LGBT equalities need to be visible in school sex and relationships education.
Embargoed until 00:01am Thursday 17July 2014
New advice for schools on how to provide sex and relationships education which meets the needs of all young people whatever their gender or sexuality, is published today by the Sex Education Forum , based at leading children's charity the National Children's Bureau (NCB).
The advice, set out in the latest edition of the Sex Education Forum’s e-magazine, focuses on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) issues and will help schools deliver a sex and relationships education (SRE) curriculum which is inclusive for all their pupils.
Young people have repeatedly said that same-sex relationships and transgender people are often completely invisible in SRE and that the failure to discuss different families, gender identity and sexual orientation in school lessons is detrimental to their health and well-being.
Teachers have also called for support in creating LGBT inclusive curriculum content for SRE. Currently 37% of primary school teachers and 29% of secondary school teachers ‘don’t know’ if they are allowed to teach about lesbian, gay or bisexual issues. Indeed, landmark changes to legislation for LGBT equality including the Civil Partnership Act 2004, the Equality Act 2010 and the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013, all mean that we have an obligation to prepare young people for life in a society which embraces equality.
Lucy Emmerson, Coordinator of the Sex Education Forum said:
“For too long, young people have spoken about the damage done through poor quality or non-existent SRE. Ofsted share our concern and found in inspections that the casual use of homophobic language is commonplace in schools. The latest edition of our e-magazine explains how love and respect are core values that run throughout good quality SRE and are essential for challenging homophobia, biphobia and transphobia.”
“The next generation expect equalities legislation to be put into practice in school life and the curriculum they are taught. This magazine includes lesson ideas for primary and secondary schools and aims to show just how straightforward it can be to teach SRE in a way that is relevant for all children and young people.”
“We will also continue to campaign for statutory and inclusive SRE as part of an entitlement to personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education.”
Loren Wright, aged 21 and a METRO Youth Chances participant, said:
"When I was at school, I knew I was different and this paired with the old fashioned and inaccessible sex education that was taught made me even more confused. LGBT issues are sorely needed in schools today as everyone needs to be able to understand this information that has been held back for decades. It can help young people like me feel included and with this inclusion bring LGBT young people out of their shells and can help create a truly diverse and loving atmosphere and environment within schools."
The LGBT Issue of the Sex Education Forum’s e-magazine is available from: www.sexeducationforum.org.uk/sex-educational-supplement
For more information please contact the National Children's Bureau's media office on 0207 843 6045 / 47 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For urgent enquiries out of office hours call 07721 097 033.
Notes to editors
About ‘The LGBT Issue’
This edition of the termly magazine produced by the Sex Education Forum aims to show educators how straight forward it can be to make SRE inclusive. It is available to purchase for £4.99 from the NCB web-shop. Members of the Sex Education Forum receive the magazine for free.
About the Sex Education Forum
The Sex Education Forum is the national authority on sex and relationships education (SRE). We believe that good quality SRE is an entitlement for all children and young people and we are working with our member organisations - including religious, children's, parents, health and education organisations - to achieve this. For further information visit: www.sexeducationforum.org.uk
About the National Children's Bureau
The National Children's Bureau (NCB) is a leading charity that for 50 years has been improving the lives of children and young people, especially the most vulnerable. We work with children and for children, to influence government policy, be a strong voice for young people and practitioners, and provide creative solutions on a range of social issues. For more information visit www.ncb.org.uk
About Metro Youth Chances
Metro Youth Chances is an action research project working to improve the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) young people across England. It is led by The Metro Charity in partnership with Ergo Consulting and the University of Greenwich.
 In the METRO Youth Chances survey of over 7000 young people aged 16-25 years old approximately three quarters of LGBTQ young people report that they learnt nothing about relationships between 2 men or 2 women. 89% of LGBTQ young people report learning nothing about bisexuality issues and 94% report learning nothing about transgender issues. METRO Youth Chances, 2013. Survey of 16-25 year olds: First reference report. London: METRO. http://www.youthchances.org/
 A YouGov Poll commissioned by Stonewall for ‘The Teachers’ Report 2014’ found one in five primary school teachers (22 per cent) say they would not be confident in responding if a child were to ask questions about lesbian, gay or bisexual people in the classroom. One in five secondary school teachers (20 per cent) say they would not feel confident in responding if a pupil did raise a question on sexual orientation in the classroom. The Poll included 1832 primary and secondary school respondents across Britain. http://www.stonewall.org.uk/documents/teachers_report_2014.pdf