Training and Development Agency for Schools Promoting sexualities, equalities and challenging homophobia Legislation, guidance and support. Background A range of legislation and guidance exists which supports schools in discussing same-sex relationships and sexual orientation in the classroom.
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A range of legislation and guidance exists which supports schools in discussing same-sex relationships and sexual orientation in the classroom.
This is a summary which also indicates where more detail can be found.
Sex and Relationship Education Guidance (Department for Education and Skills, 2000)
This describes how ‘it is up to schools to make sure that the needs of all pupils are met in their programmes… whatever their developing sexuality’ and that ‘teachers should be able to deal honestly and sensitively with sexual orientation’.
The Education Act, 2002 Education and Skills, 2000)
This obliges all schools to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. Schools need to ensure they provide a safe environment for children and young people to learn and identify those who are suffering or likely to suffer significant harm.
Schools that do not address bullying, including homophobic bullying, will be failing in their duty of care.
This is comprehensive guidance for schools on how to challenge homophobic bullying.
As well as offering practical strategies and detail on a range of resources and support available to schools, it contains specific briefings for governors, heads and school staff, and detail of much of the legislation outlined next.
Stand up for us (Department for Education and Skills / Department of Health, 2004)
Thiscomplements Safe to Learn and offers guidance on developing whole school approaches to addressing homophobia.
Both documents stress the importance of commitment from managers and governors, an inclusive school ethos and curriculum, providing appropriate professional development for staff, provision of LGB inclusive curriculum and resources, and involving and supporting young people and their parents.
The Education and Inspections Act, 2006 Department of Health, 2004)
Places a duty on governing bodies to promote well-being and community cohesion. Governors and head teachers must ensure that policies designed to promote good behaviour and discipline are implemented in school. This includes a duty to prevent and respond to homophobic bullying.
Oftsed self-evaluation forms require schools to report how they ensure that learners feel safe and are protected from homophobic incidents.
Ofsted Self-Evaluation Forms Department of Health, 2004)
These require a school to demonstrate how it has implemented policies and practices to ensure that it does not discriminate unlawfully against learners, job applicants or staff on the grounds of, gender (incl. gender reassignment), race, disability, sexual orientation, religion and belief, marital / civil partnership status or age.
The Ofsted Inspection Framework Department of Health, 2004)
This states that where a school is judged to be inadequate in relation to the quality of the school’s procedures for safeguarding and / or the extent to which the school promotes equality and tackles discrimination, inspectors treat these as ‘limiting’ judgements and the school’s overall effectiveness is also likely to be judged inadequate.
Duty to Promote Community Cohesion (2007) Department of Health, 2004)
This states that ‘discrimination and prejudice can be experienced by other groups – including the disabled, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender communities and different age and gender groups. Schools should therefore design their programmes to recognise where other strands of the equalities agenda, including gender, sexual orientation, disability and age, are interconnected with the aspiration to promote community cohesion…’
Safe from Bullying in FE (Department for Children, Schools and Families, and Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills, 2009)
Thisasserts that ‘the term ‘gay’ as an insult is unacceptable and should always be challenged’. It refers FE colleges to Safe to Learn for further guidance and support.
Every Child Matters and Families, and Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills, 2009)
Every Child Mattersrequires that young people ‘feel safe from bullying and discrimination’ and ‘choose not to bully or discriminate’.
Kevin Brennan MP
As Education Minister Kevin Brennan MP said every LGBT child matters.