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Homophobia Written Answer, 01/06/10 [S]

Written Answer given in response to Patrick Harvie's (Green) question asking the Scottish Executive what guidance it issues to schools regarding homophobic incidents; what information is held centrally regarding the number and nature of homophobic incidents in schools and the manner in which they were treated; and what its position is on the adequacy of the arrangements for dealing with homophobic incidents in schools.

The Minister for Children and Early Years, Adam Ingram, replied that the Scottish Government funded the development of A Toolkit for Teachers: Dealing with Homophobia and Homophobic bullying in Scottish Schools by LGBT Youth Scotland in partnership with Learning Teaching Scotland, issued to every secondary school in Scotland in February 2009. This contains guidance in relation to dealing with homophobic incidents.

Additionally, guidance was issued in 2007 to accompany the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007. The recent issue of the FIT DVD by Stonewall Scotland to all secondary schools supports discussion around this issue.

It is for local authority and schools to set their own arrangements for dealing with homophobic incidents. The Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007 makes discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation unlawful and requires schools to make sure that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) pupils or the children of LGBT parents, do not receive different and less favourable treatment to that given to other pupils.

Schools need to ensure that homophobic bullying is taken as seriously and dealt with as firmly as bullying on any other ground. Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Education also assess the school’s handling of bullying within inspection as part of the pre-inspection survey of pupils, parents, teachers and school staff, seeking their views on feelings of safety and welfare.

The Scottish Government wholly funds Respectme (£347,000 pa) to provide direct support to local authorities, schools, youth groups and all those working with children and young people in relation to bullying, including homophobic bullying.

For the full answer to this and other questions see the Scottish Parliament Written Answers Report 31 May - 4 June 2010 which is available from the Scottish Parliament website.

Further Information

Scottish Parliament Written Answers Report 31 - 4 June 2010