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Volume 448: debated on Thursday 6 July 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many incidents of homophobic bullying were recorded by (a) primary and (b) secondary schools in each of the last five years. (82670)

We are unable to provide this information as we do not collect these data centrally. However, individual schools may record incidents of bullying, including homophobic bullying, and some local authorities keep records for their own area.

We take the issue of homophobic bullying in schools very seriously and we gave an undertaking in the White Paper, “Higher Standards, Better Education for All” to issue guidance on bullying motivated by prejudice, including homophobia.

During Anti Bullying week in 2004 we published “Homophobia, Sexual Orientation and Schools: a review and implications for action”, by the Thomas Coram Research Unit, which looked at three areas: behaviour and bullying; teaching and learning about sexual orientation and relationships; and employment issues. It collates, summarises and assesses both peer reviewed research material, from this country and abroad, and less formal work conducted by bodies active in this area. It reports the views of a wide range of organisations, 28 in all, with an interest in this area to paint a picture of how the issues are currently perceived. The report is available on the DfES website and the findings will be used to inform future work in this area.