Section 28 row: Schools tear up controversial homophobic policies
Responses follow The Independent's disclosure that 40 schools had published policy statements echoing language of notorious legislation
A series of schools have torn up controversial sex education policies that appeared to advocate a return to lessons pandering to anti-gay prejudice.
The Independent disclosed that campaigners had identified more than 40 schools, including 19 of the Government's flagship academies, which had published policy statements echoing the language of Margaret Thatcher's notorious Section 28 legislation. The Department for Education (DfE) condemned their "unacceptable" statements and contacted the schools to investigate.
The two Crest Academies for boys and girls in Neasden, North-West London, said they would scrap a promise on their website not to allow the "promotion of homosexuality".
A spokesman for the sponsors' academy, E-Act, described the use of the words as a "process oversight, which reflects neither the ethos nor the behaviour of the Crest Academies".
Tasker Milward School in Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, apologised for any distress caused by its failure to remove an "an old policy not in operation" from its website.
West Lakes Academy in Cumbria said its original sex education policy, which has since been abandoned, had been drafted by the Place Group, an organisation that advises schools on converting to academies.
A Place Group spokeswoman said it provided "template policies for schools", although governing bodies were responsible for their adoption. She said it had never been the company's intention to provide schools with outdated materials and was writing to clients to remind them to review policies to ensure they complied with current legislation.
Several other schools appeared to be rewriting their policies today as statements of their sex education guidelines were taken down from their websites.
The Welsh Government spokesman said it would contact all schools to reinforce their responsibility to teach youngsters "in a way that does not subject them to discrimination".
Tonight gay rights campaigners blamed the confusion on the DfE's failure to set out clear guidelines to schools on the content of sex education lessons.
Wes Steeting, head of education at Stonewall, said: "We need to see very clear guidance about the importance of tackling homophobic bullying and the promotion of a curriculum that is inclusive."
Benali Hamdache, the London Green Party co-ordinator, who has collected a 4,000-name petition protesting over the use of Section 28-style language by schools, said: "Sex and relationship education needs a dramatic rethink. The lack of national guidance means schools do not have clear responsibilities as to what they should be teaching."
Pavan Dhaliwal of the British Humanist Association, which identified the schools, said: “We welcome the Government’s investigation into this matter. These schools’ policies must urgently be updated and the schools must take steps to ensure no pupil is discriminated against because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”
But she added: “We think a lot of the fault of this lies with the Government’s own sex and relationships education guidance.”
- 1 Strictly Come Dancing 2014: Gregg Wallace joins line-up as final celebrities revealed
- 2 Notting Hill Carnival: Woman shares selfie after being ‘punched in face for telling man to stop groping her’
- 3 Keira Knightley topless: Usually conservative actress does own take on #Freethenipple campaign for Interview Magazine
- 4 Oil tanker with $100 million cargo goes missing off Texas coast
- 5 George Galloway left with severe bruising after attack in Notting Hill by man 'shouting about the Holocaust'
YouTube video posted by Isis militants shows 'execution of 250 Syrian soldiers'
Keira Knightley topless: Usually conservative actress does own take on #Freethenipple campaign for Interview Magazine
Oil tanker with $100 million cargo goes missing off Texas coast
George Galloway left with severe bruising after attack in Notting Hill by man 'shouting about the Holocaust'
Brother and sister, Christopher Buckner and Timothy Savoy, arrested for 'committing incest after watching 'The Notebook''
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
Scottish independence TV debate: Pumped-up Alex Salmond bounces back in bruising second round against Alistair Darling
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
Ukip Douglas Carswell defection: Tory MP jumps ship to join Nigel Farage
- < Previous
- Next >
Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: HAMPSHIRE MARKET TOWN - A highly attr...
£35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Network Engineer (CCNP, CCNA, Linux, OSPF,...
Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: A VERY HIGH QUALITY FIRM A high qual...
£50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: DevOps Engineer (Systems Administration, L...