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sex education policies - a return to Section 28?

20 August 2013

Following complaints by the British Humanist Association, the DfE are looking at the sex and relationship policies of a number of schools and academies which may contravene the Equality Act 2010 due to the potential for discrimination based on sexual orientation. The contents of the school policies named by the BHA suggest a return to the controversial 'section 28' provision which prohibited teaching that promoted homosexuality. This ban was repealed by Labour in 2003 in a move which had cross-party support. There is concern that a discriminatory approach to teaching in these areas may give rise to a further increase in homophobic bullying.

Whilst current government policy does not promote any form of sexual orientation and allows schools to develop their own policies to suit local circumstances, given the current concerns regarding all forms of bullying, new guidance would be welcomed to clarify the position of all schools on this issue in relation to the Equality Act 2010 and also sex and relationships policies.

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