Campaigners have expressed outrage at the Department for Education’s decision to remove gender identity from the latest draft of the National Curriculum for Schools.

Concerns are based on the new wording, which in a previous draft stated that “teachers should take account of their duties under equal opportunities legislation that covers disability, ethnicity, gender, sexual identity, gender identity, and religion or belief.”

However, in the latest draft, this wording has changed to omit gender identity and says simply that “teachers should take account of their duties under equal opportunities legislation that covers disability, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation”.

The Chairman of the Education Select Committee, Conservative MP Graham Stuart, has written to ministers asking for a detailed explanation.

LGBTory, the Conservative Party’s LGBT group, has also written to the Department for Education (DfE).

Zoe Kirk-Robinson, LGBTory’s Trans Officer, said: “Despite claims that gender identity has been included in ‘sex’ in the latest National Curriculum draft, this is unacceptable. Sex and gender identity are entirely different things.

“While the decision to merge ‘gender’ and ‘gender identity’ in order to eliminate segregation is laudable, children in school – especially transgender children, who are especially vulnerable – need the protection offered by an outright statement that their status is protected.”

The Department for Education said in a statement: “Teachers are best-placed to understand the needs of their pupils and to tailor their programme to reflect the needs of their pupils.”

Education Secretary Michael Gove’s department is already facing criticism this week over revelations that scores of schools have had polices in place targeting the “promotion” of homosexuality.

Campaigners warned it was reminiscent of the era of Section 28.

Section 28 banned the “promotion” of homosexuality in schools and was repealed in 2003.