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Teachers back call over LGBT rights

Published 05/04/2015

"It's about acceptance."

Schools should be made to include a positive view of same-sex relationships as part of their sex education policies, teachers have said.

While gains have been made in society on LGBT rights, homophobia, biphobia and transphobia are still prevalent in schools, according to the National Union of Teachers (NUT).

Figures from an NUT poll of LGBT teachers suggest that only 10% felt confident in disclosing their sexuality or gender to students and 18% felt that all staff if their school consistently challenged homophobia, biphobia and transphobia.

Delegates at the union's annual conference in Harrogate backed a resolution which said more must be done to tackle these issues.

The motion said: "Conference demands that a future government must tackle the embedded homophobia, biphobia and transphobia that exists in schools and create a positive climate of understanding about sexuality and gender fit for the 21st century.

"This must include a commitment to make it easier to discuss ideas about sexuality and gender so that students and teachers are more confident to identify as LGBT and work in schools without fear of prejudice."

It set out a series of measures for the union to take, including calling on the government to "make it compulsory that all schools' sex education policies include a positive portrayal of same-sex relationships".

Under the current system, sex and relationships education is not compulsory in England's primary schools. It is mandatory for pupils at council-run secondary schools, and must cover sexually transmitted infections, including HIV and AIDS. The subject is not compulsory in academies and free schools - which are state schools that are not under local authority control.

NUT general secretary Christine Blower, said: "The NUT calls for all parties standing in the 2015 General Election to show their commitment to tackling the discrimination faced by both LGBT students and teachers in schools by following the 10 point action plan outlined in the motion.

"This includes making it compulsory for all schools' sex education policies to include a positive portrayal of same sex relationships, promoting LGBT History Month in all schools, and encouraging schools to develop a curriculum that is inclusive of LGBT issues.

"We need education policy that develops curriculum for children and young people that supports the democratic values of a diverse Britain - including LGBT equality.

"Future governments must tackle the embedded homophobia, biphobia and transphobia that exist in some schools. Lesbians, gay men, bisexual and transgender people are all part of their local school communities as teachers, support staff, students, parents and governors."

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