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Free Schools reintroduce Section 28 style ban on ‘promotion’ of gay issues

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  1. Trevor Diamond 17 Aug 2013, 3:54pm

    Oh…. here we go AGAIN. How depressing. When will these people learn?

    It’s *vital* young people get positive messages about themselves and their emerging sexual identity – gay or straight – from schools. Censorship in this area really cheats young people out of important support when they need it. It makes sure there can be open discussion about safe sex & the emotional side of relationships. Critically, it also sends a message to the homophobic bullies that their attitudes are unwelcome, outmoded and inappropriate.

    1. Yes, Trevor, this is horrifying. Fortunately we have a lot of people out there all over the world to push back on this, and not just gay people in 2013 but our heterosexual allies. And we will push back, whether it be from a computer in California (me) or someone on the ground in the UK (my friends there are really getting on this) with support from all over the world. People, use your networks, get your friends involved.

  2. I don’t see a problem. Open discussion about sexuality is still permitted so kids will still be educated about homosexuality and relationships etc. What is banned is the ‘promotion’ of homosexuality, i.e. the advertising and selling of it. I think people are making a fuss over nothing.

    1. I think you’ll find that EVERYTHING becomes the “promotion of homosexuality” when these things begin to get monitored, even a display of a happy same sex couple. Seems to me these “educators” are looking for a way to roll back protections for gay adolescents any way they can. And again, it doesn’t result in fewer gay adolescents. Not condoning homosexuality never results in fewer gay people, it’s not the way it works. They’d like it to be, they think it should. They are wrong.

    2. If that’s OK then will they also ban the “promotion” of heterosexuality? If not, then what you have is discrimination in schools, and kids being taught (in a roundabout way) that homosexuality is “not normal”. I had enough of feeling like an outsider amongst my peers when I was a teenager; I wouldn’t wish this on anyone else

      1. Well said. That kind of insidious homophobia is hugely damaging to young people. It certainly f**ked with MY head.

    3. Christopher Kay 17 Aug 2013, 4:07pm

      How can you possibly promote a sexuality? It’s not a bloody IKEA sale, you moron

    4. Promotion means saying it is OK. This means teachers are entirely forbidden to acknowledge same sex relationships as in any way comparable to heterosexual relationships.

      It means children cannot be called up on using gay as an insult, because that involves the assertion that there is nothing wrong with being. It means teachers cannot say anything positive, or criticise anything negative, no matter how mild.

      It guarantees that gay children are completely unprotected from negativity, and can never be reassured that they aren’t the freaks everyone is telling them they are.

      This is taking an incredibly vulnerable group of young children, a group in need a extra support and protection, already at vastly greater risk of bullying, violence, mental health issues, homelessness and family and peer alienation, and throwing them to the wolves.

    5. Selling it?

      You mean like – 50% off homosexuality. Sale this week on homosexuality. Buy 1 homosexual and get 1 free. Fvcking idiot.

    6. That There Other David 17 Aug 2013, 4:21pm

      “Promotion” of homosexuality to those who ever mention the phrase has always meant any acknowledgement that it’s OK to be gay. What they are saying is that discussion of sex and sexuality is allowed to be positive when discussing opposite-sex relationships, but cannot be positive when discussing same-sex relationships. It is, in effect, “promoting heterosexuality” as if gay teenagers can somehow be made straight by the correct teaching.

      The entire premise is flawed, it’s based on very bad science and I can guarantee only being introduced to these schools because somebody is pushing religious doctrine. This has no place in a modern classroom and the DoE need to remind the governors and Headteachers of these schools of their responsibilities to ALL of their students, not just the straight ones.

    7. you only have to look at recent events in RUSSIA to realise just how damaging these policies will be to everyone in the lbgt community
      the Russian policymakers are saying exactly what you have just written

      in effect it is a policy allowing wholesale abuse and a catalyst for removal of equality and well outside the remit of the equality act

      the condems current attempts to remove the human rights act will further underpin more abuse and denigratory policies at local govt level
      watch that space !! because equality is going to be eroded and you are supporting it in naivety

    8. Jock S. Trap 17 Aug 2013, 4:56pm

      Could you be any more ignorant?

    9. So nieve Will. That is not at all how it works and as someone who lived through the 1980′s and 90′s I can tell you it is harmful.
      The non-promotion of anything means “putting it in a bad light” and as someones sexuality is an intrinsic part of their being, for LGBT young people this can be devastating, it is a form of perverted child abuse.
      It should not be happening in any educational institution.

  3. Rick George 17 Aug 2013, 4:04pm

    Would I be right to assume that these are all faith schools?

    1. Oddly enough, none of them appear to be. The website of the Sunderland one specifically says it isn’t a religious school, and I can’t see any hint of a religious ethos on the other two.

      1. Just anti-gay.

  4. Anna Hayward 17 Aug 2013, 4:17pm

    How can you ‘promote’ a sexual orientation? That assumption needs to be seriously challenged: the idea that homosexuality is just marketing, or a ‘lifestyle choice’ or a contagious idea. You could ‘promote’ homosexuality to a bunch of straight kids forever and they’d never turn gay: just as most children are ‘promoted’ heterosexuality ad nauseum and yet mysteriously, some still turn out gay. Even in countries where being gay is life threatening. You can’t promote homosexuality any more than you can promote gender or ethnicity.

    1. You’re exactly right. It’s a back-to-square-one issue, as if they had not learned a single fact in the past 50+ years.

  5. Wow I know the head of Castle View has a reputation as being a bully toward staff and perhaps this is a reaction to a gay member of staff coming out, or maybe it isn’t. Totally disgusting and I hope it hits the places where it hurts – in pupil numbers

  6. There’s a simple answer to this: write to your MP ands ask why your taxes are being used in this way. If academies can’t educate children properly then they shouldn’t get funding.

  7. Jock S. Trap 17 Aug 2013, 4:54pm

    This needs to stop and stop now.

    There has to be some kind of decency for pupil in a place of learn for adulthood not discrimination.

    Time for this government to step up and tell these bigoted schools discrimination has no place.

    End it and end it now!

  8. Disgusting. Are they actually allowed to write discriminatory policies like this? And are there more schools with similarly worded policies who just haven’t been found out yet?

    1. As I understand it, state schools are generally not allowed to discriminate against LGBT pupils, but there is a huge loophole that means this doesn’t apply to RE or sex education lessons in religious schools, free schools, or academies. The last government made a half-hearted attempt to get rid of this loophole during the washup period before the last general election but quickly backed down, while the Tories want to leave things as they are. Meanwhile, more and more schools are becoming free schools or academies (which also means they can completely ignore the national curriculum), so the problem is only going to grow.

    2. Thanks for that info, James. I wonder if free schools and similar are permitted to ignore anti-racism laws then? I imagine not. I can’t understand why they’re allowed to have opt-outs like this. It’s ridiculous.

  9. This is an absolute travesty!

    The state is long overdue in helping promote LGBT understanding and the fact that they’re re-introducing section 28 instead of taking a much needed step forward in stamping out homophobia is very distressing.

    These schools should talk to their science tutors about something called “epigenetics”

  10. Currently waiting for a reply from Washington & Sunderland West’s MP over Castle View. Completely intolerable when this is paid for by your taxes.

  11. The non-promotion of anything means “putting it in a bad light” and as someones sexuality is an intrinsic part of their being, for LGBT young people this can be devastating, it is a form of perverted child abuse.
    It should not be happening in any educational institution.
    This must be stamped on now.
    The very fact that this is included in their school policy betrays an attitude of mind and ignorance! as well as an inability to deal effectively with the education of young people without causing substantial harm to significant number of their students.

    1. Exactly, nothing positive will be allowed to be said about being gay and this is means only negative propaganda can be promoted, it is completely unacceptable and these schools must be forced to change their homophobic policies or have their funding cut off.

  12. Robert in S. Kensington 17 Aug 2013, 6:12pm

    Why are these schools receiving state funding, our tax pounds? Enough, demand all funding be withdrawn.

    I’d like to see how this fits in with the Equalities law. Watch now as the religious right anti equal marriage haters spin this one and especially those Tory back bench bigots.

    1. And while in New Zealand, Robert, I observed that following the passing of their own same-sex couples legislation there’s been a noticeable groundswell amongst some New Zealand parents to imitate the free schools of Sweden and Britain so as to start fighting back against what bigoted parents consider to be “sexual indoctrination”.

      Our battles never cease, do they!

      1. Robert in S. Kensington 18 Aug 2013, 3:43pm

        Interesting, Eddy. Let’s hope we see the same happening among our own.

  13. By deliberately denying them access to information on matters that are important to them, this is an assault on the LGBT students, and chances of a successful and safe future, if not their very lives.
    How soon would it be before these schools start complaining that their gay students and the adults they grow up to be have little to no proper understanding of relationships and safe sexual conduct?
    To write a rule that says harmful stereotypes must not be challenged is an abuse of the children who are likely to grow up believing that they, for being gay, must behave in an unsafe way and be promiscuous, as in the stereotype.

  14. There is a huge crossover in “objective discussion” and “promotion”. It would be interesting to see their guidelines – if they have any. Who will be the judge? Every statement wood have tobe analyses and weighed up. Doesn’t sound workable.

    1. I can just see how “objective” translates to “anti-gay” in their mindset. The ghosts of Russian “homosexual propaganda” laws are spreading all over the world. It’s very important to react immediately before it’s too late !

  15. Jeremy Hoad 17 Aug 2013, 6:25pm

    Does Pink News ever have “exclusive” interviews with anybody who isn’t a member of or a supporter of the Tory Party?

    Filling an article on the back-door reintroduction of Section 28 in schools by a Conservative led government with explanations as to why and how the Tory Party was NOT actually homophobic and really didn’t mean what they legislated for is insulting and outrageous.

  16. “Free Schools” are opportunities for bigoted parents to ensure their bigotry is passed onto their children, that teachers will teach what bigoted parents require them to teach.

  17. “Promotion of homosexuality” is a wooly statement and can be used to interpret what is said in a classroom discussion as promotion, leading to all sorts of consequences for teachers, assistants and indeed other students. This is a retrograde step.

  18. As a statement it is meaningless. What on earth does this nebulous ‘promotion of homosexuality’ amount to? The issue is that it yet again spreads fear and bigotry. Strikes me of the usual little cosy union of the right wing and Christian element who always seem to get their grubby little hands on school governing bodies.

  19. Christopher Coleman 17 Aug 2013, 7:08pm

    I do not understand what “promoting” homosexuality means, any more than I would understand promoting blue eyes or thinning hair in older men. It really is meaningless.

    “Objective discussion” in the classroom should already apply to every subject taught. In the case of homosexuality it should be taken to include a ban on hate views, as these would not be “objective”. Likewise teachers could tell students that there are many gay couples who have been together for many years and appear to be happy in their relationships. This is a fact and, therefore, “objective”.

    While I find rules like this offensive, I do not think that they are half so bad as they appear. Good, imaginative teachers will not be hampered and most teachers probably work this way already. The rules have most likely been put in place to satisfy some parents following the legalization of same gender marriage. Window dressing that makes no difference.

  20. how can we condone Russia when we still have this on our shores

    1. I highly doubt ANYONE is suggesting that we “condone” Russia.

  21. Em Williams 17 Aug 2013, 7:49pm

    It seems this in not in effect at Colston Girls School – and was not at the time Pink News published the article.
    https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/sre_education_policy#incoming-406731

  22. Surely this is illegal ?

    Surely…

  23. GulliverUK 17 Aug 2013, 8:27pm

    Fagburn covered this quite a while ago.
    http://www.fagburn.com/2011/12/education-section-28-20.html

    And I has lots of discussions about it back in 2011 – Gove introduced Clause 28 which affected the way academies were required to teach SRE, basically freeing them from far more equality-based legislation.

    Pinknews covered it around the time to, search the web for “clause 28″ . If you go to the bottom of the telegraph article the two statements read very differently. There are massive implications.

  24. ‘promoting homosexuality’ if that were the case, that children were having any sexuality propaganda shoved on them, I’d agree. However, this is simply not the case. This is about promoting tolerance of homosexuality (as well as racial, gender, and other variants young people will encounter; we’re not all white males.)
    Promoting tolerance and understanding, is fine and I encourage it. Promoting sexual orientation, to kids, I do not.

  25. Here we go again!!
    The head teachers of these schools need to be publicly dismissed and maybe prosecuted under some incitement to hate crimes or equalities law.

    We all need to jump on this right away this is not Russia and I’ve NO intention of being restricted or driven back into the closet. The possible gay children attending these schools need us to stand up for them NOW!!

  26. That the phrase “promoting homosexuality” appears in any PHSE policy, in any sense, shows an extreme lack of judgement and ignorance of the subject.

  27. GulliverUK 17 Aug 2013, 9:19pm

    The PN article on Clause 28 from December 2011.

    http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2011/12/06/department-for-education-refutes-clause-28-claims-for-free-schools-and-academies/

    Ofcourse, there is a law which allows equal marriage, although as yet no same-sex couples can actually get married. And the government is getting the Education Dept, in conjunction with the Equality and Human Rights Commission to draft new wording, to make things clear – which is an opportunity. However, that is for state schools, including faith schools, and no indication that would apply to Free schools or Academies.

  28. Sadly in most schools the governing body is made up of a small group of people who are neither representative not answerable to the main body of the school. The Head – who’s salary package is usually agreed by the governing body – can and does influence this group of lay people’s opinions on what and what should not be done in the school. It also only takes a couple of homophobic maniacs in the groups to suggest something is so awful and in the main the rest will go along with it as they neither want confrontation or feel intimidated.
    School governors need more gay people on the team – if you really want to change their opinions then bombard them with questions and offers to join them.
    The xtians do it all the time so play the game to win. You don’t need a child in the school to be a governor and influence their policy.

  29. GulliverUK 17 Aug 2013, 9:42pm

    Hope everybody has signed the petition

    http://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/academies-scrap-your-section-28-rule

    And tweet it, facebook it, etc.,

  30. They need to go ahead and name them after Vladimir Putin.

  31. I have spoken directly to Janet Bridges, Principle of the Castle View Academy and it seems this is an old policy and upon checking this evening (I saw this posted on a friends page earlier this evening) this has been a legacy from initially applying for Academy status and the project management company that helped with the transition from School to Academy have used this form as almost a cut and paste, it has been removed from website and they are currently checking to make sure there are no other versions around. The practice that they adhere to is the ‘Single Equality Policy’ that has been ratified by the governors of the Academy. Mrs Bridges welcomes the challenge and is thankful that this has been brought to her attention and apologises for any upset this may have caused as she is as offended by section 28 as you are and Castle View Academy promotes inclusivity and without prejudice environment.

    Could I politely ask that her references are removed from this petition

  32. Being from Sunderland I have spoken directly to Principle of the Castle View Academy and it seems this is an old policy and upon checking this evening (I saw this posted on a friends page earlier this evening) this has been a legacy from initially applying for Academy status and the project management company that helped with the transition from School to Academy have used this form as almost a cut and paste, it has been removed from website and they are currently checking to make sure there are no other versions around. The practice that they adhere to is the ‘Single Equality Policy’ that has been ratified by the governors of the Academy. Mrs Bridges welcomes the challenge and is thankful that this has been brought to her attention and apologises for any upset this may have caused as she is as offended by section 28 as you are and Castle View Academy promotes inclusivity and without prejudice

    1. That’s great, and I suspect a number are urgently reviewing this. However, we don’t know, as yet, what exact wording each academy and free school will be using, if they will all be the same, etc. I think until such time as the exact wording of every academy and free school is known then we should not back off with this petition – they are undoubtedly some who will try to keep a very homophobic version.

      The government also needs to clarify the exact position, as this should be a nationwide policy, not some ad-hoc local decision.

      If Castle View’s new wording meets the full inclusive wording required to ensure LGBT young people, those with single parents, divorced parents, etc., are all included, then fine. However, we need to know from the government how they are going to fix this mess, because they’re in charge, and they need to set a standard, and that has to be acceptable to the LGBT community … OR, there will be protests on the streets, outside Parliament, outside DfE.

      1. I just checked the link on the petition, and the Castle View document STILL states – “The Governing Body will not permit the promotion of homosexuality.” which is about as bad as it gets.

        http://castleviewenterpriseacademy.co.uk/cache/files/807-1319803063/SexRelationshipspolicy.pdf.

        So they have not removed it.

        what we really need is a protest outside their school to highlight the issue and get it on to the national news platform.

        Words are utterly useless when actions don’t match up. The very fact they lied to you and told you that they had removed it when they hadn’t isn’t helpful to their position.

        1. 11.2 The Governing Body will not permit the promotion of homosexuality.
          http://www.colstonsgirls.bristol.sch.uk/cgs-policy-sex-relationship-education-pdf

          Still on Colston Girl’s School web site. Every single academy will need to be checked, in Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England.

  33. Hopefully this vile homophobia doesnt sneak into the Scottish school system ( though i think i might hope in vain)

    1. Good point, and somebody needs to check pronto.

  34. Didn’t Ed Balls bring this in because of the Catholics? Yes, yes he did… http://www.standard.co.uk/news/ed-balls-to-let-faith-schools-teach-homosexuality-is-wrong-6720565.html

  35. Philip Leicester 18 Aug 2013, 12:11am

    Makes you so cross. So much so I emailed all three schools to say so:

    admin@colstonsgirls.bristol.sch.uk
    CVEA@sunderlandlearning.net
    admin@swindon-academy.org

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