Homophobic bullying in schools needs to be taken more seriously, according to gay rights charity Stonewall.

The report, the organisation’s first on the issue for five years, also says despite progress being made, there is more to be done.

The organisation surveyed 1,614 lesbian, gay and bisexual people between the ages of 11-19.

Fifty-five per cent said they were targeted because of their sexuality.

The government says it is doing more to tackle homophobia in schools.

The National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) has welcomed the report but agrees more needs to be done.

A spokesman said: “There are many ways in which schools can send messages out to pupils, staff and families to combat negative stereotypes, including recognising the significant contribution made by members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

“We also note that a school’s response to homophobia is now one of the criteria on which Ofsted will judge their success.

“Such moves will, we hope, make it increasingly plain that homophobia has no place in a modern school and, through schools, in society itself.”

Schools should make it clear that homophobia is not tolerated and if necessary be taken to the highest levels.

The charity’s report says that 44% of lesbian, gay and bisexual pupils skip school because of bullying and that homophobic bullying of gay pupils is lower in schools that explicitly state that homophobic bullying is wrong and where schools teach and address gay issues.

The government says it is tackling homophobia in schools and that the current guidelines make it clear that teachers should be able to deal with sexual orientation.

They also said that they are reviewing their education guidance to strengthen sex and relationships education among young people and would publish the outcome of the review and of any changes later this year.

Source bbc.co.uk/newsbeat

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