Black LGBT+ pupils are least likely to feel safe at school, research finds

by Just Like Us
November 2021

Two sixth form pupils working at a desk

Black LGBT+ pupils are far less likely than their white peers to feel safe at school, new independent research by charity Just Like Us has found.

Only 58% of LGBT+ young people have felt safe at school on a daily basis in the past 12 months, compared to 73% of non-LGBT+ pupils.

Six in 10 (59%) white LGBT+ pupils have felt safe in school on a daily basis in the past 12 months, compared to just half (52%) of Black LGBT+ pupils and 57% of Asian LGBT+ pupils.

Black LGBT+ pupils are also twice as likely as their white peers to say they have ‘never’ felt safe in school, with 6% stating this compared to just 3% of white LGBT+ pupils.

The independent study of 2,934 pupils aged 11-18 (1,140 of whom were LGBT+) across the UK by Just Like Us, the LGBT+ young people’s charity, has found that LGBT+ young people are significantly more likely to struggle with mental health.

The data forms part of a report by Just Like Us into inclusive education and the experiences of LGBT+ young people called Growing up LGBT+.

One Year 12 pupil in the North West said: “I think it’s very important to support everyone and encourage them to be themselves and not to feel scared that they won’t be accepted.”

Matthew, a 14-year-old pansexual pupil from Coventry said: “If you don’t have a home life where people are accepting of being LGBT+, you need it to be accepted at school so you know it’s OK.”

Dominic Arnall, Chief Executive of Just Like Us, has called for schools and colleges to demonstrate that LGBT+ pupils are safe and welcome.

“Our independent research has devastatingly found that LGBT+ young people report feeling significantly less safe in school. They might be facing bullying or hearing negative language or they might just not see themselves belonging because there isn’t positive messaging from their school,” he said.

“LGBT+ young people need to know it’s OK to be themselves in school – especially if they don’t have accepting families at home. One in four (25%) of LGBT+ young people said in our independent research that they are facing daily tension at home, so if they don’t feel safe to be themselves at school, that leaves young people in a really difficult situation.

“We urge schools to demonstrate that they support their LGBT+ pupils and ensure they are safe in school – taking part in School Diversity Week is a great first step to sending a much-needed positive message of support.”