homophobiclanguage and behaviour not only as and when itpresents itself but also to be proactive in raising the issuein class discussions.”A head-teacher’s comments to EACHAbove all staff members need to feel that they havethe unequivocal support of the senior managementteam and other colleagues when dealing withhomophobic bullying. If a staff member does not feelcompetent in dealing with the issue, they will not bebest able to support the pupils who need their help.Establishing a climate where diversity is celebratedbenefits the entire school community.“I spoke to a teacher about being gay and the fact I wasgetting bullied, but she told me although she was willingto listen, I mustn’t tell anyone that we had spoken, orwhat she had said. It didn’t really make me feel betterabout things.”18 year old woman, BirminghamB4.8 Developing pupil support systemsRefer to DL14, DL15 and DL26 with this sectionIn order to safeguard young people all pupils need tofeel able to report incidents of homophobic bullyingand feel confident that the school will deal with themeffectively. Schools should demonstrate that allmembers of the community will be respected andlistened to regardless of sexual orientation in orderto prevent pupils feeling embarrassed aboutspeaking out.Schools also need to demonstrate that anyone canexperience homophobic bullying, regardless ofwhether or not they are gay.


42 Safe to Learn: Embedding anti-bullying work in schoolsHomophobic bullying is distinct from other forms ofbullying since additional barriers exist to admitting itis occurring. If a pupil is experiencing racist bullying,they may feel able to discuss this with their parentsor carers. Whilst it is desirable for a pupil who isexperiencing homophobic bullying to confide intheir parents/carers, evidence suggests that 75% ofyoung people feel that they are unable to do so asthey may be worried that parents or carers will eitherfind out that they are gay, or assume that they are,even if this is not the case (Source: The SchoolReport).“I’m not gay, but always been rubbish at sports at stuff.My dad already thinks I’m lame. If he found out theother boys call me a poof, it would just prove him rightI reckon.”14 year old boy, CardiffSchools need to develop robust confidentialitypolicies that pupils understand and be able to offerhelp to pupils who are unable to access support athome. In terms of confidentiality, it is important tobear in mind that “coming out” or a disclosure aboutconsensual sexual activity, is not in itself a reason tobreach confidentiality. However, an admission ofbehaviour, which places the young person, or otheryoung people at risk of significant harm, regardlessof their sexuality, may constitute a need to breachconfidence. School confidentiality policies should bein line with local child protection protocols whichreflect the principles of Working Together (2006).Pupils may also be reluctant to use pupil supportsystems for example, peer mentoring systems.All those involved in anti-bullying workshould understand the sensitivities aroundhomophobic bullying.It is important to involve pupils in developing thepolicies in place on homophobic bullying to improveyoung people’s confidence that the school will dealwith the bullying, and to demonstrate to all pupilsthat bullying of this nature will not be tolerated.B4.9 working with pupils who bullyRefer to DL9, DL25 and DL20 with this sectionIf pupils have not previously been taught thathomophobic bullying is wrong, it may take time tomake pupils understand that their behaviour isinappropriate. Although schools can develop andimplement immediate responses to homophobicbullying incidents, schools may also want to developa longer term strategy to help change attitudes.This work is achieved by making use of curriculumopportunities, working in partnership with pupilsto develop policies, and ensuring that pupilsunderstand what sanctions will be applied if theyfail to follow the rules. Discussions and ideas aboutsexual orientation are not shut down. Examiningsexual orientation in a positive, constructive way,rather than just as a response to bullying, helps tacklediscrimination and prejudice, and thus helps preventhomophobic bullying in the future.Some pupils may be reluctant to stop bullyingbecause they think their stance is justified. Thisposition can sometimes be supported by parents/carers. Schools need to be very clear thathomophobic bullying is not tolerated underany circumstances and that sanctions andconsequences apply.B4.10 Working with parents and carersRefer to DL10 with this sectionNo parent or carer wants their child to be bullied.Any young person, whether they are gay or not, canexperience homophobic bullying. Young peoplehowever often do not tell their parents/carers abouthomophobic bullying, because they do not wanttheir parents to think that they are gay.Schools will need to work with parents and carers tohelp prevent homophobic bullying. By working inpartnership, parents/carers will be more aware of theissues around homophobic bullying, and are more


GUIDANCE 43B. Advice for heads and SMTlikely to tell the school if they think their child isexperiencing it. Communicating and consulting withparents/carers about this issue will also helpchallenge any resistance to the subject. Specialconsideration may need to be given with regardshow best to communicate with those caring forlooked after children.Parents/carers, like pupils, may think thathomophobic bullying is acceptable. Schools willwant to consider explaining to parents/carers whathomophobic bullying is, and what strategies thereare in place to prevent it and respond to it. Someparents/carers may assume that if a school ispreventing homophobic bullying, they are thereforediscussing gay sex, or encouraging pupils to be gay.This is not the case, and this needs to be made clearto parents/carers. The DCSF advises that schoolsconsider using vehicles such as the prospectus toemphasise that anti-bullying policies includehomophobic bullying. Letters home about bullyingmay also make reference to homophobic bullying.B4.11 Multi-agency workingand safeguardingHeads have a responsibility to safeguard children andyoung people from harm, including bullying. Thismeans that on occasion, schools may want to engagewith other agencies in order to protect children andyoung people from bullying. See Safe to Learn formore information. Heads will want to be aware thatsome voluntary organisations can offer support tochildren or young people experiencing homophobicbullying. Please see the Further Resources sectionfor more information.B4.12 A whole-school ethos– key milestonesChallenging homophobic bullying takes time.Once decisive action has been taken to tackle it, it isbest practice to keep everyone informed of theprogress made.Schools might also consider getting in touch withtheir Local Authority to see if they can offer additionalsupport or provide examples of best practice.Schools that acknowledge and communicate thatthey are taking steps to prevent homophobicbullying send a clear message to the community thatthe work being done is positive and important.Schools that do not celebrate or communicate theirplans can look defensive and uncomfortable. It ismore difficult to gain the support of parents andcarers for this issue if they think there is somethingwrong or covert about it.In creating a whole-school ethos which preventshomophobic bullying schools should consider:• Making it clear within the school’s overall ethosor mission statement that all members of theschool community should be able to feel safeand respected• Displaying information [see Further resources]around secondary schools and also ensuring thatit is not removed or defaced• Providing age-appropriate literature [seeFurther resources] that is relevant to theemotional and sexual health of young lesbianand gay people• Revising the anti-bullying policy• Establishing an incident log


44 Safe to Learn: Embedding anti-bullying work in schools• Collating feedback requested from both pupilsand staff as to the effectiveness of any new policyor reporting system.This demonstrates that ongoing interest is beingmaintained in the issue and suggestions will beacted upon.“One of the ideas we’ve put into effect immediately is thecreation of a series of oversized posters which sit abovethe reception areas. These make it clear to all who visit,learn and teach that everyone has a right to dignity andto be treated with respect. Sexuality is one of the criteriareferred to.”A teacher’s feedback to EACHThe DCSF advises that achievements should alsoregularly be celebrated perhaps through the head,or a local dignitary or a senior police officercommending the school on its achievements.Further national mechanisms also exist that enablea school to develop work to prevent homophobicbullying, and celebrate progress in this area. See Safeto Learn for more information.


GUIDANCE 45B. Advice for heads and SMTB5: RespondingB5.1 Responding to homophobicincidentsAdopting a “zero-tolerance” approach towardshomophobic bullying is vital. Schools need to make itclear to pupils that homophobic comments are asserious as racist comments, and homophobicincidents are as serious as other forms of bullying.Schools should respond consistently and effectivelyto incidents of homophobic bullying. This willindicate to pupils that incidents are taken seriously,thereby encouraging them to report incidents, anddiscouraging those behind the incidents.Schools will already have procedures in place torespond to incidents of bullying and theseprocedures, where appropriate, should be appliedto incidents of homophobic bullying.Procedures need to aim:• To protect the person experiencinghomophobic bullying• To hold to account the person causing the harm• To repair, as far as possible, relationshipsbetween pupilsPart of these procedures will include helping pupilsunderstand why homophobic bullying isunacceptable. This may mean explaining topupils about lesbian and gay people, and theirrights in society.B5.2 How to respond to verbal incidentsRefer to DL17 and DL17 with this sectionStaff need to feel able to discuss issues ofhomophobic bullying with pupils and parents/carers and deal with incidents quickly and effectivelybefore a situation becomes more serious.Homophobic language is often used withoutthinking and is often ignored because it is difficult toknow how to respond. Homophobic language inschools needs to be challenged because ignoring itallows homophobic bullying to continue to escalate.Any action to challenge homophobic languageneeds to be taken within the framework of theschool’s behaviour policy.“They say gay means lame, and it is nothing to do withhating gays. It doesn’t make me feel like that though”.14 year old boy, LondonThose doing the bullyingStaff should consistently make it clear thathomophobic comments are unacceptable andensure that pupils who experience it feel supported.Staff need to be sensitive when talking to pupilsabout incidents, taking into account the worries thepupil may have.“When we hear homophobic language, we make it clearit is not acceptable: I will not tolerate language like thatin my classroom. If they say it’s just a bit of banter, I makethem write me an essay on why homophobic languageis not acceptable in our schools.”Secondary school teacher, Manchester


46 Safe to Learn: Embedding anti-bullying work in schoolsIf a pupil continues to use homophobic language,staff need to point out the effect that their languagemay be having on other people. This could includeasking the pupil to write why homophobic languageis unacceptable in school.If the pupil still continues to engage in homophobicbullying, they could be spoken to by a seniormember of staff. Schools may also consider givinga detention, ensuring first that parents have beeninformed about this policy and have been given 24hours’ prior notice if the detention occurs before orafter the school day, or at lunchtime.If the problem persists schools may want to considerdirectly contacting parents or carers to discuss theissue, and reminding them about the school’s antibullyingpolicy. In doing so it may also be necessaryto explain to the parents or carers why homophobiclanguage is unacceptable.For more on the use of sanctions see Safe to Learnand School Discipline and Pupil Behaviour Policies:Guidance for Schools.Those on the receiving endIt is important to create a secure time and spacewhere pupils can report incidents. It is essential thatwhen a young person is reporting an incident orincidents, the staff member does not assume thepupil is either gay or heterosexual. Staff should listencarefully to the young person’s experience, and workwith them to identify appropriate responses. Theschool’s anti-bullying policy and ‘hierarchy ofsanctions’ should form the basis of the response.If a pupil knows that staff will respond to verbalbullying with sensitivity, they may feel morecomfortable about discussing other issues (includingissues relating to sexual orientation).When dealing with homophobic verbal abuse inprimary schools staff need to take account of thefact the motivations for using such language arelikely to be different and should therefore respondaccordingly.“We hear “gay” as a term of abuse every single day.The children may not know exactly what it means, butthey know they are using it as an insult. That’s why weneed to tackle it at this stage. ”Primary School Head Teacher, North EastB5.3 Responding to physical incidentsRefer to DL18 with this sectionLike verbal abuse, pupils may be reluctant to reportincidents because they fear that staff will assumethey are gay. Physical abuse can indicate a youngperson is at risk, and the overarching strategies thatare implemented to safeguard pupils might beappropriate in this context, for example working withother agencies, including (if necessary) the police.Homophobic violence can be a crime. Anti-bullyingpolicies should be rigorously enforced in order tokeep pupils safe from physical abuse.Teachers and other staff members should refer tothe anti-bullying policy and the ‘hierarchy ofsanctions’ when responding to homophobicbullying. In particularly severe circumstances theschool should consider permanent exclusion.The Department’s guidance on exclusions 2006states:“A decision to exclude a pupil should be taken only:a) in response to serious breaches of the schoolsbehaviour policy; andb) if allowing the pupil to remain in school wouldseriously harm the education or welfare of the pupilor others in the school.”


GUIDANCE 47B. Advice for heads and SMTOnly the head or teacher in charge of a Pupil ReferralUnit (or, in the absence of the head or teacher incharge, the most senior teacher who is acting in thatrole) can exclude a pupil.The guidance further states:“In cases where a head has permanently excludeda pupil for: … persistent and defiant misbehaviour,including bullying (which would include racist orhomophobic bullying), or repeated possession and/or use of an illegal drug on school premises, theSecretary of State would not normally expect thegoverning body or an Independent Appeal Panel toreinstate the pupil.” 34• Recommending other resources, such as localyouth groups and websites.“My teacher told me that we have to all make choicesand some choices are bad choices and some choices aregood choices. She made it clear that I was about tomake a bad choice.”15 year old girl, CumbriaStaff who respond negatively to pupils who come outcan compound the sense of isolation that a youngperson may be experiencing. Pupils may be reluctantto tell anyone else, and will not feel able to reportincidents of homophobic bullying if this occurs.Note this guidance is due to be updated Summer 2007when the wording may change slightly.B5.4 Supporting lesbian, gay andbisexual pupilsRefer to DL14, DL15 and DL17 with this sectionIf pupils receive a supportive reaction from staff,they are more likely to feel able to tell someoneabout incidents of homophobic bullying. Staffshould feel comfortable enough to deal witha situation where a pupil comes out to them.Staff should consider therefore:• Listening and being supportive• Discussing how parents and carers mightrespond• Telling pupils their confidentiality will berespected, and pointing out the circumstanceswhen this may not be possible• Asking them how they would like to proceed34Source: www.teachernet.gov.uk/wholeschool/behaviour/exclusion/guidance/part1/


48 Safe to Learn: Embedding anti-bullying work in schoolsB6: MonitoringB6.1 Monitoring and evaluationRefer to DL3 and DL4 with this sectionMost schools have mechanisms for recordingincidents of bullying, and in particular, racist bullying.Monitoring incidents of bullying enables a schoolto identify patterns of behaviour and the extent ofbullying, and then take pro-active steps to challengeit. The DCSF therefore recommends as best practicethat schools record all incidents of bullying, includinghomophobic bullying. Schools that use monitoringprocesses are able to modify their bullying policiesto respond to specific trends and issues.Incorporating incidents of homophobic bullying intothese existing systems is an invaluable means ofraising awareness about the issue amongst all staff.In common with racist bullying, however, not allincidents of homophobic bullying will be reported toteachers and staff. Some schools have thereforeincluded questions about homophobic bullying onanonymous pupil surveys. One school found thatsexual orientation (real or perceived) was the secondmost common motivator for bullying (the first wasweight). This insight prompted the school toimplement lessons and group discussions thataddressed the issue of homophobic bullying.Heads can also use existing informal mechanisms forreporting bullying, such as report boxes. Heads canalso ask their staff whether they have witnessedhomophobic bullying. Studies 35 indicate that one infour secondary school teachers is aware of physicalhomophobic bullying and four in five are aware ofverbal homophobic bullying. Schools will havedeveloped systems for collecting data relating toincidents of racist bullying. These systems can beapplied to homophobic bullying.Good recording procedures allow heads todemonstrate that responses have been made toparticular bullying incidents, which is useful in theevent of a complaint. It also enables heads todemonstrate that they are taking steps to tacklebullying, and to assess if new initiatives are effective.Evaluating progress also makes it easy to celebratesuccess and helps those involved keep focused andmotivated. Heads should aim to evaluate progress ona termly basis, and report back to governors regularly.This will help governors think about the progress thatis being made, and what is left to be done.For more information on data collection see Safeto Learn.35www.stonewall.org.uk/educationforall


GUIDANCE 49C. Advice for teachers and school staffC. Advice for Teachersand School Staff


50 Safe to Learn: Embedding anti-bullying work in schoolsC1: IntroductionsC1.1 The purpose of this guidanceThis section provides information for teachers andsupport staff about their roles and responsibilities inrelation to homophobic bullying.C1.2 why should school staff addresshomophobic bullying?Teachers and school staff are most likely to see, andbe in a position to respond to, incidents ofhomophobic bullying. Schools have a legal duty torespond to bullying and under the Education andInspections Act 2006 Heads must determinemeasures to be taken with a view to promoting goodbehaviour, respect for others, and self disciplineamongst pupils, and to prevent all forms of bullying.Ministers have made it clear that this includeshomophobic bullying. For more on overall duties topromote the welfare of pupils and to safeguard themsee Safe to Learn and www.teachernet.gov.uk/wholeschool/familyandcommunity/childprotection/guidance/Bullying can cause lasting damage to the self-esteem,happiness and well-being of the children and youngpeople that encounter it. Homophobic bullying canbe particularly difficult for the young people affectedby it and the DCSF is aware that schools find it achallenging area to address. In fact 34% of allcommunications received by the EACH helpline arefrom members of school staff seeking guidance onhow best to deal with the homophobic bullying ofpupils (EACH, 2007, sample 3361).Research 36 indicates that young people whoexperience homophobic bullying are more likely toleave school at 16, often despite being keen tocontinue their studies. Bullying can also be linked topoor attendance with one survey showing that 72%of LGB adults reported a regular history ofabsenteeism at school (Rivers, 2000).As a result homophobic bullying can negativelyaffect a young person’s attainment and future lifechances, and in the most severe cases can lead toyoung people self-harming and contemplatingsuicide. A survey by Rivers in 2000 showed that 53%of adult lesbians and gay men who had been bulliedat school reported contemplating self-harm as aresult, while 40% had gone on to harm themselves.A further study showed that more than 20% hadattempted suicide (Mullen, 1999).A school where any bullying is tolerated creates anunsafe learning and teaching environment for all.Therefore the senior leadership team have explicitresponsibility to ensure that schools respond to andprevent homophobic bullying. It is important that allstaff, at all levels, are aware of the school’s approachto addressing bullying.36www.stonewall.org.uk/schoolreport


GUIDANCE 51C. Advice for teachers and school staffC2: The Legal FrameworkLegal duties and government policies:what this means for your schoolThis section sets out the relevant laws and policies inrelation to this topic.Relevant law [see C2.1]Relevant policies [see C2.2]Relevant guidance [see C2.3]Inspections [see C2.4]C2.1 Relevant lawFor general law related to preventing and tacklingbullying please see main text of Safe to Learn.The Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation)Regulations 2003 37These laws protect all staff in a school againstdiscrimination or harassment on the grounds of theirsexual orientation. Discrimination, either direct orindirect, involves treating one person less favourablythan another on the grounds of their sexualorientation. Harassment is unwanted conduct whichviolates a person’s dignity or creates an intimidating,hostile, degrading or humiliating environment. Ifemployers do not take action to stop such behaviouragainst staff they run the risk of legal challenge. Thelaws also cover perceived sexual orientation (ifsomeone bullies because they think a person islesbian, gay or bisexual even though they are not) orassociation (such as harassing a person over a friendor family member who is lesbian, gay or bisexual).Employers should be aware that they are responsiblefor the actions of their employees, and what peoplemay think of as just “banter” and “having a laugh”can be deemed harassment if it is at the expense ofsomeone else’s dignity. For staff who think they arebeing discriminated against, support is availablethrough channels such as trade unions andprofessional associations [see Further resources].Creating a culture of respect where difference isvalued is important and heads and governorstherefore have a key role In ensuring all members ofstaff, including those who are lesbian, gay or bisexualare treated fairly.The Equality Act 2006 38Part 3 of the Equality Act 2006 gives powers to outlawdiscrimination on the grounds of sexual orientationin the provision of “goods and services”. Regulationsmade under Part 3 came into effect on 30 April 2007and cover public bodies as well as private, andspecifically cover education.In practice it means for instance, that a pupil couldnot be refused entry to a school on the grounds thatthey were, or were thought to be, lesbian or gay, orbecause they had gay relatives. It would also meanthat privileges, such as being a prefect, could not bedenied to lesbian or gay pupils. It also means thatschools that do not treat homophobic bullying withthe same level of seriousness as other forms ofbullying could face legal action.37www.opsi.gov.uk/SI/si2003/20031661.htm38www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts2006/20060003.htm


52 Safe to Learn: Embedding anti-bullying work in schoolsGuidance for schools on their duties andresponsibilities under the Sexual OrientationRegulations can be found at:www.teachernet.gov.uk/wholeschool/equality/sexualorientation/regulations2007/The Regulations should have no effect on theteaching and curriculum in schools, provided thatthe subject of sexual orientation is approached in anappropriate manner in line with existing guidance.Section 28Section 28 of the Local Government Act 1988confused many schools with regards to what couldbe said in relation to lesbian and gay people due toissues around the word “promotion”.Section 28 was repealed in 2003 and is no longerlaw. There are no, and never have been any, legalbarriers to teachers and staff discussing issues aroundsexual orientation in the classroom and respondingto, and preventing, homophobic bullying.C2.2 Relevant policiesEvery Child Matters 39Every Child Matters provides a focus for theeducation sector and the wider children’s workforceto think about supporting children and young peopleto grow into respectful, confident and socially andemotionally healthy adults.Those pupils who may be experiencing homophobicbullying will not be able to meet the outcomes EveryChild Matters requires:• Being healthy: Young people experiencinghomophobic bullying are at risk of suffering fromlow self-esteem, and possibly experiencing mentalhealth issues. They may also take part in risk takingbehaviour.• Staying safe: Young people experiencinghomophobic bullying are at risk from harassment,and physical abuse, and are therefore not beingkept safe.• Enjoying and achieving: A young person who isexperiencing homophobic bullying is less likelyto enjoy school or achieve their full potential.Research suggests they may be reluctant toattend after school activities, or contribute fullyto class in case this draws attention to them.• Achieving economic well-being: A youngperson who experiences homophobic bullyingmay not do as well at school, and may not stay onto study further. Lesbian and gay pupils are morelikely to leave school at 16, even if they do havean interest in continuing their studies.• Making a positive contribution: Young peopleexperiencing homophobic bullying will bediscouraged from making a positive contributionto their school life and to their community.Youth Matters 40Youth Matters is part of Every Child Matters and aimsto ensure that all young adults (14-19) are supportedto achieve the objectives of Every Child Matters.The challenges facing young people, such as “study,money, employment, health, self-esteem andrelationships” can provide additional challenges forlesbian and gay young people. Learning about one’ssexual orientation can however be a positiveexperience if suitable support structures are in place.Since homophobic bullying can lead to an increasedpossibility of self-harm, educationalunderachievement, truancy, homelessness and evensuicide it can prevent the objectives of Youth Mattersbeing met.39http://www.everychildmatters.gov.uk/40www.DCSF.gov.uk/publications/youth/


GUIDANCE 53C. Advice for teachers and school staffC2.3 Relevant GuidanceC2.4 InspectionSafe to Learn 41The DCSF’s recently updated overarching guidance toschools, Safe to Learn, provides detailed guidance onhow to tackle all forms of bullying. It includes sectionson establishing a whole-school policy, practicalinterventions, data collection and working withparents/carers to strategically tackle bullying in theclassroom and beyond.Stand Up For Us 42Stand up for us, developed by DCSF and theDepartment of Health in 2004, helps schools challengeand respond to homophobic bullying throughestablishing and delivering a whole school approach.DCSF Sex and Relationship Education Guidance 43DCSF guidance on Sex and Relationship Education(SRE) states that teaching in this area shoulddemonstrate to pupils the importance of stable,loving relationships and respect and care.In discussions about stable relationships,heterosexual and same-sex relationships can bediscussed. The guidance also states that it is forschools to make sure that the needs of all pupils aremet in their SRE. Whatever their developing sexuality,all young people need to feel that SRE is relevant tothem and sensitive to their needs.It is also vital that schools can assure parents/carersthat all SRE is age-specific and context specific.Ofsted self-evaluation forms 44The new Ofsted inspection regime is much morefocussed than before with the emphasis on selfevaluation.Bullying is one of the issues that inspectorswill look for in a school and Ofsted are increasinglysensitive to bullying motivated by prejudice.The new forms require schools to evidence ‘how wellequality of opportunity is promoted and discriminationtackled so that all learners achieve their potential’ andto what extent ‘learners feel safe from bullying andracist incidents’. In collecting evidence for the SEF aschool will therefore look to demonstrate the waysin which it tackles all forms of bullying, includinghomophobic bullying.The General Teaching Council in its documentThe Statement of Professional Values and Practice forTeachers supports the importance of maintainingtotal equality of opportunity.“Teachers work within a framework of legislation,statutory guidance and school policies, with differentlines of accountability. Within this framework they placeparticular importance on promoting equality ofopportunity – challenging stereotypes, opposingprejudice, and respecting individuals regardless of age,gender, disability, colour, race, ethnicity, class, religion,marital status or sexual orientation.” 4541www.teachernet.gov.uk/wholeschool/behaviour/tacklingbullying/safetolearn/42www.wiredforhealth.gov.uk/cat.php?catid=1101&docid=770743www.dfes.gov.uk/sreguidance/44www.ofsted.gov.uk/schools/sef.cfm45www.gtce.org.uk/standards/disc/StatementOfProfValues


54 Safe to Learn: Embedding anti-bullying work in schoolsC3: RecognitionC3.1 Homophobic bullying in schools:what does it look like?Refer to DL1, DL27 and DL28 with this sectionHomophobic bullying is a specific form of bullyingand occurs when bullying is motivated by prejudiceagainst lesbian, gay or bisexual people (LGB), oragainst those perceived to be lesbian, gay or bisexual.It can also be targeted towards pupils who are seento be “different” in some other way, for example,because they may be considered shy by other pupils.In this way, a person’s identity is used to abusethem and homophobic bullying can therefore beexperienced by all pupils, regardless of their sexuality.The bullying suffered can include verbal andphysical abuse by an individual or group towards anindividual or group of people. It can consist of:• Verbal abuse such as suggestive remarks,‘teasing’, jokes or name calling• Non-verbal abuse such as mimicry, offensivegestures, or body language• Ignoring or excluding someone because they aregay or lesbian, or thought to be gay or lesbian• Display or distribution of offensive materialor graffiti• Threatened or actual physical abuse or attack• Unwanted physical contact, includingsexual contactHomophobic bullying can occur in primaryand secondary schools and through a rangeof channels.There are some differences in the ways that girls andboys bully. Girls tend to use methods of socialexclusion, particularly rumour spreading, “funnylooks” and ignoring the person being bullied. This canlead to the young woman being attacked feelingexcluded and eventually being isolated and unable tore-integrate herself. If this occurs, she may be morelikely to take part in risk taking behaviour, such asattending adult venues or meeting people online.Boys are more likely to be the victims of physicalbullying. In order to avoid being called ‘gay’, boysmay try to conform to perceived masculinestereotypes. This strengthens the idea that there issuch a thing as ‘gay behaviour’.Whilst many schools are becoming more confidentto deal with bullying motivated by other kinds ofprejudice, such as racist bullying, few have specificmeasures in place, or the confidence to deal with,homophobic bullying. Research conducted onbehalf of the DCSF found that only 6% 46 of schoolssurveyed had anti-bullying policies that addressedhomophobic bullying. Whilst some more recentresearch suggests this figure may now be around33% 47 in secondary schools, it remains clear that toofew schools make specific mention of bullying of thiskind. Additionally recent results from Stonewall’s TheSchool Report 2007 48 show that 76% of LGB pupilsattend schools where there is no explicit mentionthat homophobic bullying is wrong.• Cyberbullying [14.1], including via email, chatroomsand mobile phones.


GUIDANCE 55C. Advice for teachers and school staffThis may in part be due to the fact that homophobicbullying can be difficult to recognise. Many pupilsfind it extremely difficult to admit that they areexperiencing homophobic bullying. This can bebecause they may not want to disclose their sexualityto a member of staff, or because they are not lesbianor gay and/or are embarrassed that they are beingbullied in this way.Some LGB pupils feel that being bullied is inevitableand therefore have no right to report it. Others maynot report the bullying as they are concerned abouthow staff may deal with the problem given thesensitivities involved. As such it cannot be assumedthat where no homophobic bullying has beenreported it is therefore not an issue for that schoolsince, by its nature, homophobic bullying tends tobe covert.“Homophobic language is rife in schools, and nobodyseems to do anything about it.”16 year old boy, BirminghamC3.2 verbal homophobic bullyingRefer to DL12 with this sectionHomophobic language is a common form ofhomophobic bullying. It can be casual and istherefore often dismissed as “harmless banter”.Schools need to take a consistent approach totackling any kind of inappropriate language.For more information on overall anti-bullyingstrategies see DCSF guidance Safe to Learn.Homophobic language and abuse can start inprimary school where pupils may call each other“gay” or “lesbian” without really understanding whatit means. If such usage is not challenged at this stageit can appear acceptable, making it more difficult toaddress in secondary school. Children may alsoexperience verbal bullying because they havea gay parent.“They play with a pack of cards, and one card is the gaycard. Whoever ends up with the card is the ‘gay boy’ forthe day. These boys are 9 years old”.Primary School Teacher, SussexIn secondary school, homophobic language can bemore extensive. Homophobic language can be used:• To describe an inanimate object or item that isthought to be inferior or laughable – “that pencilcase is so gay”• To bully someone who has gay parents or otherfamily members who are gay• To suggest that a person is inferior or laughableor in some way not behaving as they should do –“why do you want to play basketball? Are youa gay?”• To suggest that an action or response is felt to beinappropriate – “I’m not doing the play if I have tohug him, that’s gay”• To intimidate someone or make them feeluncomfortable – “Miss, are you a lesbian?”• To undermine and bully someone by suggestingthat they are gay, including spreading rumoursand malicious gossip• To verbally bully someone who is gay, or who isthought to be gay.“Everything is gay. No-one even thinks it is a formof bullying.”14 year old girl, Leicester46DCSF “Don’t Suffer in Silence”, 2002 (Douglas et al 1999, sample size 307)47Smith, P.K., Smith, C., Osborn, R. & Samara, M. (in press). A content analysis of school anti-bullying policies: Progress and limitations. EducationalPsychology in Practice (2007, sample size 115 primary schools, 27 secondary schools).48Sample, 1,140 (2007)


56 Safe to Learn: Embedding anti-bullying work in schoolsPupils may also experience indirect homophobicabuse, not directed towards a particular person orgroup, but used when remarks are made to passnegative judgement, such as ‘your bag is so gay’ or‘that ring tone is gay’. It is important for all staff tochallenge pupils, explaining the consequences ofusing ‘gay’ in a derogatory way. It might be timeconsuming at first, but a consistent “zero-tolerance”approach to such language is central to achievingprogress and an environment in which being gay isnot thought of as being inferior.Direct homophobic abuse is directed towards anindividual or group of pupils, as either a one offincident or repeatedly. A boy who is called ‘poof’ orhears ‘backs to the wall’ when he walks by, or a girlwho is called ‘dyke’ and avoided as she walks throughthe school corridor, will suffer both short and longterm consequences in terms of the harm caused.In both contexts, it is essential to challengehomophobic language. It is the role of governors toensure heads, teachers and other staff feel supportedin doing so.CyberbullyingHomophobic bullying increasingly takes placethrough phone calls, text messaging, picture/videomessaging, e-mail, online message boards, onlinechat rooms and on personal web spaces. Throughmodern technology vicious comments can bemade and rumours spread about a person’ssexual orientation.“They set up a website that had all this stuff on it aboutme being gay… what I’d done, who I’d been with. I wasreally scared my parents would see it.”14 year old girl, LondonSchools need to ensure that they are alert to the risksof cyberbullying and include provision for it withintheir anti-bullying policies. See Safe to Learn.C3.3 Physical homophobic bullyingPhysical abuse can include hitting, punching orkicking. Young people also report that theyexperience vandalism and theft of property, beingthreatened with a weapon, and even death threats.Homophobic physical abuse can also include sexualabuse. Some gay women report that they haveexperienced sexual abuse and humiliation from bothheterosexual women and from men. Some youngpeople who are lesbian or gay feel under pressure tohave sex with someone of the same sex or oppositesex, to “prove” that they really are gay. Some youngpeople are also pressured into having sex withsomeone of the opposite sex in order to “prove”they are not gay. These pressures are heightened byphysical abuse and pressure from peers. Physicalabuse might indicate that staff need to take steps tosafeguard the pupil.Physical homophobic bullying can affect anyone,regardless of whether or not they are gay, and has tobe challenged and stopped within a school.“On Tuesday we went on a geography field trip. One boythought it would be funny to throw stones and mud atme because I was a filthy gay. I shouted at him to stop,we started fighting. We both got detention but only forthe fighting.”13 year old boy, LondonPrimary school pupils can experience physicalhomophobic bullying, as well as verbal abuse. Thismay involve hitting, kicking or punching but can alsoinvolve inappropriate touching between pupils.These forms of bullying may be motivated by the factthat a child seems “different” in some way. Teachersand staff may not realise that homophobic bullying isplaying a part in the other pupils’ responses.“I was first beaten up for being “different” when I was 8.The teachers thought it was rough and tumble.”16 year old boy, London


GUIDANCE 57C. Advice for teachers and school staffIn secondary schools, homophobic bullyingcommonly manifests itself in the form of physicalabuse. ChildLine 49 has identified that boys are morethan twice as likely to report being physically bulliedthan girls. Physical homophobic bullying can takemany forms, both sexual and non-sexual. A boy maybe forced to undress in front of other pupils to belaughed at, or may be beaten up. As a result of theembarrassment this kind of bullying causes, manypupils do not report it.“I was coming out of the toilets when a group of girlsstarted giving me grief for being a lesbian. I told them toleave me alone, and then one punched me in the face.I reported it to the teachers but they didn’t sort out theproblem completely so I went to the police.”16 year old girl, LeedsC3.4 Who experienceshomophobic bullying?Anyone can experience homophobic bullying:• Young people who are lesbian, gay or bisexual(LGB)• Young people who are thought to be lesbian, gayor bisexual• Young people who are thought to be different insome way, for example, might work hard, or maynot be as good at sport, or may have a particularhobby or interest• Young people who have parents/carers [15.10] orfriends or family who are lesbian, gay or bisexual• Teachers and other school staff, who may ormay not be lesbian, gay or bisexual.Homophobic bullying can also occur when a bullyuses homophobic language [see A3.2] to describesomething, for example: “Those trainers are so gay”.In this context, the general hurtful action is deliveredin a way that is homophobic.The wide use of ‘gay’ to illustrate ‘something bad’creates a hostile environment at school wheredifference and diversity is not respected.“Homophobic bullying makes me miserable.Nothing else to say really.”14 year old boy, West MidlandsC3.5 who does the bullying and why?There is no-one type of person who bullies inthis way.Pupils may justify homophobic bullying because:• They think that lesbian and gay people shouldbe bullied, because they believe gay peopleare “wrong”• They do not think there is anything wrong inbullying someone because of their sexualorientation. This may in part be motivated by anincorrect interpretation of what is taught by thefaith to which they belong• They do not realise that it is bullying• They may have low self-esteem, poorcommunication skills, and were possibly bulliedthemselves• They think they might be lesbian or gay, and thismakes them uncomfortable and hostile to otherswho are• They think it is acceptable to bully others who donot conform to their “norm”49www.ChildLine.org.uk/extra/homophobicbullyingsurvey.asp


58 Safe to Learn: Embedding anti-bullying work in schools• They think gay parenting is wrong and pupilsshould be treated differently because of it.In addition pupils tend not to intervene in cases ofhomophobic bullying in case the bully thinks thatthey might be gay, or they think that it is ok to be gay.This makes the sense of isolation more profound forthe person being bullied.For more information on the motivations forbullying and strategies to deal with this, pleasesee Safe to Learn.


GUIDANCE 59C. Advice for teachers and school staffC4: PreventionC4.1 LeadershipRefer to DL29 with this sectionPreventing homophobic bullying is a long termstrategy to eradicate it from schools. Responding toincidents is important, but teachers and school staffhave a responsibility to provide on-going informationto pupils and parents/carers about homophobicbullying, the effect that it has on pupils, and theconsequences of bullying. Pupils will be more likelyto understand that homophobic bullying isunacceptable if this is visible throughout the ethos ofthe school. Reiterating the message after an incidentwill only have a limited impact.Staff should also feel protected [21] from bullying.Preventing homophobic bullying will also thereforehave an impact on pupil attitudes to staff, and helpprevent future incidents of bullying.Further information about how to integratehomophobic bullying into wider approaches tobullying can be found in Safe to Learn.C4.2 How to introduce the issue ofhomophobic bullyingRefer to DL20 with this sectionHeads and the senior leadership team (includingthose with strategic responsibility for anti-bullyingwork) will have developed general strategies forpreventing homophobic bullying. This will includethe school anti-bullying policy which, Departmentalguidance suggests, should be re-communicated toall members of staff, parents/carers and pupils atleast once a year. Giving students and staff anopportunity to comment on the school’s approachto dealing with homophobic bullying ensures theissue is kept alive and understanding is maintained.Schools can also use occasions such as national Anti-Bullying Week (November) to facilitate discussion andraise awareness about the topic. Other opportunitiesfor incorporating prevention work are discussedwithin the following sections.Some staff members can feel nervous aboutintroducing issues related to homophobic bullyingwith pupils. It can be helpful in these situations if staffbear in mind the following three points:That regardless of what a pupil thinks about gaypeople, no-one deserves to be bullied.That gay people are entitled to equal rights in the UK,and will be protected from bullying of any sort.That homophobic bullying is unacceptable in anycontext, even if it is being used against heterosexualpeople.C4.3 How to discuss issues aroundhomophobic languageRefer to DL12 with this sectionHomophobic language is often used withoutthinking and is often ignored because it is difficult toknow how to respond. Homophobic language isoften dismissed as “harmless banter” and notthought to be particularly hurtful. Homophobiclanguage in schools needs to be challenged becauseignoring it allows homophobic bullying in general tocontinue to escalate.


60 Safe to Learn: Embedding anti-bullying work in schoolsHomophobic language should be challengedwithin a general programme of work that theschool undertakes to tackle the problem ofhomophobic bullying, including negative attitudestowards lesbian, gay and bisexual people. It is nota singular response to the difficulties that arise.Any action to challenge homophobic languageshould be taken within the framework of theschool’s behaviour policy.“They say gay means lame, and it is nothing to do withhating gays. It doesn’t make me feel like that though”.14 year old boy, LondonStaff should consistently make it clear thathomophobic comments are unacceptable andensure that pupils who experience it feel supported.Staff will need to be sensitive when talking to pupilsabout incidents. They may be gay but not know howto tell someone that, or may be concerned thatparents/carers will be involved.“When we hear homophobic language, we make it clearit is not acceptable: I will not tolerate language like thatin my classroom. If they say it’s just a bit of banter, I makethem write me an essay on why homophobic languageis not acceptable in our schools.”Secondary school teacher, ManchesterIf a pupil continues to use homophobic language,they need to understand the effect that theirlanguage has on other people. This could includeasking the pupil to write why homophobic languageis unacceptable in school. If the pupil continues to behomophobic, they could be spoken to by a seniormanager. A pupil may be given detention, but parentswill need to have been informed about this policy andbe given 24 hours’ prior notice if the detention occursbefore or after the school day, or at lunchtime.If a pupil continues to be bully others, schools maywant to consider contacting parents or carers todiscuss the issue and problem with them andreminding them about the school’s anti-bullyingpolicy. Parents/carers also need to understand whyhomophobic language is unacceptable.Sharing information with pupils and parents/carersis central to ensuring that they understand why theirbehaviour is unacceptable. Homophobic languageis often used in ignorance, and therefore educationis crucial.For more information on sanctions see Safe to Learnand School Discipline and Pupil Behaviour Policies:Guidance for Schools.C4.4 Using curriculum opportunitiesRefer to DL6, DL21, DL22, DL23 and DL24 withthis sectionSchools should refer to what the guidance on thesexual orientation regulations says about thecurriculum. The guidance can be found at:www.teachernet.gov.uk/sholeschoole/equality/sexualorientation/regulations2007/The key to tackling prejudice-driven bullying is toprovide opportunities for pupils to think, understandand challenge their own prejudice.Through curriculum subjects, including English,Geography, History, Art, Music, Drama, PE, Citizenshipand PSHE opportunities may be provided tointroduce issues around homophobic bullying. Morewidely General Studies and Religious Educationlessons can be used as vehicles for discussing thistopic, although they should not be considered theonly subjects where it is appropriate to raise issuesaround bullying and discrimination. In raising issuesaround religious perspectives it is important todistinguish that bullying behaviour is entirelydifferent from religious belief.Citizenship and PSHE classes provide an ideal time totalk about different families and look at the effectsof bullying, as well as to discuss inappropriatelanguage and prejudice.


GUIDANCE 61C. Advice for teachers and school staffTeaching about sexual orientation does not meanteaching about sex or sexual activity. Instead, it isabout teaching pupils about difference and diversity.Teaching about sexual orientation, and bullying, willprevent homophobic bullying.C4.5 How to discuss different familiesRefer to DL13 with this sectionThe concept of what constitutes a family has changedover the years. Increasingly families can include:• One parent, either a mother or father• One or two grandparents• One parent, and the partner of a parent (eithersame sex or opposite sex)• Parents who have adopted a child• Siblings from different families and different ages• Parents who live with a child and a parent whodoes not live with the child• Looked after children, including those in longand short-term care.It is likely that some children and young people in aprimary school and secondary school will either have,or know about, same-sex parenting.“My partner, my daughter’s biological father, and I allhave parental responsibility. The school was a bitconfused to begin with but I think my daughterexplained it all to them!”Parent of a Primary School Pupil, BirminghamChildren and young people can experience bullyingbecause of their family arrangements, regardless ofwhether or not a parent is gay. Some pupils reportthat they experience homophobic bullying becausethey come from a one-parent family, and it isassumed by peers that the parent is gay.Acknowledging and recognising differencein families, and ensuring that those differencesare not seen to be inferior, is key to tacklinghomophobic bullying.Preventing homophobic bullying of this sort relies ona broader and more inclusive approach to discussingfamilies and parents. Pupils should understand thatdifferent family structures exist.“All my friends know my mum is a lesbian and she has agirlfriend. I know I’m not the only one in school either,though I’m probably the most open. I’ve learnt somequick lines if anyone has a go. Most don’t these days.”14 year old girl, LancasterC4.6 How to support pupils who arelesbian, gay or bisexualRefer to DL14, DL15 and DL26 with this sectionStaff should feel comfortable enough to deal with asituation where a pupil “comes out” to them. If pupilsreceive a supportive reaction from staff, they aremore likely to feel able to tell someone aboutincidents of homophobic bullying. Staff shouldtherefore:• Listen and be supportive• Discuss how parents and carers might respond• Tell pupils their confidentiality will berespected, and explain the circumstances whereit may not be possible to do so• Ask them how they would like to proceed• Recommend other resources [see furtherresources], such as local youth groupsand websites.


62 Safe to Learn: Embedding anti-bullying work in schools“My teacher told me that we have to all make choicesand some choices are bad choices and some choices aregood choices. She made it clear that I was about tomake a bad choice.”15 year old girl, CumbriaStaff who respond negatively to pupils who come out,can compound the sense of isolation that a youngperson may be experiencing. Pupils may be reluctantto tell anyone else, and will not feel able to reportincidents of homophobic bullying if this occurs.


GUIDANCE 63C. Advice for teachers and school staffC5: RespondingC5.1 Responding to homophobicincidentsRefer to DL7 with this sectionSchool staff interact with pupils on a daily basis andare more likely to see, and be told about, incidents ofhomophobic bullying. It is important that staffresponses are, in line with Ofsted guidelines, ‘swift,proportionate, discreet, influential and effective’. Thissection explores ways in which staff can respondeffectively to incidents of homophobic bullying, andinstil confidence in pupils and parents/carers thatissues will be dealt with.C5.2 working with policies andproceduresRefer to DL3 with this sectionThe first stage in the process of preventinghomophobic bullying is to evaluate the effectivenessof anti-bullying measures already in operation andconsider how these can be applied to homophobicbullying. It is Heads and governors who have aduty to ensure that the necessary policies andprocedures are in place. These policies should includehomophobic bullying and should be developed inconsultation with staff, parents/carers and pupils.Therefore all staff should be aware of them.Responding to incidents of homophobic bullyingshould be done within the context of a school’s ownpolicy, for example, with regards the ‘hierarchy ofsanctions’ which the school has deemed appropriatefor responding to inappropriate behaviour. Thissection of guidance should be read with thesepolicies in mind.For more information on sanctions and tacklingbullying see Safe to Learn and School Discipline andPupil Behaviour Policies: Guidance for Schools.C5.3 How to respond to verbal abuseRefer to DL16 and DL17 with this sectionStopping verbal abuse, particularly the use ofhomophobic language, is part of the broader,whole school approach to preventing homophobicbullying. If heads develop “zero-tolerance”strategies for incidents of homophobic language, thiswill help staff intervene and take action. Taking stepsto ensure respect for people regardless of their sexualorientation will enable pupils to be more open abouttheir experiences of bullying.It is important to create a secure time and spacewhere pupils can report incidents. It is essential thatwhen a young person is reporting an incident orincidents, the member of staff does not assume thepupil is either gay or heterosexual. Staff membersshould listen carefully to the young person’sexperience, and work with them to identifyappropriate responses. The school’s anti-bullyingpolicy and ‘hierarchy of sanctions’ should form thebasis of the response.If a pupil knows that staff will respond to verbalbullying with sensitivity, they may feel morecomfortable about discussing other issues (includingissues relating to sexual orientation).


64 Safe to Learn: Embedding anti-bullying work in schoolsWhen dealing with homophobic verbal abuse inprimary schools staff need to take account of the factthe motivations for using such language are likely tobe different and should therefore respondaccordingly.“We hear “gay” as a term of abuse every single day.The children may not know exactly what it means, butthey know they are using it as an insult. That’s why weneed to tackle it at this stage.”Primary School Head Teacher, North EastC5.4 How to respond to physical abuseRefer to DL18 with this sectionLike verbal abuse, pupils may be reluctant to reportincidents because they fear that staff will assumethey are gay. Physical abuse can indicate a youngperson is at risk, and the overarching strategies thatare implemented to safeguard pupils might beappropriate in this context, for example working withother agencies, including (if necessary) the police.Homophobic violence can be a crime. Anti-bullyingpolicies should be rigorously enforced in order tokeep pupils safe from physical abuse.Teachers and other staff members should refer tothe anti-bullying policy and the ‘hierarchy ofsanctions’ when responding to homophobicbullying. In particularly severe circumstances theschool should consider permanent exclusion.The Department’s guidance on exclusions 2006states:“A decision to exclude a pupil should be taken only:a) in response to serious breaches of the schoolsbehaviour policy; andb) if allowing the pupil to remain in school wouldseriously harm the education or welfare of the pupilor others in the school.”Only the head or teacher in charge of a Pupil ReferralUnit (or, in the absence of the head or teacher incharge, the most senior teacher who is acting in thatrole) can exclude a pupil.The guidance further states:“In cases where a head has permanently excludeda pupil for: … persistent and defiant misbehaviour,including bullying (which would include racist orhomophobic bullying), or repeated possession and/or use of an illegal drug on school premises, theSecretary of State would not normally expect thegoverning body or an Independent Appeal Panel toreinstate the pupil.” 50Note this guidance is due to be updated Summer 2007when the wording may change slightly.C5.5 Holding people who bullyto accountRefer to DL9 and DL25 with this sectionIf pupils have not previously been taught thathomophobic bullying is wrong, it may take time tomake pupils understand that their behaviour isinappropriate. Although schools can develop andimplement immediate responses to homophobicbullying incidents, schools may also want to developa longer term strategy to help change attitudes.This work is achieved by making use of curriculumopportunities, working in partnership with pupils todevelop policies, and ensuring that pupilsunderstand what sanctions will be applied if theyfail to follow the rules. Discussions and ideas aboutsexual orientation should not be shut down.Examining sexual orientation in a positive,constructive way, rather than just as a response tobullying, helps tackle discrimination and prejudice,and thus helps prevent homophobic bullying inthe future.50Source: www.teachernet.gov.uk/wholeschool/behaviour/exclusion/guidance/part1/


GUIDANCE 65C. Advice for teachers and school staffSome pupils may be reluctant to stop bullyingbecause they think their stance is justified.This position can sometimes be supported byparents/carers. Schools need to be very clearthat homophobic bullying is not tolerated underany circumstances and that sanctions andconsequences apply.C5.6 Supporting those harmedby bullyingRefer to DL8, DL26, DL14 and DL15 with this sectionOne of the greatest barriers to addressinghomophobic bullying is under-reporting. Pupils mayfeel reluctant to report incidents because they thinkthat the staff member will assume that they are gay,or that they will respond negatively. In order tosafeguard all pupils, children and young peopleneed to feel confident that the school will be able tosupport them effectively.Homophobic bullying is distinct from other forms ofbullying since additional barriers exist to admitting itis occurring. If a pupil is experiencing racist bullying,they may feel able to discuss this with their parentsor carers. Whilst it is desirable for a pupil who isexperiencing homophobic bullying to confide in theirparents/carers, evidence suggests that 75% of youngpeople feel that they are unable to do so as they maybe worried that parents or carers will either find outthat they are gay, or assume that they are, even if thisis not the case (Source: Stonewall’s The SchoolReport).“I’m not gay, but always been rubbish at sports at stuff.My dad already thinks I’m lame. If he found out theother boys call me a poof, it would just prove him rightI reckon.”14 year old boy, CardiffSchools need to develop robust confidentialitypolicies that pupils understand and be able to offerhelp to pupils who are unable to access support athome. In terms of confidentiality, it is important tobear in mind that “coming out” or a disclosure aboutconsensual sexual activity, is not in itself a reason tobreach confidentiality. However, an admission ofbehaviour, which places the young person, or otheryoung people at risk of significant harm, regardlessof their sexuality, may constitute a need to breachconfidence. School confidentiality policies should bein line with local child protection protocols whichreflect the principles of Working Together (2006).A pupil who has experienced homophobic bullyingneeds to have the opportunity to state what hashappened, and have an opportunity to express howthey feel (in writing if they prefer). If they want to,a parent, carer or other adult or friend cansupport them.Pupils need to understand what is going to happenas a result of them telling a member of staff. Staffwill want to consider if they should also use theopportunity to provide further pastoral care,especially if the pupil is gay and wants to talk about it.Pupils may also be reluctant to use pupil supportsystems for example, peer mentoring systems.All those involved in anti-bullying work needto understand the sensitivities aroundhomophobic bullying.It is important to involve pupils in developing thepolicies in place relating to homophobic bullying toimprove young people’s confidence that the schoolwill deal with the bullying, and to demonstrate to allpupils that bullying of this nature will not be tolerated.C5.7 working with parents whose childhas experienced bullyingRefer to DL10 with this section DL10No parent or carer wants their child to be bullied.Any young person, whether they are gay or not,can experience homophobic bullying. It can affect


66 Safe to Learn: Embedding anti-bullying work in schoolschildren and young people at primary school orsecondary school. Young people however, oftendo not tell their parents/carers about homophobicbullying, because they do not want their parents/carers to think, or know, that they are gay.Parents, carers and families may not even knowthis is happening.It is advisable that schools work with parents/carersto help prevent homophobic bullying. By working inpartnership, parents/carers will be more aware of theissues around homophobic bullying, and are morelikely to tell the school if they think their child isexperiencing it. Communicating and consultingwith parents/carers about this issue will also helpchallenge any resistance to the subject.C5.8 Multi-agency workingand safeguardingSchools have a responsibility to safeguard childrenand young people from harm, including bullying.This means that on occasion, schools may want toengage with other agencies in order to protectchildren and young people from bullying. See Safe toLearn for more information. Staff will also want to beaware that some voluntary organisations can offersupport to children or young people experiencinghomophobic bullying. Please see the FurtherResources section for more information.Parents/carers, like pupils, may think thathomophobic bullying is acceptable. Schools will wantto consider explaining to parents/carers whathomophobic bullying is, and what strategies thereare in place to prevent it and respond to it.Some parents/carers may assume that if a school ispreventing homophobic bullying, they are thereforediscussing gay sex, or encouraging pupils to be gay.This is not the case, and this needs to be made clearto parents/carers. Schools should consider usingvehicles such as the prospectus to emphasise thatanti-bullying policies include homophobicbullying. Letters home about bullying should ideallymake reference to homophobic bullying.For more on working with parents and carers see“How to respond to verbal incidents”.


GUIDANCE 67C. Advice for teachers and school staffC6: MonitoringC6.1 Monitoring and evaluationRefer to DL3 and DL4 with this sectionMost schools have mechanisms for recordingincidents of bullying, and in particular, racist bullying.Monitoring incidents of bullying enables a schoolto identify patterns of behaviour and the extent ofbullying, and then take pro-active steps to challengeit. The DCSF therefore recommends as best practicethat schools record all incidents of bullying, includinghomophobic bullying. Schools that use monitoringprocesses are able to modify their bullying policiesto respond to specific trends and issues.Incorporating incidents of homophobic bullying intothese existing systems is an invaluable means ofraising awareness about the issue amongst all staff.As part of the ongoing process of monitoring andevaluation schools should celebrate the successeswhich they make, and which their pupils make,through tutorial time, prize giving, letters to parents/carers and the local press.For more information on data collection see Safeto Learn.


68 Safe to Learn: Embedding anti-bullying work in schoolsFrequently asked questions1. Sexuality is a private matter.Why is it relevant to school?2. Some parents do not want us to respond tohomophobic bullying. What do we do?3. We have to respect cultural and religiousdifference. Does this mean pupils canbe homophobic?4. Primary school pupils are too young tounderstand. Surely we should not mentiongay people or homophobic bullying?5. What about transgender people?6. Is it ok to tell gay pupils to be more discreetto avoid bullying?7. I'm a gay teacher and pupils talk to me aboutmy sexual orientation. What can I say andnot say?11. Everything is "gay" these days. Do I have tochallenge every word?12. How should I treat the non-biological parentof a pupil?13. How do I respond to homophobic bullyingin PSHE?14. What about section 28?15. What about homophobic bullyingoutside school?16. Our child is about to start primary school.Should we tell his teacher that we are asame-sex couple?17. I have pupils in my school whose faith givesthem problematic attitudes to homophobicbullying. Do I treat them differently?8. I think a pupil may be gay. What should I do?9. We do not have any gay pupils at this school.Why would this be relevant?10. How do schools with a religious characterrespond to homophobic bullying?


GUIDANCE 69Frequently asked questions1. Sexuality is a private matter.Why is it relevant to school?There is no obligation for any person to disclose theirsexual orientation. However homophobic bullyingis something which schools have a statutoryobligation to address. Addressing homophobicbullying does not mean discussing sex. Itmeans taking decisive and assertive action toprevent bullying.It is important to remember that homophobicbullying does not just affect lesbian, gay or bisexualpeople, or those perceived to be lesbian, gay orbisexual. It can also be targeted towards thosewho are seen to be “different” in some other way,for example, because they do not wear the “right”sort of clothes.2. Some parents/carers do not want usto respond to homophobic bullying.What do we do?No parent/carer wants their child to be bullied.Nor do they want to hear that their child is a bully.Regardless of their views on gay people, or sexualorientation, parents and carers have to understandthat schools have a responsibility to keep pupils safe.Preventing and responding to homophobicbullying is essential if schools are going to fulfil theirresponsibilities. It is important to consult parents/carer about any steps to prevent homophobicbullying. Parents/carers also need to understandthat homophobic bullying can affect anyone,regardless of whether or not they are gay.3. We have to respect cultural andreligious difference. Does this meanpupils can be homophobic?Some religions or cultures believe that homosexualityis wrong and lesbian and gay people are not entitledto the same rights as heterosexual people. However,no religion or culture believes that bullying, includinghomophobic bullying, is ever acceptable. There cantherefore be no justification for homophobic bullying.All young people can experience homophobicbullying, regardless of their sexual orientation,religion, or views, and they deserve to be protected.Tolerance and kindness should be integral to anyschool. A person can hold whatever views theywant, but expressing views that denigrate othersis unacceptable.4. Primary school pupils are too youngto understand. Surely we should notmention gay people?Primary school pupils may be too young tounderstand their own sexual orientation but it islikely that some primary school pupils will knowsomeone who is gay. This might be a member of theirfamily, godparents, or family friends. Homophobiclanguage is used in primary schools without thepupils necessarily realising what it is that they aresaying. Primary schools should respond tohomophobic bullying in an age-appropriate way,whilst demonstrating that it is not acceptable inschool. The same strategies can be used to tackle allforms of inappropriate language.


70 Safe to Learn: Embedding anti-bullying work in schools5. What about transgender people?Gender identity and sexual orientation are twodifferent things. Gender identity describes a person’sgender. Sexual orientation describes whether aperson is heterosexual, lesbian, gay or bisexual.The description of someone as transgender refersto their gender identity.Some young people come to realise that theirbiological gender is not the same as the gender withwhich they identify, that is, they are born a girl butfeel like a boy, or a born a boy and feel like a girl.Some Trans young people can be heterosexual,lesbian, gay or bisexual, but like all pupils canexperience homophobic bullying and should beprotected from it.Trans pupils may not conform to accepted gendernorms and roles and therefore may experiencehomophobic bullying as a result. It is thereforeimportant to be alert to the unique sort of bullyingthey may experience and protect them accordingly.6. Is it ok to tell gay pupils to be morediscreet to avoid bullying?No. The fundamental principle of Every Child Mattersis that children and young people should be able togrow up and discover their identities. Telling a pupilto be more discreet undermines that identity, andsuggests that the young person is responsible for thebullying they are experiencing. It is important torespond to the bullying, rather than removing thetarget. For secondary age pupils schools may wish toencourage the young person to attend a local youthgroup if they are gay, or find friends and activitieswhere they are able to be themselves.It is important to work with children and youngpeople who are being bullied to offer them thesupport they need and to equip them with the skillsto assess their own safety. For more information onstrategies to tackle bullying, including RestorativeJustice and conflict resolution see Safe to Learn.See also:DL9 Working with pupils who bullyDL14 How to support lesbian, gay and bisexual pupilsDL26 Supporting those harmed by bullying7. I'm a gay teacher and pupils talk tome about my sexual orientation.What can I say and not say?School culture and ethos determines how open staffare about their private lives, and you shouldtherefore seek advice and guidance from your head.The key is consistency between all staff regardless ofsexual orientation. See section 5 and guidancewritten by the General Teaching Council TheStatement of Professional Values and Practice forTeachers [5.3] for more information.Pupils, especially gay pupils, can benefit fromknowing positive lesbian and gay role models.Staff should however, remain professional and ensurethat they provide advice and guidance in a way thatis appropriate.8. I think a pupil may be gay.What should I do?It is important that you do not ask pupils about theirsexual orientation, or assume that they are necessarilytroubled by it. If a person does come out to you, it isimportant to be supportive. That way, they will bemore likely to tell you if they are experiencing bullying.Creating a school ethos where all pupils feelrespected is central to giving pupils the confidence totalk to staff if they need to. Use group discussion andclasses to reiterate the school’s anti-homophobicbullying policy and in secondary schools ensureappropriate information about local groups anduseful websites is made available in an appropriateplace (and in line with school policy), and reiteratethe school’s commitment to inclusivity.


GUIDANCE 71Frequently asked questions9. We do not have any gay pupils at thisschool. Why would this be relevant?Homophobic bullying can affect anyone regardlessof sexual orientation. Anyone who is thought to begay, or just thought to be “different” can be called“gay” or experience homophobic abuse. It is highlylikely that your school will have gay pupils, even ifthey have not yet “come out”. Even if you do not haveany gay pupils, it is likely that pupils may have gayfriends or family and therefore it is relevant to them.Finally, there are gay people in the world (and in theworkplace) and therefore tackling homophobicbullying is essential to a pupil’s wider education.10. How do schools with areligious character respondto homophobic bullying?Along with all schools, schools with a religiouscharacter condemn and will not tolerate any form ofbullying, including homophobic bullying, for at theheart of a successful school is the respect for thedignity of the individual and bullying can have noplace in such communities.See also:DL11 Schools with a religious character andhomophobic bullying11. Everything is "gay" these days.Do I have to challenge every word?Homophobic language is common and its use isoften casual, but it is very difficult to respond to moreserious forms of homophobic bullying if certainwords and usage are allowed. Homophobic languagealso contributes to a culture of intolerance, and mayhave an impact on how young people feel aboutthemselves. It is therefore necessary to have a “zerotolerance”approach to homophobic language,regardless of how it is used. Staff should make it clearthat homophobic language is not tolerated by theschool and that a ‘hierarchy of sanctions’ will befollowed if it continues.12. How should I treat the non-biologicalparent of a pupil?Like any other parent. Non-biological parents havethe same rights and responsibilities as a step parent.It is important that schools treat non-biologicalparents in the same way as biological parents, andthey feel able to be involved in school life andactivities. Some non-biological parents may apply toadopt a child. Some others may apply for a parentalresponsibility order; this enables them to sign officialforms from school for example.13. How do I respond to homophobicbullying in PSHE?Providing an opportunity for pupils to talk aboutsexual orientation and their views of lesbian and gaypeople is a good thing. You may not always like whatthey say but if the issue is up for discussion, it is notgoing to be ignored. There is, however, a crucialdifference between expressing views about lesbianand gay issues (which may not be positive) andexpressing hatred (homophobic bullying). Before thelesson begins, reiterate the importance of respectingother people’s views and circumstances. Pupilsshould be able to present their viewpoints in a waythat respects others. If a pupil expresses views whichcause particular concern, consider whether it isnecessary to speak to them after class and provideadditional support.14. What about section 28?Section 28 was an often misinterpreted piece oflegislation that prompted some schools to think theycould not tackle homophobic bullying. Section 28has now been abolished. This means that schoolscan and should respond to homophobic bullyingwithout worrying about Section 28.


72 Safe to Learn: Embedding anti-bullying work in schools15. What about homophobicbullying outside school?A school is not legally responsible for bullying thattakes place outside school, but can take steps totackle any bullying inside school, and be responsiveto incidents that happen outside school.Under the Education and Inspection Act 2006 aschool’s behaviour policy can include, as far as isreasonable, measures to regulate behaviour outsideschool premises when pupils are not in the charge orcontrol of members of staff (which is particularlypertinent to cyberbullying). See section 3.4 of SchoolDiscipline and Pupil Behaviour Policies: Guidance forSchools for more detail.16. our child is about to start primaryschool. Should we tell his teacher that weare a same-sex couple?17. I have pupils in my school whobelieve their faith condones homophobicbullying. Do I treat them differently?All faiths fully support the declaration that all formsof bullying are wrong. No pupil has the right to bullyanother and it is likely that such an assumption isbased on a misunderstanding of religious teachings.As well as working with the bully to acknowledge theharm that they have done it is important to look forwider opportunities to discuss attitudes arounddifference and respect, for example within thecurriculum or tutor group sessions. Demonstrating awhole-school ethos based on celebrating differenceis also critical. Where the bullying is persistent it mayalso be appropriate to contact the child’s parents orcarers to alert them to the situation and to remindthem about the school’s policies on bullying.You do not have to tell the school that you are asame-sex couple, but telling them will enable themto ensure that your child is included and supported.Telling the school will also enable them to keep aneye on your child, and intervene swiftly andeffectively if there is any homophobic bullying.Schools’ primary concern is the children in their care,not their views on their family arrangements.


GUIDANCE 73Further resourcesFurther resourcesThe DCSF does not necessarily endorse all the viewsexpressed by these organisations.The following sites have been recommended byEACH and Stonewall.See also Safe to Learn for a comprehensive list ofanti-bullying organisationsResources for young peopleEducational Action Challenging Homophobia(EACH) HelplineNational Helpline for young people experiencinghomophobic bullying.0808 1000 143Mon to Fri 10am–5pmSaturday 10am–MiddayChildLineChildLine is a free, 24-hour helpline for children andyoung people in the UK.National Helpline: 0800 1111www.childline.orgChannel 4 LGB TeensChannel 4 has developed a microsite for younglesbian, gay and bisexual people. It providesinformation about coming out, staying safe, andhow to respond to bullying.www.channel4.com/health/microsites/L/lgb_teens/index.htmlLondon Lesbian and Gay Switchboard (LLGS)LLGS provides an information, support and referralservice throughout the UK. You can find out aboutyour local LGBT youth group here.PO Box 7324, London N1 9QSNational Helpline: 020 7837 7324Fax: 020 7837 7300www.llgs.org.ukemail: admin@llgs.org.ukFinding a youth groupTry “Google”, your Local Authority, or visit Stonewall’swebsite where there are listings of resources foryoung people.www.stonewall.org.uk/educationforallCoastkidA website developed by Brighton and Hove CityCouncil to explore the various aspects of bullying,including homophobic bullying.www.coastkid.org


74 Safe to Learn: Embedding anti-bullying work in schoolsVoluntary organisationsAnti-Bullying Alliance (ABA)Hosted and supported by National Children’s Bureau(NCB), the ABA was founded by NSPCC and NCB in2002. The Alliance brings together 68 organisationsinto one network with the aim of reducing bullyingand creating safer environments in which childrenand young people can live, grow, play and learn.National Children's Bureau8 Wakley StreetLondon EC1V 7QEemail: aba@ncb.org.ukEducational Action Challenging Homophobia(EACH)EACH is the charity providing UK-wide helplinesupport to young people experiencing homophobicbullying and award-winning training to challengehomophobia in schools for Local Authorities andChildren’s Services.14 Clifton Down RoadBristol BS8 4BFNational Helpline: 0808 1000 143Mon to Fri 10am–5pmSaturday 10am–MiddayHelpline Officer: 0117 946 7607www.eachaction.org.ukemail: info@eachaction.org.ukIn association with Bristol City Council EACH haveprepared the following guidance specifically onthe repeal of Section 28:www.bristol-cyps.org.uk/services/pdf/Out_of_Shadow.pdfImaanA social support group for lesbian, gay, bisexual andtransgender Muslims, their family, friends andsupporters, and those questioning their sexualityor gender identity.www.imaan.org.ukJewish Gay and Lesbian GroupProvides an atmosphere of friendship and support forJewish gay men, lesbians, bisexuals and their partners.www.jglg.org.ukLesbian & Gay Christian MovementA UK based international charity working and prayingfor an inclusive Church.www.lgcm.org.ukLGBT ConsortiumLGBT Consortium is an umbrella membership bodythat provides a range of 2nd tier and 3rd tier supportto LGBT voluntary organisations and groups, both inLondon and nationally. Work includes “FreestyleLondon” which facilitates capacity building withLGBT youth projects/services for the benefit of youngLGBT people (London LGBT Youth Council); and aParenting project that supports parents of LGBTpeople in London.Unit J414, Tower Bridge Business Complex100 Clements RoadLondon SE16 4DG020 7064 8383www.lgbtconsortium.org.ukemail: admin@lbgtconsortium.org.ukLGBT History MonthFebruary is LGBT History month where organisations,including schools, explore issues relating to lesbian,gay, bisexual and transgender people and theirhistory. The website has resources for schools.www.lgbthistorymonth.org.ukNaz Project London (NPL)NPL provides support services to South Asians,Muslims, Horn of Africans, Portuguese speakers, andSpanish speakers, including parents and carers of gaypeople from black and minority ethnic backgrounds.Palingswick House, 241 King StreetLondon W6 9LP020 8741 1879www.naz.org.ukemail: npl@naz.org.uk


GUIDANCE 75Further resourcesPACEPACE promotes the mental health and emotionalwellbeing of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendercommunity. It also leads the National Family Forum.34 Hartham Road, London N7 9LJ0207 700 1323Fax: 0207 609 4909www.pacehealth.org.ukemail: general@pace.dircon.co.ukQueeryA national search engine for the lesbian, gay, bisexualand trans communities, Queery provides informationon local LGBT youth groups and other local eventswww.queery.org.ukSafra projectThe Safra Project is a resource project working onissues relating to lesbian, bisexual and/ortransgender women who identify as Muslimreligiously and/or culturally.www.safraproject.orgSchools OutSchools Out provides both a formal and informalsupport network for all people who want to raise theissue of homophobia in education.BM Schools Out! NationalLondon WC1N 3XXHelpline (Male): 01582 451 424Helpline (Female): 0207 635 0476www.schools-out.org.ukemail: secretary@schools-out.org.ukTower BuildingYork Road, London SE1 7NX020 75931850www.stonewall.org.ukemail: info@stonewall.org.ukPlease also visit Stonewall’s site for the results oftheir 2007 survey into homophobic bullying, TheSchool Report.Terrence Higgins Trust (THT)THT provides information and resources on HIV &AIDS, as well as information about challenginghomophobia. They are increasingly providing youthgroups around the country, and are able to visitschools and make presentations.314-320 Gray's Inn RoadLondon WC1X 8DP020 7812 1600www.tht.org.ukemail: info@tht.org.ukYWCA (Young Women's Christian Association)YWCA England & Wales is the leading charity workingwith young women facing poverty, discrimination orabuse. YWCA produced a report – Pride Not Prejudice– which gives an overview of the issues faced byyoung women who are lesbian, bisexual or who maybe questioning their sexuality.Clarendon House, 52 Cornmarket StreetOxford OX1 3EJ01865 304 200www.ywca.org.ukemail: info@ywca.org.ukStonewallStonewall is a charity that works for lesbian, gay andbisexual rights. It also runs the Education for Allcampaign. The aim of the campaign is to ensure thatall young lesbian, gay and bisexual people can fulfiltheir potential, and that the UK’s schools andeducation systems can deal appropriately withhomophobia and homophobic bullying. Stonewallhave produced a DVD with the Greater LondonAuthority (Spell it Out), hold an annual conference foreducational practitioners, and a youth conference.


76 Safe to Learn: Embedding anti-bullying work in schoolsSupport for parents and carersPink ParentsPink Parents works for lesbian, gay and bisexualparents and their children, providing information,resources, advice and access to local groups.The D'Arcy Lainey FoundationPO BOX 417Oldham OL2 7WTNational Helpline: 08701 273 274Mon to Fri 9am–12pm (excluding public holidays)Office: 0161 633 2037Mon to Fri 9.30am–2pm (excluding public holidays)www.pinkparents.org.ukFamilies and Friends of Lesbians and Gays(FFLAG)FFLAG is dedicated to supporting parents and theirgay, lesbian and bisexual sons and daughters.7 York Court, Wilder StreetBristol BS2 8HQNational Helpline: 0845 652 0311Office: 0117 9429311www.fflag.org.ukemail: info@fflag.org.ukTrade Unions and professional bodiesAssociation of School and College LeadersASCL, is the professional association for leaders ofsecondary schools and colleges.ASCL Headquarters, 130 Regent RoadLeicester LE1 7PG0116 299 1122www.ascl.org.ukemail: info@ascl.org.ukNational Association of Heads (NAHT)NAHT provides dedicated support to its member oneducational issues.1 Heath Square, Boltro RoadHaywards Heath RH16 1BL01444 472 472www.naht.org.ukemail: info@naht.org.ukNational Governors AssociationAims to improve the educational welfare of childrenby promoting high standards in schools, and raisingthe effectiveness of governing bodies.National Governors' Association2nd Floor SBQ1, 29 Smallbrook QueenswayBirmingham B5 4HG0121 643 5787www.nasg.org.ukemail: governorhq@nga.org.ukProfessional Association of TeachersPAT is an independent trade union and professionalassociation for teachers, heads, lecturers, educationsupport staff (Professionals Allied to Teaching(PAtT) and, in the Professional Association of NurseryNurses (PANN), nursery nurses, nannies and otherchildcarers.01332 372337www.pat.org.ukhq@pat.org.ukAssociation of Teachers and LecturersATL helps members, as their careers develop, throughresearch, advice, information and legal support.7 Northumberland StreetLondon WC2N 5RD020 7930 6441www.askatl.org.ukinfo@atl.org.uk


GUIDANCE 77Further resourcesNational Association of SchoolmastersUnion of Women TeachersNASUWT is committed to achieving equality forall teachers, including lesbian, gay, bisexual andtransgender teachers, in both employment andcivil spheres and to actively opposing all forms ofharassment, prejudice and unfair discrimination.The Union has a national advisory committee forlesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender teachers whichinforms the work of the union and holds an annualconsultation conference for LGBT members to debateand discuss issues of importance to them and toNASUWT. In addition, the union provides specialistguidance on legislation, key issues such ashomophobic bullying and provides training forLGBT activists.Hillscourt Education Centre, Rose HillBirmingham B45 8RS0121 453 6150www.teachersunion.org.ukemail: nasuwt@mail.nasuwt.org.ukNational Union of Teachers (NUT)NUT provides guidance for teachers on responding toand preventing homophobic bullying and runs anannual conference for LGBT teachers.Hamilton House, Mabledon PlaceLondon WC1H 9BD0207 388 6191www.nut.org.ukTrades Union Congress (TUC)TUC campaigns for equal rights for lesbian, gay,bisexual and transgender people at work andin society.Congress House, Great Russell StreetLondon WC1B 3LS020 7636 4030www.tuc.org.ukUNISONThe public services trade union, representing nonteachingstaff in schools, UNISON promotes lesbian,gay, bisexual and transgender equality within theunion, at work and in society.1 Mabledon PlaceLondon WC1H 9AJ0845 355 0845Minicom: 0800 0 967 968www.unison.org.uk/outAdditional support for staffGeneral Teaching Council for England (GTCE)GTCE hosted a major online discussion foruminvestigating teachers’ views on challenginghomophobia and ensuring sexual orientationequality in schools. This forum brought teacherstogether to share their views and practices in relationto challenging homophobia in schools.Whittington House, 19-30 Alfred PlaceLondon WC1E 7EANational Helpline: 0870 001 0308www.gtce.org.ukemail: info@gtce.org.ukTeacher Support NetworkTeacher Support Network provides professionaland personal support to teachers and lecturersin England.Hamilton House, Mabledon PlaceLondon WC1H 9BE0207 554 5200www.teachersupport.infoemail: enquiries@teachersupport.info


78 Safe to Learn: Embedding anti-bullying work in schoolsFaith groups with education interestsAgency for Jewish EducationBet Meir, 44a Albert RoadLondon NW4 2SJ020 83490839Association of Muslim SchoolsUnit B5A, 77 Evington Valley RoadLeicester LE5 5LL0845 2706476Board of Deputies of British Jews6 Bloomsbury SquareLondon WC1A 2LP020 7543 5400Catholic Education Service39 Eccleston SquareLondon SW1V 1BX0207 901 4880email: general@cesew.org.ukChurch of England Education DivisionChurch House, Great Smith StreetLondon SW1P 3AZChurches Together in England27 Tavistock SquareLondon WC1H 9HH0207 529 8140The Methodist Church66, Balfour RoadLondon W13 9TW020 8579 7719Muslim Council of BritainPO Box 57330London E1 2WJ0845 2626786email: admin@mcb.org.ukThe National Society for PromotingReligious EducationChurch House, Great Smith StreetLondon SW1P 3AZ020 7898 1501www.natsoc.org.ukemail: info@natsoc.org.ukThe Network of Sikh Organisations43 Dorset RoadLondon SW19 3EZ0208 540 4148Seventh-Day Adventist ChurchStanborough ParkWatford WD2 6JP01923 251309Council of Oriental Orthodox Churches34 Chertsey Road, Church SquareShepperton TW17 9LFFree Church11 Tabors AvenueChelmsford CM2 7ES01245 471127Hindu Council UKVivekananda Centre, 6 Lea GardensWembley HA9 7SE020 8902 0840


DOWNLOADS 79Downloads (DLs)DL1: What does homophobic bullying look like? 80DL2: The role of governors in preventing homophobic bullying 81DL3: The School Evaluation Form and homophobic bullying 82DL4: Raising awareness about homophobic bullying in the school community 86DL5: Developing policies, practices and procedures 87DL6: Developing the curriculum to prevent homophobic bullying 88DL7: Steps for staff development 89DL8: Making pupil support systems inclusive 90DL9: Working with pupils who bully 92DL10: Working with parents and carers 93DL11: Schools with a religious character and homophobic bullying 94DL12: How to talk to pupils about homophobic language 96DL13: Promoting positive messages about different families 98DL14: How to support lesbian, gay and bisexual pupils 102DL15: Coming out stories 104DL16: Responding to verbal incidents in primary school 106DL17: Responding to verbal incidents in secondary school 108DL18: Responding to physical homophobic bullying 110DL19: School evaluation form for heads 111DL20: Ideas about how to discuss homophobic bullying in secondary schools 116DL21: KS1 118DL22: KS2 120DL23: KS3 122DL24: KS4 124DL25: Holding bullies to account 126DL26: Supporting those harmed by bullying 127DL27: The experiences of girls 128DL28: The experiences of boys 131DL29: Summary – addressing homophobic bullying in your school 134


80 DOWNLOADSPrimary and SecondaryDL1: What does homophobic bullyinglook like?Homophobic bullying occurs when bullying ismotivated by a prejudice against lesbian, gay orbisexual people.Who experiences homophobic bullying?• Young people who are lesbian, gay or bisexual.• Young people who are thought to be lesbian, gayor bisexual.• Young people who are different in some way –they may not act like the other boys or girls.• Young people who have gay friends, or family, ortheir parents are gay.• Teachers and school staff, who may or may not belesbian, gay or bisexual.Who does the bullying and why?• Anyone. Especially if they have not been toldit’s wrong.• People who think that lesbian and gay peopleshould be bullied, because they believe gaypeople are “wrong”.• People who might be gay themselves, and areangry about that.• People who think “boys should act like boys” and“girls should act like girls”.• People who think gay people shouldn’t have thesame rights as heterosexual people.• People who may have been bullied themselves orhave low self-esteem and poor communicationskills.• They think gay parenting is wrong and pupilsshould be treated differently because of it.What does homophobic bullying look like?• Verbal abuse – including spreading rumours thatsomeone is gay, suggesting that something orsomeone is inferior and so they are “gay” – forexample, “you’re such a gay boy!” or “thosetrainers are so gay!”• Physical abuse – including hitting, punching,kicking, sexual assault, and threatening behaviour.• Cyberbullying – using on-line spaces to spreadrumours about someone or exclude them. Canalso include text messaging, including video andpicture messaging.Can it happen in Primary schools?• Yes. Pupils may not know what the words mean,but can use homophobic language against othersas a form of bullying.• Or, they may bully a pupil who has gay parents orfamily members.Do we have to do anything specific to tackle it?• You can do, but you can also use your existingmethods for tackling bullying and make surehomophobic bullying is included.• If a young person is not explicitly told thathomophobic bullying is wrong, they may thinkthat it is ok to bully someone in this way. Sayingclearly that homophobic bullying is wrong makesa difference to pupils’ experience. In Stonewall’sSchool Report, 73% of the young people whoresponded were bullied in schools that made noreference to homophobic bullying. Where schoolsdid make reference to homophobic bullying, 53%of pupils experienced bullying.


DOWNLOADS 81Primary and SecondaryDL2: The role of governors in preventinghomophobic bullyingGovernors must ensure that policies designed topromote good behaviour and discipline are pursuedat school. Governors must make and review a statementof principles to which the head teacher is tohave regard in determining measures to regulatebehaviour. These measures include those to be takenwith a view to preventing and responding to all formsof bullying, including homophobic bullying. This isa requirement of the Education and InspectionsAct 2006.Governors must support and advise head teachersabout how best to go about this. They should consider:• Their leadership role in a school. Governorshave a responsibility to set the ethos of a school,and play a key role in setting the agenda for aneffective good behaviour policy. Governors canprovide crucial leadership in preventinghomophobic bullying. Strong messages from thetop about the importance of tackling all forms ofbullying, including homophobic bullying, are vital.• Development of policies, practices andprocedures. Governors should consider howan inclusive anti-bullying policy will includehomophobic bullying. They should also thinkabout how this inclusion can be applied to allother related polices, practices and procedures.• Consultation. Governors should consult all staff,pupils and parents and families about this work.This will enable them to raise concerns and willhelp all members of the school community worktogether.• The support and development of staff. Staffwill need support if they are to prevent andrespond to homophobic bullying. They will needprofessional development and training in this areato ensure they can intervene effectively and withconfidence. They will also need to know that theyhave the backing of the governors in this work.Governors should also be aware that staff areprotected in law from discrimination on thegrounds of sexual orientation. This means thatrecruitment processes should be fair and staffshould be protected from homophobic bullying.This law applies to all schools, including faithschools.• Celebrating achievements. Governors areadvised to take the lead in celebratingachievements. Preventing homophobic bullyingtakes time and everyone should be kept informedabout progress. The DCSF recommends as bestpractice that parents and families be told aboutsuccesses in this work. Local authorities and otheragencies (including Ofsted) also need to be keptinformed about successes.• Multi-agency work. Governors will monitor theother agencies schools work with in order to keeppupils safe. This includes youth justice, children’ssocial care, education and health. Governors mightwant to recommend other agencies to helpschools prevent homophobic bullying.Governors have a unique and invaluable role toplay in protecting children and young people byproviding the necessary leadership and impetusto prevent and respond to homophobic bullying.


82 DOWNLOADSPrimary and SecondaryDL3: School evaluation form for governorspreventing and responding to homophobicbullyingObjective Example of progress Your school’s activityAcknowledging homophobicbullying.Governors set the ethos of theschool. They should alert thehead teacher to the issue ofhomophobic bullying and makerecommendations about how toinclude it in bullying strategies.Developing policiesGovernors should ensure thathomophobic bullying isincluded in anti-bullying policiesand related policies andprocedures.Promoting an ethosGovernors have a leadershiprole in the school. They shoulddemonstrate to other membersof the community thathomophobic bullying isimportant and respect for othersregardless of sexual orientationis integral to school culture.• Governors discuss andunderstand thathomophobic bullying isa prolific form of bullying.• Governors recognise that theyhave a legal responsibilityto protect pupils fromhomophobic bullying.• Governors makerecommendations to the headteacher that homophobicbullying should be included inthe statement of principles.• Homophobic bullying isincluded in the anti-bullyingpolicy.• Governors have examinedother policies, practices andprocedures to see wherestrategies to preventhomophobic bullying couldbe introduced.• Governors explicitly supportthe head teacher in takingsteps to prevent homophobicbullying.• People from all backgroundscan make a valuablecontribution as schoolgovernors. This includes


DOWNLOADS 83Primary and SecondaryObjective Example of progress Your school’s activityPromoting an ethos… continuedAddressing staff needsStaff need to know thatgovernors, and themanagement team at a schoolwill be supportive if theyintervene in incidents ofhomophobic bullying. They alsoneed to know that they will beprotected from homophobicbullying, and feel that they havethe necessary skills to supportyoung people.ConsultationGovernors have a responsibilityto ensure that all staff (includingunpaid staff), pupils, parentsand families are aware of anychanges in policies. Effectiveconsultation will help when anychanges come into effect.lesbian and gay people.All those responsible forappointing governors shoulddo so on the basis of theirability to be effectivegovernors irrespective oftheir background.• Governors ensure that ageappropriatemessages are sentto current and prospectivepupils and parents viaprospectus, letters home,policies and agreements.• Staff know that they will besupported if they take actionto respond to and preventhomophobic bullying.• Steps are taken to ensurestaff are recruited fairly.• Staff understand thatthey will be supported if theyexperience homophobicbullying.• Training programmes havebeen developed for staff.• The school has developed asystem for anonymous andconfidential feedback fromparents.• Governors engage andinvolve student councils in thework, and have developedother mechanisms for allpupils to feed in to proposals.• Governors are able to explainto parents why they aredoing this work.


84 DOWNLOADSPrimary and SecondaryObjective Example of progress Your school’s activityAssessing the extent ofhomophobic bullyingUnderstanding the nature andextent of a problem will helpshape mechanisms forpreventing and responding tohomophobic bullying.Recording incidentsMechanisms exist to recordbullying incidents, andcategorise them depending onthe nature of the incident.These systems should includehomophobic bullying.Conducting auditsSystematically reviewing everypolicy, practice and procedure(including curriculum) andevaluating whether steps can betaken to prevent homophobicbullying and raise awarenessabout it.• Anonymous staff and studentfeedback forms includequestions on homophobicbullying.• Existing mechanisms (suchas bullying boxes) includeprovisions for homophobicbullying.• Governors have evaluatedhow other methods of datacollection (such as incidentlogs) can be extended toinclude homophobic bullying.• Governors have exploredother ways of collecting dataif existing mechanisms arenot appropriate.• Governors have encouragedthe head teacher to identifyage-appropriateopportunities in thecurriculum to discusshomophobic bullying.• Head teachers have identifiedother opportunities such astutor group time.Evaluation of dataEvaluating the data receivedfrom anonymous surveys,existing bullying reportingmethods, and recording systemswill help the school have abetter idea about the nature andextent of homophobic bullying.• Governors and head teachershave examined data andestablished when and inwhat context homophobicbullying occurs.• Governors have identifiedwhich groups experiencebullying and when certaingroups are particularlyaffected.


DOWNLOADS 85Primary and SecondaryObjective Example of progress Your school’s activityEvaluation of data...continued• Governors and the headteacher have identifiednext steps.Celebrating achievementsPreventing homophobicbullying takes time butacknowledging progress helpsthose involved, stay involved.• Governors have informedparents and families aboutthe results of audits, andindicated next steps.• Governors and head teachershave informed localauthorities about successfulstrategies.• Members of the community,such as the local police, havebeen invited to be involved inthe work programme.Managing complaintsand complimentsComplaints provide invaluableinformation about the nature ofhomophobic bullying in schools,and give further informationabout where things are goingwrong. Governors have aresponsibility to hear and judgeany complaints, including thosethat relate to decisions aboutexclusion. This will form part ofthe school’s required overallcomplaints procedure.• Parents, families, pupils andstaff feel able to makecomplaints abouthomophobic bullying.• The chair of governors hasensured that all governors areable to hear cases fairly andwithout prejudice.


86 DOWNLOADSPrimary and SecondaryDL4: Raising awareness about homophobicbullying in the school communityHave you collected data about homophobicbullying via surveys and informal methods?YesDoes the data indicate that homophobicbullying exists in school?YesHave you shared your findings with thegovernors? Do they understand the impactof homophobic bullying on a school?YesHave you written to parents/carers aboutyour findings, explained that homophobicbullying can affect all pupils, and indicatedthat policies will change to reflect this?YesNoNoNoNoCollect data. This will define the strategies tobe developed and then help monitor andevaluate them.Are you using the right systems for collecting data?Have you asked pupils about their experiences?The governors are important allies and have astatutory responsibility to implement anti-bullyingpolicies. Governors need to understand the impactof homophobic bullying so they can help developinclusive policies to tackle it.Parents may think that preventing homophobicbullying means encouraging pupils to be gay.It doesn’t. Help them understand this.Have you told all staff (including unpaid staff)about your findings? Do they understand Nothe impact homophobic bullying has onattainment? Do they feel committed to tackling it?YesStaff may not prevent homophobic bullying if theydon’t understand it, or recognise the effect it hason pupils. They will also feel more confident aboutdoing so if they have the backing of the leadershipteam.Do pupils understand that homophobicbullying will not be tolerated in school? NoHave you used tutorial time, policies, and otheropportunities (such as curriculum) to tell them thisin an age-appropriate way?Pupils will continue to bully others in a homophobicway if they are not told that it is wrong. Pupils whoexperience homophobic bullying will be less likelyto come forward.


DOWNLOADS 87Primary and SecondaryDL5: Developing policies, practices andproceduresDoes the Governors’ written statement ofgeneral principles for the behaviour policymake reference to bullying andhomophobic bullying?YesIs homophobic bullying referenced in theanti-bullying policies and procedures?YesHave you conducted an audit of all otherpolicies and procedures? For example,areas such as curriculum and safeguardingare relevant.YesHave you consulted governors, parents, otherstaff, and pupils about changes to policies?Consultation can help achieve buy-in andcounteract future criticism.YesHave you looked at existing anti-bullyingstrategies to see if they can be developed toinclude homophobic bullying?YesHave you told other agencies about theprogress you are making? Have you sharedyour experiences with the local authority andother schools?NoNoNoNoNoNoLook at the key policies that shape responses tobullying. Can they be more inclusive?Staff and pupils will not necessarily presume that ageneric policy includes homophobic bullying.Preventing homophobic bullying can be done in avariety of contexts, not just a specific response to anincident. Explore all opportunities.Consultation will make policies more effectiveand help achieve their implementation. It is alsoa requirement of the Education and InspectionsAct 2006.Homophobic bullying does not necessarily needa completely new approach. Using existingmechanisms and methods can be equally effective.Sharing knowledge helps others to preventhomophobic bullying and enables your school tofeel proud of its achievements.


88 DOWNLOADSPrimary and SecondaryDL6: Developing the curriculum to preventhomophobic bullyingHave you reviewed the curriculum to identifyopportunities to undertake anti-bullying work?YesDoes the school curriculum make explicitreference to homophobic bullying?YesDo team leaders understand that anti-bullyingincluding homophobic bullying should beincorporated into their curriculum?YesHave you identified specific ways to includehomophobic bullying in PSHE, Citizenshipand across the curriculum?YesHave you identified other opportunities todiscuss homophobic bullying, such as classtime, tutorial time, and general discussions?YesHave you considered specific activities thatcould be undertaken if a pupil is experiencingbullying because they have gay parents, orare gay themselves?NoNoNoNoNoNoBullying does not just have to be tackled in thecontext of responding to incidents. Teaching andlearning about respect and tolerance is key topreventing bullying.In so doing, staff will be given greater confidence totackle and prevent homophobic bullying and lookfor ways to discuss this with pupils.The curriculum in general provides lots ofopportunities to talk about homophobic bullyingand discrimination in an age-appropriate way.Explore all opportunities.These areas provide explicit opportunities todiscuss bullying and therefore should includehomophobic bullying.Tutorials and class time can all provideopportunities for pupils to raise issues and enterdiscussions. Teaching and learning about gaypeople needs to be age-appropriate, but pupilsshould feel able to raise issues and discussionsthemselves, in a variety of contexts.Schools should be able to respond quickly tosupport individual pupils in an appropriate, helpful,and sensitive way. Developing strategies fortargeted work will be useful for staff.


DOWNLOADS 89Primary and SecondaryDL7: Steps for staff developmentDo all staff understand the purpose of theanti-bullying policy and their responsibilities?YesDo staff understand, feel motivated andconfident that they can intervene to preventhomophobic bullying?YesDo staff know how to talk to young peopleexperiencing homophobic bullying?Have they been trained to respondappropriately to young people in secondaryschools who are lesbian, gay or bisexual?YesDo staff know how to support pupils whoare experiencing homophobic bullying butare not gay? Do they understand that thismay require a different response?YesAre all staff, including student teachers andunpaid staff, aware that homophobic bullyingis unacceptable in school and that theyshould intervene?YesDo all staff feel protected from homophobicbullying and know that they will have thefull support of the leadership team if theyexperience it?NoNoNoNoNoNoStaff will not be able to prevent homophobicbullying if they do not understand the generalpolicies about bullying.If staff lack confidence in responding to incidents ofhomophobic bullying, they are likely to let incidentsgo without intervening.If a staff member responds inappropriately to apupil the pupil will feel unsupported and will beunlikely to report any future incidents.A pupil may not tell anyone they are experiencinghomophobic bullying if they think the teacher willthink they are gay. Staff need to be trained to asksensitive questions.Staff often lack confidence about intervening incases of homophobic bullying. All new staff need tobe explicitly told they should intervene, and knowhow to do this.Staff who do not feel safe at school will not want tostay, and will not be as effective in the classroom.Staff need to know that they are supported, even ifthey are gay.For more on available training see the Resources section.


90 DOWNLOADSSecondaryDL8: Making pupil support systems inclusiveObjective Example of progress Your school’s activityPupils feel able to tell staffabout homophobic bullying.Pupils know how to reportincidents, and understandwhat constitutes bullying.Pupils feel able to tell staffthey are lesbian, gay orbisexual if they want to do so.Staff understand how toidentify pupils at risk, whenconfidentiality needs to bemaintained, and in whatcircumstances confidentialitycannot be maintained.• All pupils know thathomophobic bullying isincluded in the anti-bullyingpolicy.• All pupils understand whathomophobic bullying is andthat it is unacceptable.• Staff feel motivated andcommitted to assist pupils,and understand relevantschool policies.• Pupils know what reportingstructures exist and knowwhen they can use them.• There are a number ofreporting structures in place.• Staff have received trainingabout how to support pupilswho are gay.• Pupils know they will notbe treated differently if theyare gay, and will be protectedfrom bullying.• Staff understand that beinggay in itself does notconstitute a reason to breachconfidentiality.(continued)


DOWNLOADS 91SecondaryObjective Example of progress Your school’s activity• Staff respect requests forconfidentiality andunderstand when it cannotbe maintained (e.g. when it isjudged that the youngperson is at risk of seriousharm), and what needs to bedone in such circumstances.Pupils have input intohomophobic bullyingstrategies.Pupils are able to raiseconcerns anonymously.Pupils who provide supportunderstand issues abouthomophobic bullying.Pupils have access to ageappropriateinformationabout local support services.• Pupils are consulted aboutstrategies and are invited tocomment.• Pupils help write antibullyingpolicies and suggeststrategies.• Pupils can raise concerns viasuggestion boxes.• Pupils understand that theycan talk to peer supporters inconfidence.• Other pupils understandwhat homophobic bullyinglooks like and know how tointervene.• Pupils know how totreat lesbian and gay pupilswith respect.• All staff know where to findinformation about local LGBgroups or useful websites.• Age-appropriate informationis available on school noticeboards.• Pupils know how to use theinternet safely.


92 DOWNLOADSSecondaryDL9: Working with pupils who bullyDoes the pupil understand that homophobicbullying is not acceptable in school?Do they understand why?YesNoPupils cannot be expected to learn by themselvesthat homophobic bullying is unacceptable.They need to be told.Does the pupil understand that homophobiclanguage is unacceptable – “I’m not readingthat, it’s gay”?YesNoIf a pupil is not told that homophobic language isalways unacceptable, they may not understand thathomophobic bullying is wrong.Are there opportunities in school to talk aboutthe damage that homophobic bullying does?Do young people understand that it is notacceptable in society?YesNoPupils may not realise that treating gay peopledifferently is now illegal in the workplace and isunacceptable in society. Do they realise theirattitudes are prejudiced?Do parents understand that homophobicbullying is wrong, regardless of their opinionabout gay people? Do pupils understandthe difference?YesNoEven if pupils and parents have certain religious ormoral views about gay people, this does not meanthat bullying people is allowed.Are staff confident about discussing issuesabout sexual orientation in class, even ifpupils express uncomfortable opinions?Do they know the difference between strongviews and bullying?YesNoPupils should not be discouraged from expressingtheir views about gay people and issues but theyshould understand the difference betweenexpressing an opinion and bullying.Do pupils understand the sanctions that arein place in relation to homophobic bullying?Do parents understand?NoPupils who bully need to understand that thesanctions applied to them will be the same as anyother form of bullying.


DOWNLOADS 93Primary and SecondaryDL10: Working with parents and carersHave you communicated and consulted withparents/carers about changes to policiesrelating to homophobic bullying?YesNoParents/carers are less likely to be resistant tostrategies to prevent homophobic bullying ifthey’ve been involved in plans.Do parents/carers understand that they have aresponsibility to stop their child bullying?YesDo parents/carers understand how to spotsigns that their child is being bullied?Do they understand that homophobic bullyingdoes not necessarily mean their child is gay?YesDo parents/carers know how to complainabout homophobic bullying? Do they knowhow to raise issues with the school?YesDo all parents/carers feel able to be involvedin school life? Are messages home inclusive?Do you talk about “parents” instead ofassuming all pupils have a “mum or a dad”?Can gay parents get involved?YesDo parents/carers know where they can findsupport and information if their child is gay?Do they feel confident supporting their child?NoNoNoNoNoParents/carers need to understand that they have arole to play in responding to homophobic bullying.Parents/carers report incidents of bullying butmay not know how to talk to a school abouthomophobic bullying. An open dialoguebetween parents/carers and teachers/staffwill encourage reporting.If parents/carers don’t know who, what and how toreport incidents, a situation may continue and getworse. Parents/carers must feel confident in schoolprocesses.If gay parents/carers think they will be treateddifferently, they are less likely to be involved inschool life. Parents/carers and schools need towork together.Parents/carers can respond negatively if their childis gay, sometimes even making them leave home.If they are supportive, pupils are more likely to tellabout homophobic bullying.


94 DOWNLOADSPrimary and SecondaryDL11: Schools with a religious character(faith schools) and homophobic bullyingIn any school there will be pupils and staff with a religious faith. In addition there are schools designated witha religious character. All the faith communities supporting this guidance are clear that homophobic bullying isunacceptable. Schools should develop clear tactics which challenge any homophobic bullying based onmisunderstanding of religious teachings or practice.IssueTacticsVision statement of the schoolEnsure that the school vision statement rejects allforms of bullying.CurriculumAll schools should review teaching within theirreligious education curriculum, PSHE, SEALprogramme or related programmes to ensure thatthe anti bullying stance of the school is clear.Assemblies and collective worshipThese provide opportunities to make clear the antibullying stance of the school.Use of faith community representativesHeadteachers and Governors should ensure thatrepresentatives of faith communities are clear aboutthe legal and school stance on homophobicbullying. Headteachers should monitor thecontribution by faith community representativesinto the school to ensure the school vision isbeing met.Pupil support systemsA pupil using a faith-based reason to validatehomophobic bullying should be challenged in thesame way as for any other pupil – stating the schoolstance and developing empathetic understanding.Specific religious teaching may also be used tosupplement this approach and faith communityrepresentatives may have a key role in challengingthe pupil’s understanding and actions.


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96 DOWNLOADSPrimary and SecondaryDL12: How to talk to pupils abouthomophobic languageA pupil makes a homophobic remark such as“That’s so gay” or “Oi, pass me a pen you dyke”. NoDoes the school have an explicit policy statinghomophobic language is unacceptable?Parents/carers are less likely to be resistant to strategies toprevent homophobic bullying if they’ve beeninvolved in plans.Staff cannot intervene effectively and respond tohomophobic language if it is not part of policiesand procedures.YesTell the pupil that homophobic language is notacceptable in school. Explain that homophobiclanguage is offensive and a form of bullying.Does the pupil understand?NoYesThere may be some lapses, and you may have tosay it again, but pupils begin to understand thathomophobic language is unacceptable and it stops.The pupil continues to make comments, asdoes the rest of the class. Explain in more detailthe effect that homophobic bullying has onpeople. Does it stop?NoYesThe culture of a school is changing. In the same waypupils understand racism is unacceptable, theybegin to understand that homophobic bullying andlanguage is unacceptable.Remove the pupil from the classroom and talkto them in more detail about the effects ofhomophobic bullying. Outline that homophobiclanguage is a form of bullying. Does the pupilunderstand?NoYesPupils need to understand that homophobicbullying is a form of discrimination and is takenseriously by the school. Pupils who understand thisshould stop using homophobic language. Pupilswho experience homophobic bullying will be moreconfident about discussing other incidents with youif the school is seen to tackle incidents.Involve senior managers. The pupil shouldunderstand the sanctions that will apply ifthey continue to use homophobic language.Does this help?NoYesContinued overIt takes time to teach young people thathomophobic bullying is unacceptable, especially ifit has not been challenged in the past.


DOWNLOADS 97Primary and SecondaryNoInvite parents in to discuss the attitude of thepupil. Even if parents, and pupils, think gaypeople should be treated differently, this doesnot mean homophobic bullying and languageis acceptable. Pupils cannot be expected tolearn by themselves that homophobic bullyingis unacceptable. They need to be told.ParentsrespondnegativelyTake time to explain to parents why thispolicy is important as part of the antibullyingpolicy of the school. Explain that allpupils should be able to feel safe at school.Reiterate that they have an obligation to helpschools uphold policies.


98 DOWNLOADSPrimary and SecondaryDL13: Promoting positive messages aboutdifferent familiesSchools can find ways of discussing different families in age appropriate ways; this teaches pupils aboutrespecting others who are not like themselves, which in turn discourages them from bullying. Young people,who are experiencing homophobic bullying because they have gay parents or family members, will feel betterabout telling a teacher if they know the school welcomes and respects their family. The following are someideas for discussing families in class.Age group Lesson ideas other responses and strategies4-7 Families are different• Who is in our family? Ask pupils todraw pictures of their family.• Talk about the differences betweenfamilies – why are families different?How are they different?• What other sorts of families arethere?• Ask the class to draw imaginaryfamilies and display them.Relevant learning points:• Families can be different but they alldo the same sort of thing.• If pupils tease other pupils for having gayparents, they should understand that thisis a form of bullying and is not fair or nice.This should fit within a general antibullyingstrategy. Pupils need tounderstand that everyone is different.• Supporting pupils will be easier ifteachers and support staff know theircircumstances. Make sure literatureencourages lesbian and gay parents tofeel included. They are more likely to tellyou they are gay if they know you won’ttreat them, or their child, differently.• Take care to be inclusive of all pupils ingeneral activities.8-11 TV Families• What do families look like ontelevision?• Are they like our families?• How are they different? Do they actlike your family?• What sort of families don’t appear ontelevision?• Teachers should make an effort to findopportunities to introduce the idea ofdifferent families, including families withgay parents. This will discouragehomophobic bullying.


DOWNLOADS 99Primary and SecondaryAge group Lesson ideas other responses and strategies8-11 continued • Why don’t they appear on television?This is an opportunity to talk aboutgay families and why they might notappear on television.• What views do other groups haveabout families?Relevant learning points:• The media does not always reflectwhat society really looks like.• The media has an impact on how wesee the world.• Sometimes the media may excludepeople, including gay people.• If pupils bully other pupils for having gayparents, they should be told clearly thatthis is a form of bullying and is coveredby the anti-bullying policy. This shouldinvolve a general discussion aboutbullying including the way it affects aschool and individual pupils.• Schools should be aware that whenpupils enter secondary school, they arelikely to come into contact with morepupils, some of whom are likely to havegay parents or family members.Discussing different families is a keyaspect of transition to secondary school.11-14 Making families work• What needs to be in place to makea family work well? Pupils can beguided to talk about respect andlistening to each other, the need tounderstand each other.• Why do things not always work sowell? Where do areas of conflictarise? Pupils can talk about incidentswhere things go wrong.• What strategies can pupils introduceto make families work moreeffectively? What can they do?What should other members of thefamily do?• What role do older members of thefamily play, such as grandparents?What about siblings?• What might parents/carers beconcerned about?• Gay parents/carers of pupils enteringsecondary school should feel able to tellthe school about this and should expectto be treated the same as heterosexualparents. Schools should indicate inliterature that this will be the case.• Pupils who bully pupils for having gayparents should be told clearly that this isa form of homophobic bullying and willnot be tolerated in the school. Sanctionsshould apply to pupils who continue tobully pupils in this way.• Schools should make efforts to talkinclusively about same-sex parents, forexample, avoid assuming all pupils willhave a “mum and dad”. When schoolsdiscuss marriage, they may also discusscivil partnership and adoption rights forgay people.Continued over


100 DOWNLOADSPrimary and SecondaryDL13 continuedAge group Lesson ideas other responses and strategies11-14 continued Learning points:• Families work for lots of reasons – notjust because they have a mum anda dad. Same sex parents can makegood families.• Families look very different, butthings that go wrong can go wrongfor similar reasons.• What role do pupils play in makingfamilies work?• Schools should ensure that all familiesfeel able to be involved in school events,such as parent teacher associations andare welcome to apply to becomegovernors. This will contribute to a morediverse school culture.14+ Who do we love? Prejudice againstdifference• What does society say aboutrelationships? What constitutesa “good relationship”?• What do different religions say aboutrelationships? Research religiousviews of marriage, divorce, infidelity,same sex relationships.• What sorts of relationships exist inreality?• What is the impact of change in afamily? How can that make peoplefeel?• How can pupils experience bullyingafter divorce, separation orbereavement? What copingmechanisms might they adopt?Learning points:• Society has certain views aboutrelationships. In reality people formrelationships for lots of reasons.• When is it acceptable to judge otherrelationships?• Pupils should understand that same-sexfamilies exist in wider society and theyare likely to encounter them in a place ofwork. Treating a person differently in thework place because of their sexualorientation is against the law.• Schools should be aware that sometimesparents form same-sex relationships,even if they have previously been marriedto someone of the opposite sex.Acknowledging same sex parentingarrangements exist, and that they are notinferior, will help the pupil cope with theregular issue of family change morereadily. It will also make them more likelyto report incidents of homophobicbullying.


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102 DOWNLOADSSecondaryDL14: How to support lesbian, gay andbisexual pupilsThis script outlines possible ways to respond to a pupil who tells you they are lesbian, gay or bisexual.Remember to remind pupils that they can talk to you in confidence, but if they say anything which constitutesa safeguarding risk, you will need to involve other people. Being gay is not in itself a risk, but when it is judgedthat a young person is at risk of significant harm in some other way this will result in an obligation to disclose.Pupil: Sir, I think I might be gay.Staff: Ok. I’m glad you’ve come to talk to me about it. How do you feel?Pupil: Scared, alone, I don’t know anyone else who is gay.Staff: Well, you won’t be the only gay pupil in this school. It is ok to be gay you know. Have you discussed thiswith your parents?Pupil: No. I don’t want to tellthem because I’m worried abouthow they’ll react.Pupil: No, but I’m going to tellthem soon.Pupil: Yes. My dad refuses tospeak to me.Staff: Ok, we can talk about thatlater and think about some waysto approach it.Staff: Good. Have you thoughtabout how they might react?Staff: Ok, well we can help youwith that. What does your mumsay? Is there anyone else in yourfamily who can help? There areorganisations that can help –I can give you their details.Staff: Have you met anybody else who is gay? Or joined any groups or looked at resources?Pupil: No. I’m not sure where tobegin. I’d like to meet otherpeople.Pupil: Yes, I’ve looked on someinternet sites but haven’t metanyone my own age yet.Pupil: Yes. I’ve gone to the localbar and club sometimes, whenI’ve been able to get in.


DOWNLOADS 103SecondaryStaff: Well, there’s a local youthgroup that meets every week.There are also websites foryoung people. I can give you thedetails of them, and someadvice about how to use theinternet safely.Staff: There are some goodyouth sites. I’ll give you thedetails, but you need to verycareful on the web. If you findthat you are being contacted byadults be very cautious and alerta parent/carer or teacherimmediately.Staff: Have you thought aboutgoing to the local youth groupinstead? You’ll be able to meetpeople of your own age. You areunderage, and shouldn’t begoing to clubs. I’ll get you thedetails.Staff: Does anyone at school know? Has anyone treated you any differently because you are gay?Pupil: No, they don’t know, andI don’t want them too either. I’mscared I’ll get bullied.Pupil: Some know and aresupportive, but I don’t want theothers to find out.Pupil: Yes, they all know andsome of the boys give me a hardtime about it.Staff: We won’t let that happen.Homophobic bullying is nottolerated in this school, and wewill respond effectively to anyincidents.Staff: What do your friendsthink? Will they be supportive?We won’t tolerate homophobicbullying in this school.Staff: I’m glad you’ve told me. I’llbe able to help you sort this out.Do you feel able to give me anynames/times when incidentshave occurred?Staff: I’m glad you’ve told me. You have nothing to be ashamed of – lots of people are gay. I will find you thedetails of the youth group – that is better than going to clubs and pubs. And I’ll find details of groups that yourparents might want to contact. I also want you to tell me if anybody bullies you. We can’t stop it if you don’ttell us.


104 DOWNLOADSSecondaryDL15: Coming out storiesAmanda, 15I realised I was a lesbian at quite a young age – I thinkI was 12 or 13 when I realised but I didn’t tell anyoneor do anything about it until I was 14. Before then I’dgone out with boys and tried to fit in with the othergirls but I wasn’t really comfortable. I first told mybest mate at the time that I fancied girls. She wasshocked but promised not to tell anyone. She didthough. She told all the other girls in our group that Ihad said I had fancied her. They told all the boys andthen suddenly everyone knew. They said they didn’twant to get changed with me during gym because Iwas looking at them. My teacher made me wait untilthey had all finished changing and then I changedeven though it made me late for class.I eventually found a local youth group. Not many girlsgo, but they are better mates than the mates atschool and at least I get to hang out without gettingthe p**s taken out of me all the time. I’d like to meetother girls, and get a girlfriend but I don’t knowwhere to go to do that. My parents check what I usethe internet for so I don’t want to use the computerat home; I haven’t told my parents yet. I don’t think Icould use the school computers. We never mentiongay stuff in school, unless it’s to have a go at someoneso I don’t really feel able to be myself. When everyonetalks about which film star they fancy or whatever, Ijust go quiet and stay out of it. School is quite a lonelyplace to be, but I’ll be through soon then I can goelsewhere.Stephan, 18At primary school I always played with girls and neverplayed football with the boys. I was teased a lot for itby the boys at school but felt confident that therewas nothing wrong about boys playing with girls andthe teasing never got to me. Things changed atsecondary school however, and my inability tointeract with other boys through things like footballwas immediately picked up on. I heard the usualinsults about me being gay or a faggot, not onlybecause I didn’t like football and sports, but because Iwas intelligent and because I came from a certaintype of family (not working class). My intelligenceand perceived background (it was an inner citysecondary school and I had well spoken andintelligent parents with professional jobs) wereviewed as signs that I was gay.I had worked out that I was gay – and the fact Icouldn’t change it – by the time I was 13 but didn’tdare to tell anyone. The bullying continued in allareas, both physical and verbal, and by everyone.By Year 9 it became particularly acute during PEclasses leading me to dread taking part. I startedforging permission from my parents to excuse mefrom PE and that escalated to me truanting off schooland forging sick notes from my mum. A couple oftimes I got caught at home truanting by my dad, andwhen my mum and dad sat me down and asked whyI had to tell them I was being bullied and how severeit was. I didn’t want to mention that I was gay andpeople were calling me gay. My dad, who was chairof governors at my school, was furious that his sonwas suffering from such fear and paranoia andapproached the school to demand that I be excusedfrom PE on the grounds it was essentially making me


DOWNLOADS 105Secondarymentally ill. The school complied and I spent the lasttwo years at school not attending PE which stoppedme being exposed to the worst of the bullying.We got internet access at home when I was 14 – Ithink my parents wanted to give me some access tothe outside world as I didn’t have any friends at alleither inside or outside school. Through the internetI found out more information about being gay andgay lifestyles and made some friends online whosupported me. They supported me through comingout to my sister and my mum and dad at 15 and theyall were fine about it. Living in London was beneficialin that I knew that I could access a community if Iwanted to, but on a few occasions I was made to feelvery uncomfortable, particularly because I wasn’tsexually active and had no desire to be at 15, so Ididn’t feel comfortable going to gay venues.After school I attended a FE college, far away from myhome so as to get away from the bullies. I felt entirelycomfortable about my sexuality and made friends Icould be open about it with.


106 DOWNLOADSPrimaryDL16: Responding to verbal incidents inprimary schoolPupils in primary school may not necessarily understand that their comments are inappropriate and constitutebullying. This script can be used by school staff who are considering how they might handle a verbal incident.It provides a model for them to think through. When responding to an actual incident staff will also want toconsider the school’s hierarchy of sanctions and existing guidance on behaviour and bullying.John and Sam are in the playground. Sam calls John a “gay boy” because he fell over and started crying.Questions to be asked by the teacherPoints to considerJohn tells you what Sam has said, or you overheard it.To John: Hello, can you tell me what just happened?Has John got gay parents or other family memberswho are gay? Is this a motivating factor for thehomophobic comment?To Sam: Can you tell me what you just said?Sam should repeat what has been said. Does herealise at this stage that his comment wasinappropriate?To Sam: What made you say this?Try and establish why homophobic bullying hasplayed a part here. Does the pupil understand thedifference between heterosexual people and gaypeople, or is his comment made in ignorance?To Sam: How do you think your comment madeJohn feel, Sam?Does Sam understand that his comment can behurtful?To John: How do you feel about what Sam said John?Make sure Sam understands how John feels.To Sam: Sam, do you understand that callingsomeone “gay” because they are upset isn’t very nice?Sam needs to understand that calling someone“gay” because he’s done something that he thinksis weak is not acceptable.


DOWNLOADS 107PrimaryQuestions to be asked by the teacherPoints to considerSam says: But Sarah’s mum is gay.Sam is confused because sometimes the word gayis used to describe someone, but when he uses it,it is bad.To Sam: Sam, some people are gay, and there isnothing wrong with that. But when you use words totease someone that becomes mean. John is veryupset about what you said.Does Sam understand the difference? Sam has tounderstand the harm he has done to John.To John: What would you like Sam to do now John?John must have the opportunity to say what hewould like to happen.To Sam: What do you think you should do Sam?Can Sam identify ways to resolve the conflict?To Sam: I think you should say sorry to John, andpromise not to use those words again.You should agree some actions with John and Sam,depending on the sanctions that your schoolnormally uses.You must now keep an eye on Sam, and ensure that he understands why this language shouldn’t be used, anddoesn’t do it again. If he continues to do it, then you might have to follow the hierarchy of sanctions to preventhomophobic bullying happening in the future.


108 DOWNLOADSSecondaryDL17: Responding to verbal incidents insecondary schoolPupils in secondary school are likely to understand that gay people exist, and therefore their comments will bemade in this context.Laura has been experiencing homophobic bullying for some time. A group of girls have been spreadingrumours about her and excluding her and calling her names. Laura has told you what is going on, and youhave organised a meeting with the girls involved. Laura has chosen not to be there. This script should be usedwith the school’s behaviour policy in mind and alongside wider guidance on bullying and behaviour.Questions to be asked by the teacherPoints to considerTeacher: I understand that something has been goingon between you and Laura? Can you tell me whathas happened?Will they recognise that they have beenbullying Laura? Will they understand that theyhave been homophobic?Girls: She’s a lezza miss. She keeps looking at usfunny, she fancies us. It’s weird.This is a common excuse for homophobic bullyingand can distract from the main issue.Teacher: Can you tell me how you’ve been treatingLaura?It is important that you neither confirm nor denythat Laura is gay. It’s not relevant to this conversation;what is important is that they are treating Lauradifferently because they think she is gay.Girls: We don’t want to hang out with her, or getchanged in front of her.They are acknowledging that they are excluding her.Teacher: Anything else?It is important that they understand what hashappened.Girls: Well, we call her names and stuff but shedeserves it.And admit what has happened.Teacher: And are you all involved?What part does each of them take in the bullying?


DOWNLOADS 109SecondaryQuestions to be asked by the teacherPoints to considerGirls: Well yeah, none of us want to be friends witha dyke.Teacher: What effect do you think this is having onLaura?The girls should think about the effect that theirbehaviour is having on Laura.Teacher: Do you think Laura wants to be treateddifferently?The girls need to consider their behaviour in thecontext of prejudice.Teacher: Do you realise that what you are doing isa form of bullying?The girls may not understand that their behaviourconstitutes bullying.Teacher: Do you understand what sanctions are inplace for people who bully? This school will nottolerate homophobic bullying under anycircumstances.The girls must link the fact that they are beinghomophobic with the fact that this is a formof bullying, and that the hierarchy of sanctionswill apply.Teacher: Ok, how are we going to make this situationbetter?Give the girls an opportunity to consider how theycan change their behaviour.Teacher: I think it would be a good idea to haveanother meeting with Laura where we can talkabout this further and you can start by apologising.It is important to ensure that the girls understandthat their behaviour will not be tolerated again andthey must make amends.Teacher: If this behaviour continues, more serioussteps will be taken – this might mean a meetingwith the Head teacher.It is essential that Laura can continue to discussincidents with you, and the girls know you aremonitoring their behaviour.


110 DOWNLOADSSecondaryDL18: Responding to physicalhomophobic bullyingThis summarises how staff should respond to seriousincidents of physical homophobic bullying wheresafeguarding is a concern. It is intended to be used inthe context of existent school policy and alongsidecurrent guidance on behaviour and bullying.Information about day-to-day intervention strategiescan be found in the section relating to verbal abuse.Identifying possible incidents of physical abuse• You observe an incident of physical abuse.• Make sure your interaction with the pupil issensitive. Do not assume that the pupil is gay; thismay discourage them from discussing the issuewith you.• Decide what action needs to be taken – can theissue be resolved between staff, the pupil andthe bully? Can the same methods of interventionused in verbal bullying be applied in this case?• Is it an isolated incident or has it been going onfor some time?• Follow agreed sanctions, as set out in the schoolanti-bullying policy.Responding to a pupil who tells you about anincident• Respond promptly and calmly to the pupil’sdisclosure. Do not assume that they are gay, justbecause they have experienced homophobicbullying. However, be responsive and respectfulif they do tell you they are gay.• Make it clear that it will be necessary to tell otherpeople about the incident. This does not meanyou will tell people that the pupil is gay, justabout the physical abuse. Make sure you followprocedures for reporting incidents.• Give the pupil appropriate reassurance andsupport.• Talk to the pupil at their pace; do not rush themor ask them unnecessary questions.• Record the incident, and the details of the incident.• Follow agreed procedures, as set out in theschool anti-bullying policy.Following policies and procedures• Record all the information whilst it’s still fresh inyour memory.• Make sure you make a distinction between whatyou have been told, what you observed, andwhat you’ve learnt from elsewhere.• Make sure that information that can be keptconfidential (for example, if a pupil has told youthey are gay) is kept confidential. Be familiar withschool policy on confidentiality, and the timeswhen you must breach this (e.g. when it is judgedthat the young person is at risk of significantharm). This is particularly important if otheragencies (and parents) are likely to be involved inthe case later on.• Make sure that some members of the schoolbullying team are aware of the incident. This willbe important if the situation escalates, and otherpeople might have to arbitrate.Future work• Ensure that the pupil is safe and is notexperiencing on-going homophobic physicalabuse.• Examine new strategies for preventinghomophobic bullying.• Follow the hierarchy of sanctions to ensurebullies are held to account.• Work with the bullies. Find out why they arebehaving in this way


DOWNLOADS 111Primary and SecondaryDL19: School evaluation form for headteachers preventing and respondingto homophobic bullyingObjective Example of progress Your school’s activityProviding leadership.Head teachers recognise theunique role that they have toprovide clear leadership to theschool community in preventinghomophobic bullying.• Announcement to parents/carers, pupils, staff andgovernors that the headteacher will take the lead inpreventing homophobicbullying.• Staff feel empowered andable to respond to incidents.Acknowledging homophobicbullying.Head teachers acknowledge thathomophobic bullying exists andrecognise that specific strategiesneed to be introduced toprevent it.• Inclusion of homophobicbullying in the writtenstatement of generalprinciples.• Discussion with governors andstrategy approved.Understanding the legalimperatives for preventingand responding tohomophobic bullying.Head teachers understand theirlegal obligations to keep childrenand young people safe.• Familiar with the law and howthis applies to keeping pupilssafe.• Communicated theseresponsibilities to the seniorleadership team and antibullyinglead.Identified who experienceshomophobic bullying and inwhat contexts.Head teachers understandhomophobic bullying and what itlooks like and who is affected.• Head teachers know how tospot incidents of homophobicbullying.• Head teachers and staffrecognise that anyone canexperience homophobicbullying.


112 DOWNLOADSPrimary and SecondaryObjective Example of progress Your school’s activityCollected dataHead teachers recognisethat gathering data abouthomophobic bullying isessential if it is to be prevented.Barriers might exist to reporting,so head teachers think of avariety of ways of collectingdata.• Checked to see whetherexisting reporting structurescan be expanded to includehomophobic bullying.• Asked staff and parents/carers about their thoughtsand experiences.• Asked pupil councils andpeer mentors.• Developed confidentialreporting structures.• Conducted “soft” anonymoussurveys.Raising awarenessHeads recognise thathomophobic bullying won’t beprevented if people don’t knowwhat it is, or what counts ashomophobic bullying. Theyrecognise that parents mightalso be resistant if they don’tfully understand what isbeing done.• Consultation with parents/carers and regular up-datesabout work and progress.• Consultation with staff,including increasedawareness about their rightsand responsibilities.• Information sharing andtraining with senior leadersand governors.Developing policiesHeads recognise thatdeveloping policies to includehomophobic bullying isessential.• Updated existing antibullyingpolicies to includehomophobic bullying.• Conducted an audit of otherpolicies and identified wherehomophobic bullying mightbe relevant and amendedaccordingly.


DOWNLOADS 113Primary and SecondaryObjective Example of progress Your school’s activityEvaluated curriculumopportunitiesHead teachers recognise thatthe curriculum creates manyopportunities to discusshomophobic bullying, andprevent it, in an age-appropriateway.• Met with subject heads andidentified opportunitiesfor discussion abouthomophobic bullying.• Identified opportunities intutorial time and groupdiscussion.Working with parentsHead teachers recognise thatparents need to help prevent allforms of bullying, includinghomophobic bullying.• All staff know how todefend actions to preventhomophobic bullying toparents.• All parents/carers (includingthose who are gay) feel ableto be involved in school life.Working with staffHead teachers understand thatstaff who experience bullyingare unlikely to be happy inschool.• All staff should feel protectedfrom homophobic bullyingand be supported by thesenior leadership team if anyincidents arise.• All staff should feel confident,motivated and empoweredto respond to homophobicbullying and have the tools todo so.TrainingHead teachers understand thatnew and existing staff needtraining to effectively preventand respond to homophobicbullying.• Head teachers have identifieda training strategy for all staff.• Head teachers have discussedtraining provision with thelocal authority and otherlocal schools.


114 DOWNLOADSPrimary and SecondaryObjective Example of progress Your school’s activityMulti-agency working.Head teachers recognise thathomophobic bullying can putyoung people at risk andtherefore working with otheragencies is important to keeppupils safe.• Schools have contacted theirlocal authority to see whatthey are doing abouthomophobic bullying.• Schools have identified otherpartners who may be able tohelp with training andintervention in cases ofhomophobic bullying.Celebrating progressHead teachers recognise that aschool community is motivatedwhen they feel they are makingprogress.• Alert other agencies andschools about the workbeing done.• Invite speakers who cancelebrate the work beingdone.• Write to parents andgovernors about progress.Supporting lesbian, gay andbisexual pupils in secondaryschools.Head teachers recognise thatsensitive responses to gay pupilswill help them feel safe, moreable to be themselves, and moreconfident about reportingincidents of homophobicbullying.• Teachers and staff know howto provide support to pupilswho are lesbian, gay orbisexual.• Teachers and staff knowwhen to respectconfidentiality and to spotincidents where pupils are atrisk, and when they are safe.Developing interventionstrategies.Head teachers understand thatincidents of homophobicbullying must be dealt withwithin a hierarchy of sanctions.• The sanctions have beenaudited and amended toincorporate homophobicbullying.• All staff understand thesensitivities aroundhomophobic bullying.


DOWNLOADS 115Primary and SecondaryObjective Example of progress Your school’s activityManaging complaints andcompliments.Head teachers understand thatparents/carers and pupils maywant to complain aboutincidents and this is a valuabletool for improvingunderstanding.• Parents and carers know howto complain and how theircomplaint will be dealt with.• Pupils know how to raisecomplaints and understandthat they will be supported ifthey raise concerns.


116 DOWNLOADSSecondaryDL20: Ideas about how to discuss homophobicbullying in secondary schoolIdeaNotes to considerDuring tutorial time, encourage pupils to thinkabout what forms homophobic bullying takes. Is itjust about bullying gay pupils?Think about:• Language pupils’ use with each other.• How pupils judge others when they don’t act inan expected way.• How we assume being different is inferior.• What are the similarities and differencesbetween racist bullying, religious bullying andsexist bullying?• If there are gay pupils in your class, be careful notto treat them differently or expect them to offermore insight or observations, unless they wantto. Gay pupils report that when issues relating tosexual orientation are raised in class, they arepicked out, or referred to by name in examples.• Expect some views to be uncomfortable. Pupilswon’t learn overnight that homophobic bullyingis unacceptable, nor will they be expected tochange their mind immediately. The point is toindicate that homophobic bullying isunacceptable.Produce an age-appropriate poster or leaflet thatexplains what homophobic bullying is and theeffect it has. Circulate this via notice boards, or viathe school intranet.Think about:• Pupils who experience homophobic bullyingdon’t always consider it to be a form of bullying.They need to be able to identify incidents.• Pupils may not want to raise issues aboutbullying in a public place. This gives them thetools they need.• Bullies may not know they are bullies. This givesthem a private space to consider their actions.• Ensure that the leaflet details what bullying is,and includes reference to cyberbullying andbullying outside school.• State explicitly that homophobic bullying is nottolerated in schools, and staff will respondeffectively if they are told about incidents.Some pupils fear that staff will bully them aswell, especially if they are gay.• Provide age-appropriate information aboutwhere gay pupils can get external support –such as good websites, or local youth groups.• Consider naming a teacher who pupils candiscuss sexuality issues with. This will reassurethem that the teacher will be trustworthy.Neither staff nor pupils should feel obliged todisclose any personal information.


DOWNLOADS 117SecondaryIdeaNotes to considerDiscuss with pupils the sensitivities aroundreporting homophobic bullying, and ask themto come up with ways to improve reporting ofincidents.Learning objectives• pupils to understand why there might besensitivities around reporting homophobicbullying.• to set out how the school responds to incidentsof homophobic bullying.• Pupils will be anxious about reportinghomophobic bullying and this collective processwill give you an opportunity to reiterate that staffunderstand these sensitivities.• Pupils are more likely to use systems that theyhave helped develop themselves. They will alsobe more likely to spot the loopholes in anysystem.Sign up to national schemes, use resources fromother organisations, seek out good practice andshare your own.• Talk about homophobic bullying in generalwork, as well as during tutorial, via newsletters,intranet, and celebratory days, including LGBTHistory month.


118 DOWNLOADSPrimaryDL21: Key stage 1Teachers can use this grid to think about opportunities to raise issues relevant to anti-bullying includinghomophobic bullying. Staff will already be mindful of the fact that some children may come from familieswhere there is only one parent, where a parent/s may be deceased, or where children live with grand-parentsor are in care. When planning and delivering lessons at KS1 staff will also want to consider if some pupils mayhave same-sex parents or lesbian and gay family members.Staff will find that using this grid in conjunction with theme 3 of SEAL “Say no to bullying” is helpful. Staff willneed to ensure that any conversations about homophobic bullying are age-appropriate. Where KS1 pupilsunknowingly use homophobic language staff will want to consider advice in Download 16 (Responding toverbal incidents in Primary School) on how to respond.Teaching points for class:Relevance to homophobic bullying:That there are different types of teasing andbullying, that bullying is wrong and that if they arebeing bullied they know how to get help.Pupils understand what homophobic bullying is,the harm it can do, and what the school does tostop it.To agree and follow rules for their group andclassroom and understand how rules help them.Why rules exist to stop homophobic bullying.Rules to help pupils keep safe, and people that canhelp them stay safe.Pupils understand where they can go if they areexperiencing homophobic bullying, and who theycan tell.How to recognise how their behaviour affects otherpeople.Pupils understand that their actions, such as callinga pupil “gay” or teasing them for having same sexparents can affect them, and why it is bullying.To identify and respect the differences andsimilarities between people.Pupils understand that not all pupils have a mumand a dad, and might have important people intheir life who are gay. Pupils respect thesedifferences.


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120 DOWNLOADSPrimaryDL22: Key stage 2Teachers can use this grid to think about cross-curricular opportunities to teach specifically about anti-bullyingincluding homophobic bullying. They may find it helpful to use this in association with theme 3 of the SEALresource pack, “Say no to bullying”.Teaching points for class:Relevance tohomophobic bullying:Other curriculumopportunities:To realise the nature andconsequences of racism, teasing,bullying and aggressivebehaviours and how to respondto them and ask for help.Pupils, in this context, canequally learn about the natureand consequences ofhomophobic bullying, includinghow to respond and ask for help.Circle time: What is bullying?Why do people bully? Whymight some be bullied? Howcan we stop it?To realise the consequences ofanti-social and aggressivebehaviours, such as bullying andracism, on individuals andcommunities.Homophobic bullying is antisocialand aggressive. Pupilsunderstand this.Circle time: Who experiencesdiscrimination and bullying insociety? What happens? Whodoes the bullying? Do similarthings happen in school?Why and how rules and laws aremade and enforced, whydifferent rules are needed indifferent situations and how totake part in making andchanging rules.Pupils understand that theschool makes and sets rulesabout homophobic bullying inorder to stop it happening.Pupils have input into thoserules.Group work: What rules exist insociety that protect minoritiesfrom discrimination? Why dothese rules exist? What similarrules do we have in schools?To recognise and challengestereotypes.Pupils understand thatsometimes “boys don’t act likeboys” and “girls don’t act likegirls”. Pupils understand thatbullying someone in this contextcan be a form of homophobicbullying.Project work: Do girls and boysbehave in the same way? Inwhat way are they different?How do we expect girls andboys to behave? What happenswhen they don’t?


DOWNLOADS 121PrimaryTeaching points for class:Relevance tohomophobic bullying:Other curriculumopportunities:That differences and similaritiesbetween people arise from anumber of factors.Pupils understand that somepeople are lesbian, gay orbisexual and this does not makethem inferior nor does it justifydiscrimination and bullying.Different families: How arefamilies shown on television andin the media? How does thatdiffer to our own families? Whatsimilarities are there?That their actions affectthemselves and others, to careabout other people’s feelingsand try to see things from theirpoint of view.Pupils understand that not allyoung people will be the sameas them, and bullying them forbeing “different” is unfair andunkind.Group activity: Feelings tree.How do I feel today? Whatmakes me feel better? Whatmakes me feel worse? How doesbeing bullied affect how I feel?How does bullying someonemake me feel?


122 DOWNLOADSSecondaryDL23: Key stage 3Teachers can use this grid to think about opportunities to teach specifically about anti-bullying includinghomophobic bullying. The teaching points provide examples of curriculum contexts other than PSHE.Teaching points for class:Relevance tohomophobic bullying:Other curriculumopportunities:To respect the differencesbetween people as theydevelop their own sense ofidentity.Homophobic bullying occursbecause people are thought tobe “different” and so they aretreated differently. Some peopletry to change their identity toconform or find different friendsand groups.Geography: People come fromdifferent cultures and speakdifferent languages. Somepeople want to live incommunities where they can bewith similar people. For example,Bangladeshi communities, thelarge gay community in Brighton.Why might people do this? Whatare the advantages? What are thedisadvantages?About the effects of all types ofstereotyping, prejudice,bullying, racism anddiscrimination and how tochallenge them assertively.Homophobic bullying is basedin prejudice and discrimination.Pupils who are bullied shouldfeel able to challenge this, andreport incidents. Pupils whobully should understand theeffects of homophobic bullying.History: People have beendiscriminated against in the pastbecause of prejudice. Duringthe holocaust, Jewish, elderly,disabled and gay people werekilled because of their identity.How to empathise with peopledifferent from ourselves.Homophobic bullying occurswhen “boys don’t act like boys”and “girls don’t act like girls”.Pupils should understand thatpeople are different and act indifferent ways and bullyingbecause of this is damaging.PE and sport science: What isthe impact of gender-specificsports? What happens whena boy is good at dancing orgymnastics? What happenswhen a girl is good at rugbyor hockey?


DOWNLOADS 123SecondaryTeaching points for class:Relevance tohomophobic bullying:Other curriculumopportunities:About the role and feelings ofparents and carers and the valueof family life.Pupils should understand thatfamily structures can bedifferent to their own. Pupilsshould feel able to talk abouttheir own families, even if theyhave same sex parents or familymembers, and that the corevalues of families are the same inthis context.Citizenship: What makes familieswork? What things stop familiesworking? Does a family have tohave a mum and a dad in orderto be successful?Feel positive about themselvesand participate.Pupils should feel able to bethemselves in school, andparticipate in activities that theywant to take part in. They shouldbe able to do this withoutexperiencing homophobicbullying.Performing Arts: Ask boys whatit might be like to be the femalecharacter and girls what it mightbe like to be the male character?How does it feel to try and takeon that character’s role? How isgender relevant to theperformance?Find information and advice.Schools who equip lesbian andgay pupils to find informationand support safely will send aclear signal that they can reportincidents of homophobicbullying and be taken seriously.ICT: Pupils can find informationon the internet, and know howto stay safe in chat rooms andmessage boards (see guidanceon cyber-bullying in Safe toLearn).


124 DOWNLOADSSecondaryDL24: Key stage 4 and 16+Teachers can use this grid to think about opportunities to teach specifically about anti-bullying across thecurriculum, including homophobic bullying. Teachers should help pupils make links between what they havelearnt in the school’s SRE/PSHE and other parts of the curriculum about human sexuality and respect forthemselves and others.Teaching points for class:Relevance tohomophobic bullying:Other curriculumopportunities:About the diversity of differentethnic groups and the power ofprejudice.Pupils can also be taught aboutthe impact that prejudice has onthe lesbian, gay and bisexualpopulation, consider howhomophobic bullying manifestsitself in schools, and the impactthis has on society in general.Pupils can also consider howpeople think about their ownsexual orientation, and otherpeople’s.English Literature: Several settexts in English Literature providean opportunity to discuss sexualorientation. “I know why thecaged bird sings” exploresconfusion about sexual identity,leading to unplanned pregnancy.“Captain Correlli’s Mandolin”explores Carlos’ range ofemotions from pride to grief.To challenge offendingbehaviour, prejudice, bullying,racism and discrimination andtake the initiative in giving andreceiving support.Pupils can understand thathomophobic bullying is a formof prejudice and discrimination,and that they have aresponsibility to intervene whenit is occurring amongst otherpupils.Developing pupil supportsystems: Older pupils can helpdevelop and advice on pupilsupport systems that will enablethem to intervene in cases ofhomophobic bullying.


DOWNLOADS 125SecondaryTeaching points for class:Relevance tohomophobic bullying:Other curriculumopportunities:About the nature andimportance of marriage in familylife, the role and responsibilitiesof parents, and the quality ofgood parenting.Pupils can understand thatfamilies take many differentforms, and that same-sexparents can share the same corevalues as opposite sex parents.Developing understanding ofthis difference helps tackleprejudice. Pupils should feel ableto talk about their ownexperiences.Citizenship: Who do we love?What does society say aboutwho we love? What is the impactof Civil Partnerships?Feel positive about themselvesand participate fully.Pupils, regardless of sexualorientation, should feel positiveabout themselves and feel ableto participate fully, even if theiractivities and interests are notthe same as other pupils. This canprompt homophobic bullying,which should be challenged.During group sessions: Olderpupils can deliver sessions toyounger pupils againststereotyping. Older pupilsinvolved in non-traditionalactivities should also showcasewhat they are doing to youngerpupils.Find information and provideadvice.Lesbian, gay and bisexual pupilsshould be able to access adviceand support in order to stay safeand enjoy and achieve. Pupilsshould feel supported inproviding help and advice toyounger pupils experiencinghomophobic bullying.ICT: Pupils know how to findinformation about lesbian, gayand bisexual issues includingfinding information so they canavoid risk-taking experiences.Are able to provide informationand guidance to younger pupils.Are aware how to use theinternet safely (see DCSFguidance on cyber-bullying inSafe to Learn).Prepare for change.Pupils should understand thatextensive legislation exists thatprevents discrimination againstpeople on the grounds of sexualorientation and thathomophobic bullying will notbe tolerated at work.PSHE: The world of work. Whatlaws exist in employment thatprotects people fromdiscrimination? What impactdoes that have on society? Whatimpact does it have on pupilsleaving school?


126 DOWNLOADSPrimary and SecondaryDL25: Holding bullies to accountDoes the pupil understand that the schoolwill not allow homophobic bullying to gounchallenged? Do they understand why?YesNoPupils cannot be expected to learn overnight thathomophobic bullying is unacceptable. They needto learn this.Does the pupil understand the impact theiractions have had on the pupil? Do theyrecognise what they have done?YesNoThe pupil must acknowledge the harm they havedone, and why the actions are in breach of schoolpolicy. They must also, where relevant, understandthat their personal views do not justify bullying.Does the pupil recognise that action needs tobe taken to make the bullied pupil feel better?Do they recognise responsibility?YesNoIt is crucial that the pupil understands that theyhave a role to play in making the situation better.They should make suggestions about next steps,and understand that the bullied person may havea view.Will the pupil make assurances that they will notbully someone again? Do they understand thatthe incident cannot be repeated?YesDoes the pupil understand what othersanctions will apply if they continue to bully?Are they clear about the escalation process,and how this can ultimately end in suspensionor exclusion?YesNoNoThe pupil must understand that the key to resolvingthe incident is a commitment not to re-offend.They must appreciate the importance of a generalchange in his behaviour.Pupils should not be discouraged from expressingtheir views about gay people and issues but theyshould understand the difference betweenexpressing an opinion and bullying.Are parents aware of the policies that applyto homophobic bullying? Do they understandthe consequences of their child’s actions?NoParents need to appreciate the severity ofhomophobic bullying and understand whatsanctions will apply if they are to help preventbullying.


DOWNLOADS 127SecondaryDL26: Supporting those harmed by bullyingA pupil reports an incident of homophobicbullying. Do you understand the effect thathomophobic bullying has on pupils?YesHave you provided a private and calm spacefor the pupil to tell you exactly what hashappened?YesNoNoFamiliarise yourself with this guidance. Don’tassume that the pupil is gay, or necessarily wants totalk to you about being gay. Address the incidentfirst and foremost.The pupil needs to feel safe and able to explain theincident/s. They must be able to give you namesand times and as much detail as possible. Create thespace for this to occur.Have you asked the pupil how the incidenthas made them feel? Is the pupil at risk at all?Is there a need to involve other people andagencies?YesNoNot all pupils experience bullying in the same wayor are affected in the same way. If the pupil isreporting a period of systematic bullying there maybe issues regarding safeguarding that you needto consider.Has the pupil indicated what they would like tohappen and what the next steps should be?Do they understand that the school will take theissue seriously?YesHave you discussed whether or not the pupil ishappy for you to discuss the incident withothers? Are there issues around confidentiality?Do you feel able to record the incident in aformal log?YesNoNoIf the pupil thinks that there are no consequences asa result of their disclosure, they are unlikely to tellyou if any further incidents occur. Establishing nextsteps is central to gaining confidence.Pupils may not want parents to be informed aboutincidents of homophobic bullying. Agree steps totackle the bullying, but be clear to the pupil thesituations in which confidentiality cannot bemaintained (i.e. safeguarding issues)Is the pupil gay? Are there other issuesrelating to safety and support?YesIf the pupil is gay, they may feel responsible for thebullying and may have other concerns. Provideeffective and considerate support.


128 DOWNLOADSSecondaryDL27: The experiences of girlsGirls, and young women, can experience homophobic bullying in ways that are different from boys.Understanding those differences can enable schools to support them more effectively.A girl may experience homophobic bullying if she:• Doesn’t have a boyfriend, or does not wish to have a boyfriend.• Is particularly studious or shy and may not want to do the same things as the other girls.• May have gay parents, or other family members.• May be particularly vocal in her views about gay rights, and women’s rights.• May be good at sports, and enjoy activities that are traditionally “male”.• May be thought to “look gay” or particularly masculine.• Is openly lesbian.The experienceHow to provide supportVerbal abuse: This is the most common form ofbullying for girls. Girls are “accused” of being gay,and excluded from groups. Rumours can be spreadabout her, and can quickly escalate. Girls report thatthey do not want to be associated with girls who aregay, or thought to be gay.Schools should not ignore situations like this. Girlsoften do not report this sort of bullying in case staffassume that they are gay. Staff are often reluctant tointervene because they think it is a private matterbetween girls. Staff should use existing interventionstrategies.Coming out: Coming out can be particularly hardfor a girl. There are very few gay women in themedia, portrayed on the television or in books. Thiscan lead to a particular sense of isolation which iscompounded through bullying. Girls can find it hardto know how to be themselves. Some people alsofind it easier to accept that a boy is gay, but canmore readily dismiss that a girl is gay. Gay womenreport that they are often told that their feelings willpass, and it is just a phase.Young women who are gay need to be able to bethemselves in school and feel that they are notdoing anything wrong by being open about beinggay. They need to know that the school will protectthem from any form of bullying, and they will not betreated any differently by staff. Staff should takecare not to be dismissive if a young womandiscloses that she is gay. This will compound hersense of isolation and discourage her fromdiscussing any incidents of bullying.


DOWNLOADS 129SecondaryThe experienceHow to provide supportGender roles: Bullying is often caused becausegirls don’t dress or act in a way that is thought tobe “like a girl”. A pupil does not have to be gay toexperience this sort of bullying. Some girls who areconsidered more “masculine” for example, may notwear make up, have short hair, wear trousers, don’thave a boyfriend, report that they experiencehomophobic bullying.Some girls report that they are encouraged to dressand present themselves in a more feminine way ifthey experience homophobic bullying. This is notappropriate. Pupils should be able to dress and lookas they want, within the rules of the school. Pupilsshould be reassured that they do not deserve to bebullied because of how they look, and the schoolwill intervene in incidents of bullying.Sport: Girls who are particularly good at sport aresometimes “accused” of being gay. This can leadsome girls to drop out of sport and try to fit in withthe other girls. Gender roles are particularly definedin sport so girls also can feel discouraged fromparticipating in non-traditional sports.A joint approach of tackling sexist bullying andattitudes, as well as homophobic bullying is crucialhere. Schools want pupils to participate in sports,and continue to participate. It is therefore importantto target anti-bullying messages specifically in thisarea of the curriculum.Physical abuse: Both girls and boys can physicallyabuse girls. Some pupils report being touchedinappropriately by boys and girls as well as otherforms of physical abuse. Some girls may feelresponsible for this bullying and therefore bereluctant to report it.Physical abuse raises crucial issues aboutsafeguarding. Pupils must understand that any formof bullying is unacceptable, including physicalbullying. Girls should also be made aware that theyshould not feel under pressure to do anything theydo not want to do.Cyberbullying: As on-line communities becomemore popular the scope to spread rumours andspeculation about a girl increase. Girls who wouldnot normally bully feel able to do so in this context.Girls need to understand that spreading rumoursand accusations via the internet is a form of bullyingand the school will respond to it. A robustcyberbullying policy will enable staff to respondto these incidents. See cyberbullying guidelines inSafe to Learn for further guidance.Risk taking behaviour: Girls who are gay, or thinkthey might be, may seek support somewhere otherthan school, if they do not feel able to be themselvesin that context. Girls report that they visit pubs andclubs in order to meet other women. Some girls alsoreport that if they think they are gay, they feel itnecessary to sleep with a man in order to “prove it”.In this context, sex can be unplanned, and girls donot necessarily take the appropriate precautions.This presents serious safeguarding issues.Young women who think they are gay need to findage-appropriate sources of support, for example,youth groups. Young women need to be taughtabout how to feel positive, without having to resortto risk taking behaviours and situations. Staff shouldbe aware of the unique contexts in which younggay women can be exposed to drink, smoking andpossibly drugs and feel able to offer help.


130 DOWNLOADSSecondaryThe experienceHow to provide supportSocial exclusion: Young people who come out cansometimes encounter negative reactions fromparents and family. This can lead them to feel likethey have to disengage from their family andsometimes leave home. If a girl is experiencingbullying as well, this can make both home andschool a hostile environment.If a girl does not feel supported at school, she mightbe reluctant to talk about incidents at home.Agencies are available to help parents and carers tosupport their children if they are gay. Schools needto demonstrate to pupils that they can help in thissituation and will be supportive of pupils.Outside school: Girls report that homophobicbullying takes place outside school, including onthe way home. Girls who are “boyish” reportincidents of groping and harassment on the bus.Pupils often feel that policies do not apply in thesesettings and that they are not protected, and areunable to report incidents.Anti-bullying policies should make reference toincidents that take place outside school and pupilsshould feel able to report incidents. Working inpartnership with the local police and transportproviders can help in this situation.


DOWNLOADS 131SecondaryDL28: The experiences of boysBoys, and young men, can experience homophobic bullying in ways that are different from girls.Understanding those differences can enable schools to support them more effectively.A boy may experience homophobic bullying if he:• Doesn’t have a girlfriend, and doesn’t want one.• Doesn’t behave like the other boys.• Has more friends who are girls.• Is perceived to be particularly sensitive.• Enjoys subjects and activities that are traditionally thought to be for girls.• Doesn’t enjoy or excel at sports.• Is particularly vocal about gay rights and women’s rights.• Is openly gay.The experienceHow to provide supportVerbal abuse: Boys may experience high levels ofverbal abuse, even if they are not gay. In order toavoid the risk of being called gay, boys may behavein stereotypically masculine ways, and assert theirmasculinity. Calling someone gay, and deridingthem because of it, emphasises the bully’smasculinity.Schools need to intervene swiftly when verbalhomophobic bullying occurs, even if pupils arebeing casual in their abuse. Pupils need tounderstand that calling someone gay as anindication that they are inferior and not manlyenough, is unacceptable.Coming out: Boys who come out at schoolsometimes feel in a very vulnerable positionbecause they are “admitting” to something that isgenerally thought of as bad. Although there are anincreasing number and range of role models for gaymen, the hostile environment of a school can have asignificant impact on self-esteem and self-worth.Schools need to ensure that boys who are openlygay are given appropriate support and understandthat there is nothing wrong with them being gay,and it does not mean they deserve to be bullied.Staff need to ensure that they do not treat the pupilany differently.


132 DOWNLOADSSecondaryThe experienceHow to provide supportGender roles: Schools can perpetuate a rigid viewof the ways in which boys should behave and act.Boys who are told to “be a man” and to stopbehaving like a “bunch of women”, are thereforediscouraged from being themselves, and leads tobullying of those who do not conform to fixed ideasabout gender.Schools need to challenge ideas about how boysand girls should behave and take care not toreinforce stereotypes. Accepting a range ofbehaviours in boys is central to preventinghomophobic bullying.Sport: Boys report that organised sport at schoolsprovides a relatively unprotected space wherehomophobic bullying occurs. Bullying also occurswhen boys aren’t particularly good at a sport, andare reluctant to participate. Bullying discouragesboys from participating in sport.Schools want pupils to engage in sport andtargeted strategies should be in place to preventand respond to homophobic bullying in changingrooms and during activities. Schools should alsoconsider providing a range of activities so boys canfind safe ways of engaging.Physical abuse: Boys are more likely to reportincidents of physical abuse. Boys who are gay, orthought to be gay, can experience levels of physicaland sexual abuse. For example, boys may be madeto undress, may be touched inappropriately byother boys, and may be beaten up. Boys may bereluctant to report incidents, and incidents may bedismissed as “rough and tumble”.Physical abuse raises crucial safeguarding issues fora pupil. Boys who experience physical homophobicbullying may think they are somehow at fault andmay be embarrassed about what has happened. Ifthey are being called gay, they may think that it isequally “gay” and “weak” to report incidents. Schoolsneed to indicate to boys that this sort of behaviour isunacceptable and be able to provide support.Cyberbullying: As on-line communities becomemore popular the scope to spread rumours andspeculation about a boy increases. Boys who wouldnot normally bully feel able to do so in this context.Boys need to understand that spreading rumoursand accusations via the internet is a form of bullyingand the school will respond to it. A robustcyberbullying policy will enable staff to respondto these incidents. See cyberbullying guidelines inSafe to Learn for guidance in this area.Risk taking behaviour: Boys who do not feel able tobe themselves at school, may seek support andexperiences elsewhere. This may include gay clubsand pubs where they may be exposed to drink,smoking and possibly drugs. They may also seeksexual experiences with older men. Researchindicates that young men sometimes haveunprotected sex because they think they are notat risk from HIV infection.Boys should be encouraged to seek support fromtheir peer group, such as attending a youth group orfinding safe youth led internet spaces. Schoolsshould aim to talk to pupils about safe sex in a samesex context and to offer support and advice. Whendiscussing choices about risk-taking behaviours, staffshould be mindful of the unique situationsexperienced by gay pupils.


DOWNLOADS 133SecondaryThe experienceHow to provide supportSocial exclusion: Young people who come out cansometimes encounter negative reactions fromparents and family. This can lead them to feel likethey have to disengage from their family andsometimes leave home. If a boy is experiencingbullying as well, this can make both home andschool a hostile environment.If a boy does not feel supported at school, he mightbe reluctant to talk about incidents at home.Agencies are available to help parents and carers tosupport their children if they are gay. Schools needto demonstrate to pupils that they can help in thissituation and will be supportive of pupils.Outside school: Boys report that homophobicbullying occurs to and from school, and in theircommunity. Boys may be particularly vulnerableyet feel unable to tell parents, or the school, aboutany incidents.Anti-bullying policies should refer to incidents thattake place outside school, and pupils should feelable to report incidents. Working in partnershipwith the local police and transport providers canhelp in this situation.


134 DOWNLOADSPrimary and SecondaryDL29: Summary – Addressing homophobicbullying in your schoolTo create an inclusive environment in your schoolwhere all pupils feel safe and are able to fulfil theirpotential requires a whole school approach. Thisshould be integral to your school’s mission statementand overall vision. The following ten steps can betaken to address homophobic bullying in yourschool:1. Acknowledge and identify the problem ofbullying. The most important step is to recognisethat all sorts of bullying takes place in schools, even ifsome forms are not immediately visible.2. Develop policies which recognise the existenceof homophobic bullying. Ensure that your antibullyingpolicy takes homophobic bullying intoaccount. Take other appropriate action such aschallenging use of the word ‘gay’ and ensuring fastremoval of graffiti.3. Promote a positive social environment. The ethosof the entire school community, including all staffand parents, ought to be to support all pupils,regardless of their differences and to ensure that theyare happy and safe.4. Address staff training needs. Do not assume thatonly lesbian, gay and bisexual staff are able to dealwith homophobic bullying, but ensure all staff areconfident they know how to react to such situations.5. Provide information and support for pupils.Make age-appropriate information about servicesand support available to secondary age pupilsthrough noticeboards, school planners and websites.6. Include addressing anti-bullying includinghomophobic bullying in curriculum planning.Try to include teaching about anti-bullying includinghomophobic bullying in the curriculum as a wholein an age-appropriate way and in accordance withNational Curriculum subject frameworks andguidance so that pupils understand and appreciatediversity. This can be done formally in lesson times,but also informally e.g. by providing informationabout LGB groups in appropriate places withinsecondary schools (and in line with school policy) .7. Feel able to use outside expertise. People workingin external agencies (such as lesbian and gaycharities, youth workers or local telephone helplines)can offer support, both outside and inside theclassroom, in addressing homophobic bullying.8. Use positive role models. Openly gay staff,governors, parents/carers and/or pupils can all bestrong role models for the school.9. Do not make assumptions. Do not assume thatall pupils in a class are, or will be, heterosexual.Do not assume that all staff in a school or collegeare heterosexual. And do not assume that all pupilsexperiencing homophobic bullying are gay.10. Celebrate achievements. Make successes known,such as updating the school anti-bullying policy orreducing the incidence of bullying, through tutorialtime, newsletters, notice boards or websites etc.


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You can download this publication or order copies online atwww.teachernet.gov.uk/publicationsSearch using the ref: DCSF-00668-2007Copies of this publication can also be obtained from:DCSF PublicationsPO Box 5050Sherwood ParkAnnesleyNottingham NG15 0DJTel: 0845 60 222 60Fax: 0845 60 333 60Textphone: 0845 60 555 60Please quote ref: 00668-2007BKT-ENISBN: 978-1-84775-029-7PPBEL/D21/0907/53Crown Copyright 2007Extracts from this document may be reproduced fornon-commercial research, education or training purposes onthe condition that the source is acknowledged. For any otheruse please contact hmsolicensing@opsi.x.gsi.gov.ukThis publication is printedthis publication please recycle it

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