Primary schoolchildren should be taught about gay, lesbian, bisexual and transsexual relationships to stop bullying, according to a union.

The TUC said much has been done to counter racism and sexism through equality education but not enough has been done to tackle homophobia.

Following the announcement at a conference in London both East and West Sussex County Councils agreed they are committed to promoting equalities for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual(LGBT) community.

A spokesman for East Sussex County Council said: "In East Sussex we have had a committed approach to equalities around LGBT for a long time.

"We have a resource for secondary schools called All of Us around sexuality issues which includes guidance on policies, handling incidents, staff training, lesson plans and other information. "Together with our equalities officer we have also produced a DVD called Fear and Loving for use in our secondary schools which looks at these issues."

A spokesman for West Sussex County Council said: "We undoubtedly support any moves which teach children about equality in any shape or form.

"We are very committed to ensuring equality in schools and the workplace and pay very serious attention to these kinds of issues."

The TUC's comments were made by the union's general secretary Brendan Barber, who said the education system is often part of the problem of homophobic discrimination.

He said: "Whereas our schools and colleges have done much to counter racism and sexism, the same cannot be said when it comes to tackling homophobia.

"Despite some notable exceptions, too many educational establishments are breeding grounds for the worst kind of casual prejudice."

He pointed out a recent survey by campaign group Stonewall, which showed the "huge scale" of the problem, with virtually all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual pupils reporting that they had heard homophobic abuse.

He said schools and colleges are not doing enough to tackle the problem.

A spokesman for the Government's schools department said: "Bullying of any kind is unacceptable.

"Homophobic insults should be viewed as seriously as racism.

"We must uphold every child's basic right to learn in a safe and secure environment, free from bullying.

"Bullying of all kinds is a scourge on young peoples lives and the human cost can be devastating.

"It can leave young people feeling helpless and isolated and can have a damaging effect on their learning."

A spokesman for the Government's equalities office said: "Homophobic bullying in schools is widespread and 40% of lesbian, gay and bisexual adults who were harassed at school have attempted suicide.

"The Equality Bill will place a duty on schools to tackle homophobia, for example publicising a zero tolerance policy which will send a clear message to parents and pupils that anti-gay bullying is completely unacceptable."