SCHOOLS across Wales struggle to effectively monitor the extent of homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying, according to research published by South Wales East AM Lindsay Whittle, with support from LGBT organisations Stonewall Cymru and Pride Cymru.

The results of the survey – which were sent to all Welsh secondary schools – backs up the findings of Estyn’s Action on Bullying report that said most schools ‘do not have a clear enough picture of patterns of behaviour over time that they can use to inform anti-bullying planning’.

Forty schools that responded had a system in place to record homophobic bullying. However, just 20 schools reported having systems to distinguish between homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying.

The total number of incidents reported across all these schools in the last five years was 262, but 24 schools reported at least one incident of bullying in the last five years suggesting high levels of inconsistency between and within schools over what counts as a reportable incident.

The survey found many examples of good practice in tackling such bullying including anonymous reporting systems for pupils and counselling and peer-mentoring programmes to pupils.

Plaid AM Lindsay Whittle said: “I don’t believe the full extent of the problem in schools has yet to be identified. What this survey indicates is that the Welsh Government and local authorities must ensure all schools understand the importance of monitoring homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying.

“That means the extent of any problem is identified quickly allowing schools to intervene where necessary. It is vital that support is given to victims and many schools do offer counselling and others also offer access to a helpline. But more clearly still needs to be done.”

Previous research by Stonewall Cymru has shown that homophobic and biphobic bullying are endemic in Wales’s schools, with almost nine in ten (87 per cent) secondary school staff surveyed in Wales saying pupils in their school are bullied, harassed or called names for being, or suspected of being, lesbian, gay or bisexual.