Family & Education

Education Secretary Damian Hinds: children should know about same-sex relationships

Damian Hinds says new guidance on relationships and sex education is clear


Education Secretary Damian Hinds this week reiterated that children should have been taught about same-sex relationships by the end of their time at school, under the government’s new relationships and sex education policy.

In a statement on Tuesday, Mr Hinds said: “Our new guidance is clear that children should leave school having learnt about LGBT relationships.”

The inclusion of LGBT content in the new curriculum has been resisted by conservative religious groups, including from within the Charedi community.

However, Charedi leaders believe that under new regulations their schools may not be unduly penalised if they avoid teaching about LGBT issues.

He also gave assurances when he appeared before the parliamentary education committee on Wednesday that "on the question of covering LGBT matters, it is a question of when - not if."

The guidance was "very clear that during your school years, you will cover matters to do with LGBT people".

It would be covered, he said, as part of relationships education which, unlike the sex education components of the RSE curriculum, is compulsory.

According to the new policy, due to come into force in September next year, primary children should understand there are different family set-ups, although they are not specifically required to know about families with same-sex parents.

The guidance states: “Families can include for example, single parent families, LGBT parents, families headed by grandparents, adoptive parents, foster parents and carers amongst other structures.”

While not compulsory for primary schools, Mr Hinds said this week that he "strongly encouraged" them to discuss families with same-sex parents.

By the end of secondary school, children should understand that stereotypes - including those relating to same-sex orientation - can cause harm.

Mr Hinds said a group of experts would be set up to advise on RSE classes, including representatives of faith groups.

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