Plea for equality drive as 'many LGBTI teachers do not feel safe in schools'

A third of gay, lesbian and transgender teachers feel unsafe in their schools, a new poll suggests.

More than four in 10 (43%) had experienced discrimination, bullying or harassment because of their identity in the last year, according to the NASUWT, the UK's largest teachers' union.

Serious concerns had been reported by teachers from the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) community about the lack of commitment from schools to ensure they have equality, it said.

At the largest gathering of gay, lesbian and transgender teachers at a conference in Birmingham, only 7% believed their school provided training to staff to deal with incidents of discrimination.

The poll of about 120 LGBTI teachers also found a third believed their school or college was unsafe for them.

Chris Keates, the NASUWT's general secretary, said: "It is scandalous that in the 21st century teachers are still reporting that homophobia is still an issue for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex pupils and staff and that many LGBTI teachers do not feel safe in their schools.

"Despite assertions to the contrary, the Government has rolled back the progress made over decades on equality and we see the adverse impact this is having on teachers and pupils in our schools.

"All schools must demonstrate a commitment to creating a climate where all staff and pupils feel respected and safe."

Some 86% of teachers polled said the Government was failing to do enough to get across the importance of LGBTI equality to schools and colleges,

More than half (56%) believed their school was not committed to equality for gay and lesbian staff and pupils, while only 4% said their school has a programme of activities to mark LGBT history month in October.

Some 85% of teachers did not think schools and colleges were held to account in relation to LGBTI equality, according to the poll.

New guidance published by the NASUWT, called Equality For Trans Teacher, sets out the legal responsibilities on employers and provides advice on the steps schools should take to support people transitioning in the workplace.