Primary schools shouldn’t need permission from parents to teach LGBT inclusive lessons, says UK equality watchdog

parents and LGBT+ inclusive education

Primary schools should be able to teach LGBT+ inclusive education without seeking permission from parents, the UK equality watchdog has said.

From September 2020, inclusive relationships and sex education will be statutory, and guidance states that “schools must consult parents in developing and reviewing their policy”.

Every primary school child will learn about different types of families, including those with same-sex parents, while secondary school students will learn about sexual orientation and gender identity.

Former education secretary Damian Hinds said he supported consultations with parents over the content of relationships education, although he did not support giving them the power to veto the curriculum.

But the chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, David Isaac, told The Independent that asking for permission or seeking consultation “encourages parents to be negative or anxious” about the topic.

He said: “This is not a zero-sum game. If children are being taught about same-sex families that doesn’t mean to say that is a direct attack upon anybody else’s religious beliefs or the tenets of their faith.

“We obviously need to be sensitive to that but children need to understand this. My view is those things should be taught at primary school.

“Just talking about the existence of these families doesn’t mean that they are advocating for them. This is just what 21st-century Britain is and what the law requires.”

Inclusive sex and relationships education will have to reflect the law, and teach the protected characteristics of the Equality Act 2010 as they apply to relationships.

OFSTED chief inspector Amanda Spielman previously said: “The Equality Act is designed to enforce a number of different rights. And of course, there are places where these different rights can bump into each other.

“One clear tension exists in places where equality between the sexes comes second to religious belief and cultural preferences.

“Another tension arises between religious belief and relationships education in the context of LGBT issues. And what we’re talking about here is not sex education.

“It’s just a simple understanding that, just as families worship differently, they also love and marry differently.”