UK: Two-thirds of LGBT pupils 'feel unwelcome at NI schools'

Two-thirds of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) young people in Northern Ireland do not feel welcomed or valued in their post-primary school. Almost half had also experienced bullying as a result of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Those are two of the key findings of research into experiences of LGBT pupils commissioned by the Department of Education. The research was delivered in April 2016 but has just been made public.

In 2015, the department asked an external consultancy, at a cost of £28,690, to examine issues affecting LGBT pupils in post-primary schools. Their final report was based on responses from 532 young people aged between 16 and 21 and five focus groups. They were asked a series of questions about their experiences in school, including bullying. The research also looked at how - and if - LGBT issues were taught in schools. 

The director of the Rainbow Project, a gay and lesbian support group, said the research showed that young LBGT people were being marginalised in many schools.

"This demonstrates institutional anti-LGBT bias, at all levels of education in Northern Ireland," said John O'Doherty, "particularly within the Department of Education itself, directly breaching its statutory duty to promote equality of opportunity for LGBT people." Read more via BBC