Homophobic bullying still rife in schools for pupils AND teachers, says charity founder
Gay teachers told to keep quiet about sexuality because 'lifestyle choice' does not fit with school ethos, he says
Richard Garner has been Education Editor of The Independent for 12 years and writing about the subject for 34 years. Before becoming a journalist, he worked as a disc jockey in London pubs and clubs and for a hospital radio station. His main hobbies are cricket (watching these days) and theatre. On his days off, he is most likelt to be found at Lord’s or the King’s Head Theatre Club.
Friday 08 November 2013
Gay teachers are being told to keep quiet about their sexuality because their "lifestyle choice" does not fit in with the values of their school, it is claimed today.
Shaun Dellenty, deputy head and founder of the education charity, Inclusion for All, says inequality and homophobic bullying is still rife in schools - for teachers as well as pupils.
Writing for the TES, he said that some gay teachers either have to pretend they are single or use the word "her" rather than "him" when referring to their partner because it is "not the appropriate thing to do".
"There are still some headteachers, especially in faith schools, who tell gay teachers that their 'lifestyle choice' is at odds with the school ethos," he added
"When I was a child I loved hearing about my teacher's weekends and holidays: it made them more human. Never did I think about what they got up to in the bedroom and yet some people in schools unfortunately chose to define LGBT teachers by one asp[ect of their lives."
Cases which have emerged in recent weeks, Mr Dellenty told The Independent, included:
*a male teacher in the north who was told his partner would not be welcome at school functions.
*a deputy head who was told not to apply for the headship "because the parents wouldn't like it".
*a young Cornish lesbian teacher who wanted to come out because she was teaching pupils from a same sex family who was told it would "not be an appropriate thing to do".
Mr Dellenty, who is deputy head of Alfred Salter primary school in London, is writing a paper which he will publicise at the Festival of Education at London University's Institute of Education later this month which says: "A teacher's inability to come out means that a huge amount of emotional energy gets invested in hiding away aspects of some educators' identities instead of being employed to fulfil their potential as a professional.
"Shutting down aspects of your real personality, constantly playing your cards close to your chest, or simply lying and concealing parts of your life is exhausting.
"What's more, it is to the detriment of the children you are trying to teach."
He added: "I am often contacted by gay teachers and asked 'should I come out?'
"My heart says a huge 'yes': go and be an authentic role model to children, some of whom may desperately need one who is openly gay.
"My head, however, reminds me of the many teachers who are experiencing homophobia in schools and are essentially being told they can't enjoy the same freedoms that their colleagues take for granted ...
"Worryingly, I also hear from enthusiastic trainee and newly qualified teachers who are prevented from undertaking work around homophobia and diverse families by serving school leadership teams.
"A headteacher who openly supports a gay teacher is sending out a clear message to all a school's stakeholders that every teacher is valued as an individual. It also sends a message to the 10 per cent of students who may turn out to be lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered that gay people can be accepted, happy and successful,"
Mr Dellenty's comments come as research from Stonewall, the gay rights' pressure group, shows that 99 per cent of all lesbian, gay and bisexual children have heard the word "gay" being used as a term of abuse.
"Whole school teaching and learning around the appropriate use of the word 'gay' needs to take place in every school," he said. "It is not difficult to teach the varying word use of the word 'gay' and to then clarify and agree that the word is not used as a pejorative in schools.
"This is no different from teaching about racial slurs and teachers have the skills they need - they just need to feel supported by school leaders to go ahead with the work."
Andreas Lubitz: Who is Germanwings co-pilot who 'locked out captain and crashed flight 9525'?
Germanwings crash: The poignant final photograph taken by Iranian journalist on doomed flight after watching Barcelona play Real Madrid
#FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
Cate Blanchett loses temper during interview: 'That's your f**king question?'
Jeremy Clarkson calls on trolls to leave producer Oisin Tymon alone: 'None of this is his fault'
Nigel Farage brands LGBT activists 'filth' and 'scum' and accuses them of scaring away his children after they invade his local pub
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Russia threatens Denmark with nuclear weapons if it tries to join Nato defence shield
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Vote Ukip, says far-right group Britain First
- 1 JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
- 2 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 3 #FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
- 4 Video shows what happens when lava is poured onto ice
- 5 Cate Blanchett loses temper during interview: 'That's your f**king question?'
£25,880 – £28,610 per annum: Imperial College London: Imperial College London ...
£26,976 - £31,614 per annum: University College London: UCL Information Servic...
£30 - 32k (DOE): Guru Careers: We are seeking an Instructional / e-Learning De...
£30500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Schools Education & Careers Executive ...