Brighton head condemns government for excluding gay rights from ‘British values’ push
The headteacher of a leading independent school in Brighton has criticized the government – for failing to include gay rights in its push to promote ‘British values’ in schools.
The head of Brighton College, Richard Cairns, will tell a conference tomorrow that plans to promote ‘British values’ after the Trojan Horse scandal in Birmingham should have done more to challenge homophobia.
The values defined by former Education Secretary Michael Gove are support for democracy, respect for the rule of the law, individual liberty, and mutual respect for those of different faiths and beliefs.
Mr Cairns will say: “It is true that in addition to the four core values, schools must also demonstrate respect for the ‘protected characteristics’ of the Equality Act of 2010, but you have to dig quite deep to find out what these characteristics are.
“They include, of course, not just mutual respect for those different faiths and beliefs (which is highlighted as a British value) but also as a duty to respect the equal rights of men and women, disabled and able, gay and straight.
“These things matter because in core parts of our society, women are not treated equally.
“Forced marriages still happen. And all of us are aware of the government’s campaign to eradicate female genital mutilation.
“In addition, the rights of a man to live with a man and a woman with a woman, enshrined in law, should surely be accorded the same respect and protection as the right to be a Muslim or a Jew or a Christian.”