Section 28-style bans on promoting homosexuality on the rise in UK schools, teachers say
Richard Garner has been Education Editor of The Independent for 12 years and writing about the subject for 34 years. Before becoming a journalist, he worked as a disc jockey in London pubs and clubs and for a hospital radio station. His main hobbies are cricket (watching these days) and theatre. On his days off, he is most likelt to be found at Lord’s or the King’s Head Theatre Club.
Tuesday 22 April 2014
Growing numbers of schools are introducing Section 28-style bans on promoting homosexuality in the classroom, delegates told the National Union of Teachers' annual conference in Brighton today.
The controversial clause, introduced under the Thatcher Government, was repealed by Labour because it was widely seen as prompting anti-gay feelings in schools.
However, a motion before the conference said at least 46 schools - including a number of academies - had words similar to the previous legislation in their school policies.
Deborah Glynn, from St Helens, Lancashire, cited research by the British Humanist Association to the conference which, she said, showed that there are many schools bringing this wording back into their policies.
"A lot are fundamentalist groups - mainly Christian," she said.
She said she had worked in one academy which had done this, but which had subsequently withdrawn the words after negotiations.
A number of schools cited in the BHA research did withdraw the wording after it was pointed out to them. They said they had severely inherited the words of previous agreements, and not realised until it was pointed out to them what they had done.
A Department of Education spokesperson said: “Any suggestion of schools singling out homosexuality is unacceptable. Last summer the Department for Education launched an investigation into schools who were alleged to have this kind of policy. As a result, all schools with offending policies committed to withdraw or replace them.
“All schools can draw up their own sex education policy but they must ensure they do not discriminate unfairly on grounds of sexual orientation. Our sex and relationship education guidance makes it clear that schools should not promote any sexual orientation.”
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