The scale of homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in Scotland’s schools is not being recorded consistently or accurately. That’s the finding of an investigation into bullying in schools by the Scottish Liberal Democrats this week.
A Freedom of Information request by the party has uncovered evidence that 14 of Scotland’s 32 local authorities either do not record or were unable to provide data on bullying in schools of a homophobic, biphobic or transphobic nature. They had requested data going back to 2011/12 for both primary and secondary schools.
They have now called on all councils to ensure that bullying is recorded accurately so the scale of abuse can be understood. While many individual schools do collect this information, there seems to be a confusing and sporadic situation across most of the country, with many local authorities not compiling this data set atall.
Commenting, Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesman, Tavish Scott MSP, said:
“Scotland and the rest of the UK have taken huge strides towards equality for LGBTI people in recent years, leading the world on issues like equal marriage. But there is still a huge amount of work to be done to tackle the prejudice that LGBTI people face every day.”
“We need to ensure that Scotland’s schools are inclusive and provide a safe environment for LGBTI youth. To get there we need to have a clear picture of the scale of homophobic bullying in schools and in many areas we are not getting this at present.”
The findings come just weeks after a firm manifesto commitment from the SNP, and a personal pledge from First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, to work with campaigners such as TIE to tackle bullying in schools and improve training for teachers on LGBTI issues.
A TIE spokesperson said:
“In order to effectively tackle homo/bi/transphobic bullying in schools, it is imperative that such instances are properly recorded by staff. We have called for this as part of a wider strategy to ensure that all schools are LGBTI inclusive and so we are fully in support of the Scottish Liberal Democrats efforts to have this rolled out in each local authority area.”
Some of Scotland’s largest councils either couldn’t provide, or do not collect, data on homophobia in primary or secondary schools, such as Fife Council and Aberdeen City Council. Meanwhile figures were only available for the last year from Glasgow City Council.
The full data set is available to view HERE.
Written by: Stuart Duffy for Pink Saltire