BHA identifies 45 schools that continue to have Section 28-like policies

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

The British Humanist Association (BHA) says it has identified at least 45 schools that either replicate language banning the “promotion” of homosexuality in the classroom or are “unhelpfully vague on the issue.”

It comes as Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary Stephen Twigg told that he was alarmed by reports that some schools may have Section 28-style language in their sex education policies.

He said: “Labour got rid of Section 28 in 2003 to ensure that schools taught about homosexuality in an open and honest way. Homophobic bullying is still too common in schools, we must ensure that we redouble our efforts to tackle such prejudice.”

Over the weekend it was revealed a petition had been set up by LGBT campaigners against three schools: Castle View Enterprise Academy in Sunderland (CVEA), Swindon Academy and Stockport Academy.

On its website CVEA had stated in its Sexual and Relationships Education (SRE) policy that the school’s “Governing Body will not permit the promotion of homosexuality.”

Academy Principal Janet Bridges blamed the wording on an “administrative error” – but the British Humanist Association (BHA) believes the problem is widespread and has concerns regarding 45 schools.

BHA Head of Public Affairs Pavan Dhaliwal said: “It is simply unacceptable that over a decade after the repeal of the pernicious Section 28 that these schools continue to enforce similar policies, while others have statements which are overly vague on this matter. All of the schools identified must urgently review their sex and relationships education policies to ensure that all pupils, whatever their sexual orientation or gender identity, are treated with equal respect and understanding and that homophobic and transphobic bullying is stamped out.”

Section 28 of the Local Government Act 1988 previously stated that a local authority “shall not intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality.” It was repealed in England and Wales in 2003 and in Scotland in 2000.