The new relationships and sex education curriculum, which has aroused deep concern within the Charedi community, is to be delayed by the government because of the coronavirus outbreak.
Although it will still legally come into force in September, schools unable to meet its requirements will now not have to start teaching it until the summer next term.
According to the new RSE policy, children should know about the existence of same-sex relationships before the end of secondary school.
But Charedi rabbis have emphasised that LGBT topics should not openly be addressed in the classroom.
The Department for Education told schools this week that the curriculum would “still become compulsory” at the beginning of September.
“However, schools have flexibility to decide how they discharge their duties effectively,” the DfE advised.
“If a school is unable to begin teaching until summer term 2021, they will need to decide how much of the content they will be able to cover and should still be able to demonstrate how they will cover the entirety of the curriculum in the future.”
Schools should give priority to mental health and wellbeing, the DfE said.
It added that when Ofsted resume inspections, inspectors would be “sensitive to and take account of” the circumstances of schools.
Earlier this week, an educational group which looks to promote traditional family values launched its guidance for schools on teaching RSE..
The Values Foundation, headed by the former director of the National Association of Orthodox Jewish Schools, Judith Nemeth, said that schools have a “statutory obligation” to engage with parents at every stage of the RSE process and support teaching children in a way that reflects parental beliefs.
According to the foundation’s “Get It Right” advice, “Research is clear that children growing up with their biological parents in a secure, committed marriage have the best chances of prospering in adult life: in relationships, work and general health.”
On LGBT issues, it says “schools must support children who self-identify as gay or same-sex attracted in a pastoral one-to-one setting, in association with parents and professionals.”
But it argues that the “risks associated with some homosexual behaviours are significantly higher than those of a heterosexual nature” and “schools are potentially putting children’s long-term physical and mental health at risk by promoting these behaviours whilst not fully explaining the risks.”.
Sexual orientation, it says, “is not fixed. By discussing and normalising high-risk sexual behaviours, schools are likely to inadvertently increase its prevalence.”
It says human beings are either male or female, according to science, and it is misleading and confusing to children to use the “gender theory” model that gender is on a sliding scale.
Where children suffer from gender dysphoria, they should receive one-to-one pastoral care, the foundation says.