According to a new study, LGBTQ+ pupils don’t feel as safe at school than their non-LGBTQ+ peers.
Conducted by Just Like Us, the charity for LGBTQ+ youth, the data forms part of a larger report into inclusive education and the experiences of queer students. It will be published in full in June 2021.
The independent study surveyed 2,934 pupils aged 11-18 (1,140 of whom are LGBTQ+) across 375 schools in the UK.
Alarmingly, the research discovered that only 58% of queer pupils have felt safe at school on a daily basis in the past 12 months, compared to 73% of non-LGBTQ+ pupils.
Matthew, a 14-year-old pansexual pupil from Coventry, said: “If you don’t have a home life where people are accepting of being LGBT+, you need it to be accepted at school so you know it’s OK.”
One anonymous Year 12 student from the North West echoed that sentiment, saying it’s “important” to encourage all LGBTQ+ students to be their authentic selves at school and to not live in fear.
Dominic Arnall, Chief Executive of Just Like Us, called for schools and colleges to be more inclusive of LGBTQ+ students in their institutions.
“Our independent research has devastatingly found that LGBT+ young people report feeling significantly less safe in school,” he said.
“They might be facing bullying or hearing negative language or they might just not see themselves belonging because there isn’t positive messaging from their school.”
One in four (25%) LGBTQ+ students also said they face daily tension at home, whether that’s due to their sexuality or gender identity. With these statistics in mind, Arnall reiterated the importance of schools being a safe space for LGBTQ+ youth.
“We urge schools to demonstrate that they support their LGBT+ pupils and ensure they are safe in school – taking part in School Diversity Week is a great first step to sending a much-needed positive message of support,” he added.
Just Like Us runs School Diversity Week from 21-25 June. For more information about the LGBTQ+ charity, visit their website here.
Schools can now sign up to take part in School Diversity week – for free – here. You’ll also receive a toolkit of resources.