UK Government: ‘Schools should not promote any sexual orientation’

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

The government has reiterated its warning against schools introducing Section 28-style policies targeting the “promotion” of homosexuality by saying they should not promote any type of sexual orientation in the classroom.

This week at the National Union of Teachers’ annual conference in Brighton delegates discussed last summer’s revelations that more than 45 schools had polices in place targeting the “promotion” of homosexuality.

The Independent reports Deborah Glynn, from St Helens, Lancashire, cited research by the British Humanist Association (BHA) to the conference on Tuesday 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.

Ms Glynn said she had worked in one academy which had previously featured language reminiscent of Section 28 in its guidelines.

However, the language was subsequently removed following the BHA’s revelations.

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” and that schools “could not promote of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship”.

It was later repealed under Tony Blair’s Labour government and the current Conservative Prime Minister, David Cameron, apologised for the policy in 2009.

A Department for 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.”