LONDON, March 27, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --
In the week when same-sex couples are able to marry, new research released today by the Teacher Support Network, reveals education professionals are witnessing or experiencing severe levels of discrimination by colleagues and pupils.
The survey by the UK's leading charity for teacher wellbeing shows over two-thirds (68%) have witnessed homophobic harassment and just under half (48%) of people polled have been personally discriminated against because of their sexual orientation. 47% of those polled were harassed by their colleagues and 68% were discriminated against by their students.
The report also reveals that 67% of staff in schools do not feel adequately prepared to teach same-sex marriage and LGBT related issues, preventing an open and tolerant environment for teachers and students.
LGBT discrimination impacts on education professionals' wellbeing in a number of ways. 38% of people surveyed say it has reduced their confidence and self-esteem. More than a fifth (21%) of respondents say that the harassment they have been subject to or witnessed has made them consider leaving the organisation and one in five (20%) have considered leaving the profession altogether.
Julian Stanley, Chief Executive, Teacher Support Network, said:
"The focus of LGBT policy in schools has tended to be on students, but teachers need to be equally supported. The Government has introduced new legislation but how do we translate this into positive action in schools?"
"It is important that schools have appropriate policies and practical training in place so all teachers are able to offer support and teach LGBT issues. Creating a non-discriminative and supportive environment will enablestaff facing discrimination to seek help, but more importantly that all staff, whatever their sexual orientation, are treated with respect."
Current LGBT teacher said:
"I will be holding an assembly on gay and lesbian marriage this week. It's vital to make students aware of the importance of equality for all and by mentioning my wedding, I am able to be a role model for gay people being happy in a committed relationship, just like anyone else."
"I did get some abuse from the students when I started teaching. If I hadn't been so resilient and hadn't had the support of my Headteacher, I might not have stayed on. There are some who don't get that necessary support and that is a terrible indictment on our profession."
SOURCE Teacher Support Network