• STV
  • MySTV

Catholic high schools 'to have safe space for LGBTI pupils'

MSPs told some schools were 'brilliant' on LGBTI pupils but in others cases were 'disturbing'.

Schools: MSPs hear evidence from pupils across Scotland (file pic).
Schools: MSPs hear evidence from pupils across Scotland (file pic). PA

All Catholic high schools in Scotland will have a "safe space" for LGBTI pupils, MSPs have heard.

Holyrood's equalities and human rights committee convener Christina McKelvie said they heard some pupils who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex (LGBTI) had taken their own lives after being bullied.

She added the students had raised particular concerns about Catholic schools and she felt personal and social education (PSE) classes were critical to helping pupils.

McKelvie said: "A lot of young people have told me some horrendous stories about how PSE is used, especially going down a moralistic route as well, where a lot of young people feel really backed into a corner where they thought their thoughts and feelings were not being respected."

She said she had heard teachers are "not equipped" to deal with LGBTI issues or misogyny "because either it's dealt with as a moralistic issue or it's something that they don't believe in".

Barbara Coupar, director of the Scottish Catholic Education Service, said Catholic schools "propose the gospel, not impose the gospel" and had taken on board guidelines against hate crime.

She added many teachers did not feel equipped to become counsellors for pupils regardless of the problem so schools were making sure teachers and pupils knew where to go for help inside and outside the school.

Ms Coupar said: "That's why we're going to down this avenue of ensuring that within all of our Catholic secondary schools that they would be able to go to someone, a trusted adult, a safe space within the school, where there would be someone who would have had that opportunity to be trained, for want of a better word, in order to be able to meet the needs of the young people in their care."

McKelvie said: "What we are looking for is if there's a belief issue there, what we want is for teachers to be able to handle that, and if they can't, for whatever reason, they're equipped to signpost those kids to the right places for those kids to get that support.

"We're hearing of young people who go down the route of self-harm, attempt and, in some cases, actually commit suicide.

"There doesn't seem be a recognition at all that there's an issue about LGBTI young people and how they should be supported through school."

Some schools, including Catholic schools, were "brilliant" on PSE and LGBTI pupils, but in other places the classes were "disturbing".

She added: "The young people we spoke to did raise some issues about Catholic schools. 

"We would like to get some insight into that whether there is a recognition of these issues especially about LGBTI young people and what the Catholic Education Service are doing to address that without making young people feel as if they are committing a sin."

Download: The STV News app is Scotland's favourite and is available for iPhone from the App store and for Android from Google Play. Download it today and continue to enjoy STV News wherever you are.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check. That e-mail's already in our system. Please try again.
ShowHide
Forgot password?
This field is required. At least 6 characters please. Did you enter your details correctly?
If you've forgotten your details then use the 'Forgot password?' link.
Need to reset your password?

We'll send a link to reset your password to

We've sent you details on how to reset your password

Please check your email and follow the instructions.

Forgotten your email address?

Have you forgotten the email address that you previously joined with? Don't worry, by emailing enquiries@stv.tv we can help.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
At least 6 characters please
ShowHide
This field is required. At least 6 characters please.
You have to be 16 or over to join
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date
Type your full postcode and select your address This field is required. It doesn't look like you've entered a valid postcode. Can't find your address? Confirm the details you've given us are correct by clicking here

By continuing you agree to our Terms of Use, including our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy. Any issues contact us.

Upload Profile Picture

Please make sure your image is under 2mb in size and a valid JPG, PNG or GIF.

Are you sure?

Unfortunately, you'll be unable to access our premium content. We’ll be sorry to see you go, but if you change your mind you can rejoin us at any time.

Please verify your STV account

Please verify your STV account using the email we sent you. If you have lost the email, we can send you another one, just click the button below.

Thanks

We've sent you a new verification email.
Please check your email and follow the instructions to verify your account.

Welcome to STV
Thanks for joining us.

Oops!

Sorry, you must be at least 12 years old to place a vote for your Real Hero.

Please review our Voting Terms of Use for more information.

Oops!

Sorry! It seems that you are using a browser that is incompatible with our voting service.

To register your vote please copy the below URL in to your regular mobile browser. We recommend Google Chrome, or Safari.

http://shows.stv.tv/real-heroes/voting

Oops!

Sorry, you seem to have already voted in this category.

Thanks for voting

Now share your vote with friends on your social network

Share on twitter Share on facebook

Cast your vote

Please register or sign in to continue.

Cast your vote

This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date

Cast your vote

Please fill out this form to cast your vote. As you are under 16 years old you will not create an STV account. Why do we need these details?

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check.
Location This field is required.
Parental Consent This field is required.

That's you. All that's left is to click the 'Submit Vote' button below. By doing so, you confirm that you and your parent or guardian have read and accept our Voting Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Cookie policy, and that the details you have entered are correct. We'll look after them as carefully as if they were our own.