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LGBTI teachers continuing to face prejudice and abuse in the workplace

Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT | NASUWT

3 min read Partner content

More than four in ten teachers have personally experienced homophobia, biphobia or transphobia at work in the last year, the NASUWT - The Teachers’ Union - has found.

While there is evidence some positive steps are being made in ensuring schools are inclusive and supportive for LGBTI staff and pupils, a real-time electronic poll of teachers attending the Union’s LGBTI Teachers’ Consultation Conference, which took place on Saturday in Birmingham, found that many schools and colleges are still failing to tackle homophobia, biphobia and transphobia.

The poll found that:

  • More than four in ten (41%) teachers said they have personally experienced homophobia, biphobia or transphobia at work in the last year;
  • Four in ten said they had witnessed homophobic, biphobic or transphobic incidents against other colleagues at work. 17% said they had witnessed such incidents on many occasions;
  • Less than half (48%) of teachers said they feel safe or comfortable to be out in their workplace to all staff, pupils and parents. More than one in ten (13%) do not feel safe to be out at all to anyone in their school or college;
  • While over three-quarters (77%) said they would feel confident about reporting homophobia, biphobia or transphobia to their employer, one in ten still said they would not have confidence to report such abuse;
  • Nearly a quarter (23%) said it would be left solely to LGBTI staff to challenge homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in their school or college. 44% said senior leaders and staff would take responsibility for challenging this type of abuse;
  • 42% said that having a zero tolerance policy on homophobic, biphobic and transphobic abuse was the most important step schools and colleges should take to make sure they are inclusive for LGBTI staff and pupils. 29% said having an LGBT+ inclusive curriculum was the most important step for schools and colleges to take.

Chris Keates, Acting General Secretary of the NASUWT, said:

“While it was heartening to hear some of the examples of good practice and positive experiences shared at the conference by LGBTI teachers, it is worrying that discriminatory and prejudiced behaviours remain so commonplace in our schools.

“While being out at school or college is a personal choice, teachers should not feel uncomfortable or unsafe to be themselves in the workplace and no teacher should be facing abuse or hostility because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

“Schools should be safe environments where staff and students of all sexual and gender identities feel included and respected. Where LGBTI equality is not mainstreamed into the work of a school this is unlikely be to the case.

“We need greater support for schools in taking forward this work and action where schools do not promote a culture of inclusiveness.”