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LGBT Awareness

Oral Answers to Questions — Education – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 29th January 2018.

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Photo of Alex Norris Alex Norris Labour/Co-operative, Nottingham North 12:00 am, 29th January 2018

What steps his Department is taking to ensure that all schools teach awareness of LGBT issues in an age-appropriate manner.

Photo of Rosie Duffield Rosie Duffield Labour, Canterbury

What steps his Department is taking to ensure that all schools teach awareness of LGBT issues in an age-appropriate manner.

Photo of Nick Gibb Nick Gibb Minister of State (Education)

Schools can teach about LGBT issues within the curriculum and they must comply with the Equality Act 2010. We have established a £3 million programme to prevent and address homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying, and we are making relationships education and relationships and sex education compulsory and engaging thoroughly with stakeholders to inform the design and content of the curriculum in those subjects, ensuring that they are both high quality and age appropriate.

Photo of Alex Norris Alex Norris Labour/Co-operative, Nottingham North

With the change in leadership at the Department, may I ask whether the new Secretary of State shares the commitment of his predecessor that relationship and sex education lessons must be lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender inclusive and reflect the needs of all young people?

Photo of Nick Gibb Nick Gibb Minister of State (Education)

I can give the hon. Gentleman that assurance. We are clear that the new subjects should ensure that young people learn that there are different types of relationships. Schools should ensure therefore that RSE is inclusive and meets the needs of all young people.

Photo of Rosie Duffield Rosie Duffield Labour, Canterbury

Can the Minister provide detail of how schools will be assessed to ensure that they are providing LGBT-inclusive relationship and sex education lessons, and what benchmark will be used to measure this?

Photo of Nick Gibb Nick Gibb Minister of State (Education)

These are the issues on which we are engaging with subject experts at the moment. We have issued a wide call for evidence from parents, pupils, teachers and young people, and we will assess that call for evidence before we issue further guidance on the matter. There will be a full debate on the regulations in this House when we draft those regulations.

Photo of Wera Hobhouse Wera Hobhouse Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Housing, Communities and Local Government)

The Higher Education and Research Act 2017 gave universities a duty to provide additional support to students with special educational needs and disabilities. However, the Government provided no general guidance or any means for students to ensure that their rights are met, apart from taking the universities to court. Does the Minister agree that that is justifiable?

Photo of John Bercow John Bercow Speaker of the House of Commons, Chair, Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, Chair, Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, Chair, Commons Reference Group on Representation and Inclusion Committee

The hon. Lady is thinking of a matter of great importance, but its relationship to the question under consideration is not clear. We are grateful to her, and she may be able to unburden herself further at a later stage if she is lucky.