Labour Shadow Minister Stephen Twigg: ‘Michael Gove must stop schools from resurrecting Section 28’

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

Calling on the Education Secretary to act, the Labour MP said: “Michael Gove must intervene to ensure that all schools obey their duties under the Equality Act. It seems that some schools, perhaps not knowingly, are still using guidance from before Labour’s repeal of Section 28.

“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.”

The language was reminiscent of Section 28 of the Local Government Act 1988, which previously stated that a local authority “shall not intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality” and that schools “could not promote of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship”.

Section 28 was later repealed under Tony Blair’s Labour government and the current Conservative Prime Minister, David Cameron, apologised for the policy in 2009.

In a statement to on Monday afternoon, Castle View Enterprise Academy said: “Castle View Enterprise Academy (CVEA) promotes inclusivity without prejudice and has adopted a ‘Single Equality Policy’ which is updated in line with recent legislation.

“Incorrect information, which was one of several policy drafts shared by schools and project management companies as examples before the Academy opened, have been removed from its website. The drafts were never formally approved by the Governors and not adopted.”

Academy Principal Janet Bridges added: “We are thankful that this administrative error has been brought to our attention and apologise for any upset it may have caused.”