Highlands & Islands

Homophobic bullying starts at primary say Highland pupils

Image caption Various forms of bullying are monitored by Highland Council

Homophobic bullying among children starts at primary school, according to Highland pupils.

Preliminary results of monitoring for this type of bullying suggests that 36% of secondary pupils in the region have reported being targeted.

About 71% of those young people said the abuse started when they were at primary school.

The information is contained in a paper to Highland councillors meeting next week.

Highland Council monitors various forms of bullying at its schools, but officers report that there was a gap in the local authority's knowledge of the extent and impact of homophobic bullying.

According to the charity Stonewall, the behaviour is targeted at someone who is lesbian, gay or bisexual, or because people think they are.

In their report, Highland Council officers said: "There is little information on the extent and impact of homophobic bullying in Highland schools, while at the same time the international literature shows that this form of prejudice based bullying has universal impact on school ethos and pupil well-being.

"The psychological service has been working with Highland Youth Voice Executive to produce a survey that can address this gap in knowledge."

Invergordon Academy has piloted the survey and, following analysis, the results will be published early next year.

The paper will be discussed next week's meeting of the community safety, public engagement and equalities committee.

So far for the 2013-14 academic year, the council's education performance management unit has also recorded six racist incidents.

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