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Primary school under fire for controversial homosexuality law
A primary school has come under fire for referencing a controversial homosexuality law – despite it being repealed a decade ago.
Patcham Junior School’s policy was labelled “of great concern” by the British Humanist Association (BHA), which investigated schools still referring to section 28, a nowdefunct law banning the intentional promotion of homosexuality in schools.
The school still refers to section 28 in its sexual education policy – an appendix of its personal, social and health education policy – which was drawn up in 2002 before the law was repealed.
The BHA has described the inclusion of the law as “unhelpfully vague” and urged the school to review its policy accordingly.
Patcham Junior School’s policy states: “Section 28 of the LocalGovernment Act 1988, does not apply to school governors or teachers.”
The school is one of 22 nationwide highlighted for containing guidance “that still seem to imply that section 28 might some way be in force and therefore are in need for review”. A further 20 were flagged in the report for allegedly containing policies similar to section 28, though there is no suggestion Patcham Junior School did.
Repeal BHA Head of Public Affairs Pavan Dhaliwal said: “It is simply unacceptable that over a decade after the repeal of the pernicious section 28 that these schools continue to enforce similar policies, while others have statements which are overly vague on this matter.
“All of the schools identified must urgently review their sex and relationships education policies to ensure that all pupils, whatever their sexual orientation or gender identity, are treated with equal respect and understanding and that homophobic and transphobic bullying is stamped out.”
The organisation said it was likely the inclusion was a result of ignorance but said their concern was it may be misinterpreted by teachers and result in homophobic teaching, or avoiding topics such as homophobic bullying.
When section 28 was introduced in 1987 it prompted a huge campaign that brought together gay rights groups such as Stonewall.
The repeal of the lawbecame effective in November 2003.
A council spokesman said the inclusion was a mistake and that it had been removed after being contacted by The Argus.
He said: “Brighton and Hove City Council and its schools have a very good record in seeking to prevent and challenge homophobia.
“Patcham Junior School is aware of its statutory duties under the Equality Act and has an up to date sex and relationship education policy on its website.
“This does not include any reference to section 28 and instead states positive work the school will do to create a safe learning environment for all children and their families. Unfortunately the school neglected to remove from its website the previous policy that is out of date and includes the reference to section 28.”
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