The National Education Union, the United Kingdom’s largest teaching union, has agreed to campaign for the government to make LGBT+ relationships a compulsory part of primary and secondary school education.
Teachers at the National Education Union conference in Liverpool on Tuesday (April 16) voted for the union to lobby to strengthen Relationship and Sex Education (RSE) in all schools.
“It is 2019 not 1987.”
— Annette Pryce
The decision comes after parents in Birmingham protested against the No Outside programme, which teaches about same-sex relationships, in local schools.
Schools must be open about LGBT+ relationships
Dr Mary Bousted, a general secretary at the National Education Union, said schools cannot address LGBT+ issues if they are unable to talk “openly and positively” about their place within society both now and in the past.
“Silence about LGBT+ people is the wrong approach, and fuels homophobic bullying, inequality for LGBT+ workers and hate crime.” Bousted said.
According to the Independent, Annette Pryce, from the NEU executive, said there have been incidences of parents ridiculing LGBT+ teachers’ “fitness to teach” in WhatsApp groups.
“It is 2019 not 1987,” Pryce added. “We need to make sure we send the right message this time to our members, our government and our schools.”
Current flexibility in LGBT+ education
RSE education was reformed for the first time in almost two decades last month. Over 530 MPs voted in favour of (RSE) being a compulsory part of education in English schools.
But the guidance, which will take effect in 2020, does not require schools to teach LGBT+ content in lessons.
Currently, secondary schools are only expected to include LGBT+ information in their lessons while primary schools can do so if they deem it age appropriate.