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Teachers need training to tackle LGBT issues, Holyrood committee hears

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Written By: Hannah Rodger  28/10/15

Teachers are lacking confidence and training to tackle LGBT issues in the classroom, according to campaigners.

The Time For Inclusive Education (TIE) campaign yesterday made the claims during a presentation to Holyrood’s petitions committee.
Campaigners Jordan Daly, Liam Stevenson and John Naples-Campbell presented their arguments for why they believe education on LGBTI issues should be made statutory in Scottish schools.
Mr Naples-Campbell, a drama teacher in Glasgow and General Teaching Council for Scotland practitioner in equality and diversity, said many teachers “don’t have the confidence to tackle” concerns from pupils about LGBT issues due to a lack of training on equality and diversity.

Speaking after yesterday’s meeting, he added “Some subjects will be difficult to teach, and it very much depends on the school and the passion of the staff.

“I am a drama teacher and part of the job I do is issue-based drama. I feel confident in dealing with LGBT education, drugs, and alcohol. Other staff might not have that confidence, and staff should have the training, it should be there for them, so they can talk about these things.

Jordan Daly, Glasgow University student and co-founder of TIE, said some teachers he spoke to are unsure of how to advise or help pupils who have concerns or worries about their sexuality or gender.

He said: “Teachers in our experience, and we have spoken to quite a few of them, don’t know what to do.

“They are very scared. One of the most worrying things is a couple of people we’ve spoken to are training to be teachers and they said if an LGBT pupil comes to them and says I’m transgender, I’m gay, I’m bi[sexual]… they don’t know how to tackle it and they would have to just go on their own person life experiences.”

MSPs questioned the need for LGBTI education to be made statutory, but were receptive to the group’s concerns that action was needed to tackle homophobic bullying and discrimination in schools.

Glasgow MSP Hanzala Malik also compared the LGBT struggle to the discrimination he himself faced in school.

Source: Evening Times

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