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Schools remove section 28-like policies

On Monday the British Humanist Association (BHA) identified 46 schools which, in their sex and relationships education policies, either replicated section 28 of the Local Government Act 1988 (which forbade local authorities from promoting homosexuality in schools), or stated that the law (which was repealed in 2003) is still in force. Since then a large number of the schools concerned have removed the relevant statements or have committed to reviewing their policies.

The BHA is aware that the majority of the schools have removed or revised their sex and relationships education policies. This includes all the policies that seemed to most clearly potentially be discriminatory, leaving behind others that are, for instance, factually incorrect in referring to section 28 as still being in force, but not clearly endorsing it.

BHA Head of Public Affairs Pavan Dhaliwal commented, ‘We commend these schools revising their policies so promptly and taking steps to address this issue. Many parents and members of the public have been in touch with us about this concerning issue and we have been clear in all our communications that it would be wrong to assume or suggest any of the schools concerned are guilty of malice or homophobia. Instead, it seems more likely that these are cases of ignorance/oversight on the part of the schools as to the fact that law and policy has moved on. In fact a number of the schools have made clear to us that they take these issues very seriously and two of them have been commended by Stonewall as School Champions, meaning they are strong on tackling homophobic bullying.

‘We would recommend that the schools are given the space to consider the issues raised. Any school concerned about this issue would do well to look at the Sex Education Forum‘s resources and guidance, as well as the specific guidance from the PSHE Association, or they can get in touch with Stonewall, and take part in their training.’

Notes

For further comment or information contact Richy Thompson, Education Campaigns Officer, at richy@humanism.org.uk or on 07815 589636.

Details of individual schools is available to journalists upon request.

Read more about the BHA’s campaigns work on PSHE and Sex and Relationships Education: http://humanism.org.uk/campaigns/schools-and-education/school-curriculum/pshe-and-sex-and-relationships-education/

The British Humanist Association is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people who seek to live ethical and fulfilling lives on the basis of reason and humanity. It promotes a secular state and equal treatment in law and policy of everyone, regardless of religion or belief.

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