Teachers’ union calls for compulsory education about same-sex relationships

PinkNews logo on a pink background surrounded by illustrated line drawings of a rainbow, pride flag, unicorn and more.

The UK’s largest teachers’ union has called on the next government to make it compulsory to teach about same-sex relationships.

Delegates at the National Union of Teachers conference in Harrogate today passed a resolution calling on whoever is in government after the election to make it mandatory to create a ‘positive climate’ to discuss sexuality and gender.

The motion reads: “Conference believes that schools should be places that allow students and staff to be free from homophobia, biphobia and transphobia, to enjoy a positive educational experience.

“Conference demands that a future government must tackle the embedded homophobia, biphobia and transphobia that exists in schools and create a positive climate of understanding about sexuality and gender fit for the twenty
first century.

“This must include a commitment to make it easier to discuss ideas about sexuality and gender so that students and teachers are more
confident to identify as LGBT and work in schools without fear of prejudice.”

In a thinly-veiled attack on Conservative Secretary of State for Education Nicky Morgan – who previously voted against same-sex marriage – the motion also calls on the future government to “appoint an education secretary that supports LGBT rights and has a positive track record in supporting civil partnership and gay marriage”.

The Labour, Green and Liberal Democrat parties have all pledged to introduce statutory SRE after the next election – with Nick Clegg claiming that Conservatives were “whacking” the issue.

Despite the Lib Dems supporting SRE, Labour has previously slammed the party for failing to support its parliamentary measures on the issue.

Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper told the PinkNews Debate last month: “The Lib Dems have voted against it several times when we put forward amendments in Parliament to push this through.

“I wish you would vote with us. I wish all the Lib Dems and all the Tories would vote with us would have a consensus across parties about this.”

Christine Blower, General Secretary of the NUT, said after the debate: “The NUT calls for all parties standing in the 2015 General Election to show their commitment to tackling the discrimination faced by both LGBT students and teachers in schools by following the ten point action plan outlined in the Motion.

“This includes making it compulsory for all schools’ sex education policies to include a positive portrayal of same sex relationships, promoting LGBT History Month in all schools, and encouraging schools to develop a curriculum that is inclusive of LGBT issues.

“We need education policy that develops curriculum for children and young people that supports the democratic values of a diverse Britain – including LGBT equality.

“Future governments must tackle the embedded homophobia, biphobia and transphobia that exist in some schools. Lesbians, gay men, bisexual and transgender people are all part of their local school communities as teachers, support staff, students, parents and governors.

“The NUT is at the forefront in the campaign for equality of opportunity and fair treatment for all students and staff, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation.”