Two out of every five victims of school homophobic bullying contemplate suicide, says survey

 

Two out of every five victims of homophobic bullying at school attempt or contemplate suicide, a report released today reveals.

A survey of 1,600 gay, lesbian and bisexual young people aged between 11 and 19 showed that more than half had suffered from homophobic bullying while at school.

As a result, many who had been predicted to get three straight A grades at A-level give up school after completing their GCSEs.

The figures on suicide attempts were described by Stephen Twigg, Labour’s education spokesman, as “a very, very shocking statistic”.

“It is a compelling reminder that the task before us (in eradicating prejudice) in still enormous,” he added.

The survey, carried out for Stonewall - the pro-gay pressure group - by researchers at Cambridge University, urges the Government to adopt a series of measures to combat homophobia in schools.

In particular, it argues that the national curriculum should reflect the lives of lesbian, gay and bisexual people in subject areas,

One 17-year-old, Rachel, told researchers:  “In English we only talked about gay issues in relation to Oscar Wilde.”

However. she added: “Our school’s internet service provider actively blocks most pages about Oscar Wilde and in particular his Wikipedia page, which has details of his sexuality.  That seems to be the only reason the pages are blocked.”

Other measures advocated in the report include insisting upon adequate training for teachers in how to tackle homophobic bullying - as is the case with tackling racism.

Figures in the report show 95 per cent of schools say bullying because of ethnicity is wrong and 90 per cent because of disability.  However, on homophobic bullying, the figure drops to just 50 per cent. In faith schools, it is even lower - 37 per cent.

The report also says school nurses should be trained to make it clear that young people can speak to them in confidence about their sexual orientation - in a bid to combat potential suicides.

It says that 96 per cent of gay pupils hear derogatory terms like “poof” and “lezza” used in the the playground - with teachers often turning a deaf ear to such comments.

In addition, 99 per cent have heard fellow pupils using the word “gay” in a derogatory sense - such as “that’s so gay” and “you’re so gay” (meaning “bad”).

However, the findings are an improvement on a similar survey carried out five years ago when 65 per cent said they were bullied as opposed to 55 per cent. In addition, the percentage of schools openly saying homophobic bullying is wrong has doubled to 50 per cent.

Mr Twigg said schools and colleges had made “real progress” in recent years compared to when he was at secondary school in the 1980s.

“I realised I was gay by the time I was 14,” he said. “During the subsequent four years I was at school there was only one friend I could tell.  There was no way I could come out openly.”

However, when returning to his former school - Southgate comprehensive in north London - during an election campaign years later, he was pleased to see openly gay and lesbian students turning up to question candidates about their policies.

VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
News
Strange 'quack' noises could be undersea chatter of Minke whales
science
Voices
voices Furore is yet another example of shameful Westminster evasion, says Nigel Farage
News
weird news... and film it, obviously
News
peopleThis time as he’s awarded the Freedom of Stirling and handed an honorary degree
Arts & Entertainment
tv
Sport
sport
News
Matthew Mcnulty and Jessica Brown Findlay in 'Jamaica Inn'
mediaHundreds complain over dialogue levels in period drama
Voices
voicesMoyes' tragedy is one the Deputy PM understands all too well, says Matthew Norman
News
peopleJay Z and Beyoncé to buy £5.5m London townhouse
Voices
voicesMoyes' tragedy is one the Deputy PM understands all too well, says Matthew Norman
Arts & Entertainment
Rocker of ages: Chuck Berry
musicWhy do musicians play into old age?
News
Jilly's jewels: gardener Alan Titchmarsh
peopleCountry Life magazine's list of 'gallant' public figures throws light on what it means to be a gentleman in the modern world
Sport
John Terry goes down injured in the 70th minute
sportAtletico Madrid 0 Chelsea 0: Blues can finish the job at Stamford Bridge, but injuries to Terry and Cech are a concern for Mourinho
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Cover Supervisor Needed Nottingham/Derbyshire

£3360 - £16800 per annum: Randstad Education Nottingham: Cover Supervisor requ...

English Teacher

£6720 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Nottingham: Urgently Required. En...

Supply teachers needed in Cambridgeshire

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Randstad are looking ...

Geography Teacher

£6720 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Nottingham: We are currently recr...

Day In a Page

Brits who migrate to Costa del Sol more unhappy than those who stay at home

It's not always fun in the sun: Moving abroad does not guarantee happiness

Brits who migrate to Costa del Sol more unhappy than those who stay at home
Migrants in Britain a decade on: They came, they worked, they stayed in Lincolnshire

Migrants in Britain a decade on

They came, they worked, they stayed in Lincolnshire
Chris Addison on swapping politics for pillow talk

Chris Addison on swapping politics for pillow talk

The 'Thick of It' favourite thinks the romcom is an 'awful genre'. So why is he happy with a starring role in Sky Living's new Lake District-set series 'Trying Again'?
Why musicians play into their old age

Why musicians play into their old age

Nick Hasted looks at how they are driven by a burning desire to keep on entertaining fans despite risking ridicule
How can you tell a gentleman?

How can you tell a gentleman?

A list of public figures with gallant attributes by Country Life magazine throws a fascinating light on what it means to be a gentleman in the modern world
Pet a porter: posh pet pampering

Pet a porter: posh pet pampering

The duo behind Asos and Achica have launched a new venture offering haute couture to help make furry companions fashionable
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: The mutiny that sent a ripple of fear through the Empire

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

The mutiny that sent a ripple of fear through the Empire
Hot stuff: 10 best kettles

Hot stuff: 10 best kettles

Celebrate St George’s Day with a nice cup of tea. Now you just need to get the water boiled
Sam Wallace: Why Giggs is perfect fit as Manchester United boss... in the longer term

Sam Wallace

Why Ryan Giggs is perfect fit as Manchester United boss... in the longer term
Renaud Lavillenie: The sky's the limit for this pole vaulter's ambitions

Renaud Lavillenie: The sky's the limit for this pole vaulter's ambitions

Having smashed Sergei Bubka's 21-year-old record, the French phenomenon tells Simon Turnbull he can go higher
Through the screen: British Pathé opens its archives

Through the screen

British Pathé opens its archives
The man behind the papier mâché mask

Frank Sidebottom

The man behind the papier mâché mask
Chris Marker: Mystic film-maker with a Midas touch

Mystic film-maker with a Midas touch

Chris Marker retrospective is a revelation
Boston runs again: Thousands take to the streets for marathon as city honours dead and injured of last year's bombing

Boston runs again

Thousands of runners take to the streets as city honours dead of last year
40 years of fostering and still holding the babies (and with no plans to retire)

40 years of fostering and holding the babies

In their seventies and still working as specialist foster parents