Stonewall Cymru welcomes investigation by Welsh Government into Section 28 school concerns

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The director of gay rights charity Stonewall Cymru has welcomed the Welsh Government’s decision to investigate claims that two schools in Wales sought to ban the promotion of homosexuality.

Concerns had been raised by the British Humanist Association (BHA) regarding Tasker VC Milward in Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, and St Illtyd’s Catholic High School in Cardiff.

On Monday, the schools were among 45 to be listed in England and Wales by the BHA as either replicating language banning the “promotion” of homosexuality in the classroom or were “unhelpfully vague on the issue.”

Tasker VC Milward and St Illtyd’s Catholic High School both featured references in their sex education policies to the repealed Section 28 law – which banned the “promotion” of homosexuality by local authorities. Section 28 also said that schools “could not promote of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship”.

Yesterday, Tasker VC Milward and St Illtyd’s stressed they would be amending their guidelines. 

In response, the Director of Stonewall Cymru, Andrew White, said: “Wales led the way by effectively repealing Section 28 in 2002, a full year before Westminster.

“It’s a real shame that the Welsh schools in question haven’t updated their policy in the past decade.

“Regardless of whether a policy is lapsed, if it appears on a school website it forms part of that school’s message to parents and young people.

“Section 28 was a spiteful, harmful piece of legislation and should not form part of the message any Welsh school gives to anyone.

“We are reassured that the schools named have now committed to updating their communications.”

On Monday, officials at the UK Department for Education (DfE) launched a separate investigation from the Welsh Government.