Sex and Relationship Education: LGBT People

Department for Education written question – answered on 11th June 2019.

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Photo of Jeff Smith Jeff Smith Opposition Whip (Commons)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, if he will issue guidance on LGBT issues to schools to guarantee that all children, regardless of their religious or non-religious background, receive age-appropriate LGBT-inclusive Relationships and Sex Education when the new subject is introduced in 2020.

Photo of Jeff Smith Jeff Smith Opposition Whip (Commons)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, how children who are or who may later identify as LGBT and their peers will learn about LGBT issues in a fully inclusive and tolerant manner if state-funded religious schools are permitted to omit such content from RSE.

Photo of Jeff Smith Jeff Smith Opposition Whip (Commons)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he will take to monitor whether schools are teaching fully LGBT-inclusive Relationships and Sex Education when the subject becomes compulsory in 2020.

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

From 2020, relationships education will become compulsory for all primary aged pupils and relationships and sex education (RSE) for all secondary aged pupils in England. Alongside this, we are introducing health education for all pupils in state funded schools. The guidance will be published in due course and information concerning the guidance is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/relationships-and-sex-education-and-health-education.

Pupils should receive teaching on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) relationships during their school years. Primary schools are enabled and encouraged to cover LGBT content if they consider it age appropriate to do so. This would be delivered, for example, through teaching about different types of family.

RSE in secondary schools should meet the needs of all pupils, regardless of their developing sexuality or identity. The guidance sets out that secondary pupils should be taught the facts and the law about sex, sexuality and gender identity. When teaching the subjects, schools should ensure there is equal opportunity to explore the features of stable and healthy same-sex relationships. This should be integrated appropriately into the RSE programme, rather than addressed separately or in only one lesson.

All schools, including faith schools, must have regard to the draft guidance. In all schools, the religious background of all pupils must be considered when planning teaching so that the topics that are included in the core content are handled appropriately. Schools must also ensure they comply with the relevant provisions of the Equality Act 2010. The guidance includes an example of how schools can address LGBT relationships in a faith context; for example, the Catholic Education Service currently publishes a model RSE curricula.

Key aspects of relationships education, RSE and health education are in scope for Ofsted inspection; for example, through inspectors’ consideration of pupils’ personal development, behaviour and welfare; and pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development. Information about how Ofsted inspects schools is set out in its published school inspection handbook. The new Ofsted framework from September 2019 will also introduce a separate grade for ‘personal development’.

We have also committed to reviewing the guidance every three years. This will enable us to monitor the implementation of these subjects and make changes in future where required.

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