Department for Education: It’s nonsense to say schools must teach gay rights

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

The Department for Education has claimed that it’s “nonsense” to suggest that schools “must teach gay rights”.

It came after a report in the Sunday Times today suggested that the government would give Ofsted inspectors more powers to downgrade schools that fail to comply with the Equality Act, with a requirement to “actively promote” tolerance.

A tweet from the Department for Education – which is headed by Secretary of State for Education Nicky Morgan – dismissed the claims as “nonsense”.

It read: “Nonsense to say schools ‘must teach gay rights’. We want schools to teach broad curric based on British values.”

The message has been strongly criticised on the social network, with some upset at the notion that the department would dismiss the concept of mandatory gay-inclusive education as “nonsense”.

It is unclear who is responsible for sending the message, and whether it was sanctioned by an Education minister.

Tim Farron, the President of the Liberal Democrats, has condemned the message.

He wrote: “Tolerance & enlightenment are key parts of our education system. That @educationgovuk tweet is unacceptable. Will be raising with ministers.”

Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Education, Tristram Hunt said: “LGBT rights are British values. DfE must back compulsory sex and relationship education, including LGBT rights.”

“@NickyMorgan01 clearly doesn’t believe #LGBT rights are British values. They are. Compulsory #SRE in schools: common sense not ‘nonsense'”

Update: The Department for Education has deleted the tweet and released the following clarification: “It is complete nonsense to say that schools are being forced to ‘teach gay rights’ against their will.

“Ofsted are rightly ensuring that schools do not indoctrinate pupils about gay people – or any other people – being inferior.

“The same goes for schools that do things like make girls sit separately at the back of the class. Both are practices which go directly against the fundamental British values of tolerance and respect.

“We believe schools should prepare all pupils for life in modern Britain. A broad and balanced curriculum is vital for this.”