The National Union of Teachers (NUT) has said gay relationships should be promoted as ‘positive’ in school, and that schools should develop a curriculum that is inclusive of LGBT issues.
Currently, many teachers believe that local-council-run secondary schools are not providing a good enough sex education to pupils, and are failing to educate students in LGBT issues and gender identity.
Earlier this year, the shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt had said the Section 28 legislation which had banned schools from “intentionally promoting homosexuality,” was still damaging schools education systems today, and believed that many teachers required further training on LGBT issues. Section 28 went into effect in 1988 and was repealed in 2003 by the House of Lords in an overwhelming fashion.
“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.” Begins Christine Blower, the General Secretary of the NUT union. “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.”
While it’s extremely difficult to pinpoint the exact percentage of people in the LGBT community within the UK (or indeed, any country), David Spiegelhalter’s Sex by Numbers estimates about ten percent, while the Nation Bureau of Economic Research believes the figure is closer to twenty percent.
The campaign group Stonewall believe that there are some 52,000 bisexual, lesbian and gay children who regularly miss school because of homophobic bullying. Additionally, 37,000 pupils will change their future education plans as a direct result of the abuse they receive at school.
“This kind of policy is dangerous for our children who are being oversexualised at a very young age,” said Andrea Williams of Christian Concern, one of several groups who disagree with the proposal. She continued, “They are being introduced to concepts and having normalised sex relationships which robs them of their innocence and is not for their emotional and moral wellbeing.”
Deputy Director of the Christian Institute, Simon Calvert believes Christian Schools do a good job and promotes “tolerance towards all people by teaching pupils that every person is made in the image of God and has inherent dignity.”
He went on to say that he believes the motion was “an act of intolerance towards mainstream Christians and their beliefs” and “would force Christian teachers to have to choose between their faith and their job. I wonder whether Christian members of the NUT who have paid their dues can expect any help from the NUT when their jobs are on the line.”
The Church of England has said “We have not studied the proposals in detail, but we have introduced new anti-homophobic bullying guidelines in all of our schools last year and we are fully committed to sex and relationship education that allows room for exploration and discussion of relationships within a framework of Christian values.”