Fears of anti-gay discrimination at some schools and academies
GOVERNMENT chiefs have vowed to investigate the sex education policies of dozens of schools and academies amid fears some had returned to the anti-gay discrimination of the 1980s.
Gay rights activists, MPs and ministers have united in their anger over the revelation that some academies had adopted questionable sex education policies
Comparisons have been made between some of the policies and the Section 28 rules brought in by the Conservative government a quarter of a century ago.
Section 28 made it an offence for an authority to "intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality".
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It also outlawed teaching the "acceptability" of homosexuality as "a pretended family relationship". The legislation was overturned by Tony Blair's Labour administration.
However, campaigners have found examples of about 40 schools where guidelines on sex education suggest teachers will not be allowed to "promote" homosexuality or should be ambiguous on the issue.
There are not any national curriculum guidelines on sex education and details of what lessons should include are left up to schools to decide.
But schools are required to comply with the Equality Act which forbids discrimination of any form.
The findings have been described by the Department for Education as "unacceptable" while campaigners have said it is "alarming" that some schools have such views "enshrined in their policies".
All Saints' Academy in Blaisdon Way, Cheltenham, has its sex education policy on its website, which states it does make pupils aware of homosexuality.
The Education for Sex and Personal Relationships Policy states that one of its aims is to "impart full knowledge and understanding, delivered in age, religious and cultural appropriate ways" of issues including "homosexuality".
This includes raising awareness of the "physical, emotional, spiritual and moral aspects and to be aware of topics around these issues".