Respond to the Government’s consultation on Relationships and Sex Education by 7 November 2018
Have your say
In 2018, the Government pledged to make Relationships Education compulsory in all of England’s primary schools, and Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) compulsory in all of England’s secondary schools.
This is a crucial step towards ensuring every young person has the information and support they need to have happy and healthy relationships.
Now, the Government is inviting young people, parents and teachers across England to have their say on their new draft guidance for teachers.
It’s a significant improvement on the previous guidance – which was published in 2000, before the repeal of Section 28, and contains no mention of LGBT people or relationships.
But there are still areas where the new guidance risks failing to meet the needs of LGBT young people, LGBT families and teachers.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
If you’re a young person, parent, teacher or school governor, have your say and Come Out for LGBT by responding to the consultation on Relationships and Sex Education.
Tips for responding to the consultation
- It’s long – but you don’t need to answer every question on the form, just those you think are most important.
- We’ve highlighted key questions and the main areas of the guidance we want to see strengthened below.
- Use your own experiences as a teacher, student or parent. It’s your own perspective on Relationships and Sex Education that counts.
- Tell your friends, colleagues, classmates – we need to show the Government the strength of support for LGBT-inclusive education.
Below are Stonewall's repsonses to the key questions.
Question 11: Do you agree that the content of Relationships Education as set out in paragraphs 50-57 of the guidance will provide primary school pupils with sufficient knowledge to help them have positive relationships?
- To build understanding for and acceptance of LGBT people and ensure that children from LGBT families are included, the guidance for teaching about different families in primary school (Paragraph 55) should make specific reference to families with LGBT parents, alongside other family types.
- To help prevent and tackle anti-LGBT bullying, the guidance for teaching about different types of bullying at primary school should make specific reference to prejudice-based bullying, including homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying.
Question 14: Do you agree that the content of RSE as set out in paragraphs 65-77 of the guidance will provide secondary school pupils with sufficient knowledge to help them have positive relationships?
- To help prevent and tackle anti-LGBT bullying, the guidance for teaching about different types of bullying at secondary school should make specific reference to prejudice-based bullying, including homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying.
Question 24: Do you have any further views on the draft statutory guidance that you would like to share with the department? Do you think that the expectations of schools are clear?
Paragraph 33, which provides guidance on LGBT-inclusive teaching, should be updated to:
- Make it clear that schools must ensure all their teaching is LGBT inclusive, rather than only ‘recommending’ that they do this. Under the Equality Act (2010), all schools have a legal duty to eliminate discrimination and actively promote equality of opportunity for LGBT people, and delivering LGBT-inclusive RSE is a crucial part of this.
- Include guidance for teachers on how to ensure all teaching is LGBT-inclusive, for example: using case studies and resources featuring LGBT people and relationships, not making assumptions about whether /pupils present are LGBT or not, and signposting to LGBT-specific organisations and resources.
- Make it clear that LGBT-inclusive education must start from primary school. Rather than focusing on what’s ‘age appropriate’, which could be used to justify avoiding teaching LGBT-inclusive Relationships Education in primary schools, the guidance should focus on what’s timely, to ensure that children and young people have the knowledge they need in good time for the questions they face.
- The guidance on writing a Relationships Education and RSE policy (Paragraph 15) should require schools to make specific reference to their legal duties under the Equality Act (2010) to eliminate discrimination and actively promote equality of opportunity, including for LGBT people, and how they will meet these duties in their teaching.
- The guidance on religion and belief (Paragraphs 18-21) should be clear that respecting the religious ethos of a school and/or its pupils shouldn’t mean that certain topics need to be avoided or watered down – in fact, when it comes to LGBT-inclusive RSE, some of the best current practice come from faith schools, who are demonstrating that religion and LGBT identities aren’t mutually exclusive. The Equality Act (2010) requires schools to eliminate discrimination, advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between different people, which means it is important to recognise and celebrate both faith values and LGBT identities throughout teaching.
- The learning objectives for pupils at primary and secondary schools should be broken down by Key Stage, to provide clarity for teachers on how to teach different topics in a timely way.
What you can do
Whether you're a teacher, parent or at school yourself, it's vital you play your part in making schools more LGBT inclusive.
Download our toolkits and resources to help create a more inclusive school
Encourage your friends and teachers to Come Out For LGBT with these tips
Our research with the Centre for Family Research at the University of Cambridge into the experiences of over 3,700 LGBT pupils