Camilla Turner reports for the Daily Telegraph : Faith schools that neglect to teach about LGBT relationships next year could fail their Ofsted inspection, the watchdog has warned.
From next summer, secondary schools where children do not learn about same-sex, transgender and bisexual couples are likely to have their leadership judged as “requires improvement” by inspectors.
Meanwhile, primary schools where children are not taught about LGBT relationships and where the head teacher has failed to consult with parents over the decision will be barred from achieving a “good” or “outstanding” rating for leadership.
Even private schools – including fee-paying faith schools – will fail their inspections if they refuse to teach about LGBT relationships, as only teaching about heterosexual couples would be in breach of equality laws.
Relationships education was set to become compulsory in England’s state primaries, and relationships and sex education was due to become compulsory in secondaries when schools reopened earlier this month.
But ministers announced in June that schools would be allowed to postpone these lessons until the summer term of 2021, due to the pandemic.
The move was taken to give schools more time to prepare to deliver the new curriculum and to engage with parents on their policies and content following lengthy school closures.
Schools that were not able to meet requirements in statutory guidance because of “lost time and competing priorities” were allowed to delay teaching these compulsory subjects for the first two terms of the school year while they make preparations, the DfE said.
Charlie Colchester, founder of the campaign group Let Kids Be Kids, which is opposed to the roll-out of RSE lessons, said the new guidance was a “threat” to schools.
“Schools are terrified of not doing well in their inspections,” he told The Daily Telegraph. “This is an unspoken threat which is played into by some of these requirements.
“Even though they are not made specifically, the fact that it is a possibility [that they will be marked down], turns it into a real threat for schools.”
Mr Colchester and others are bringing a judicial review against the Government’s decision to ban parents from withdrawing children from RSE.
Government guidance says schools should engage with parents on the curriculum, but emphasises that the ultimate decision lies with teachers and parents have no “veto” on content.
Polling by YouGov shows that English adults are generally in favour of RSE in primary schools, with 55 per cent strongly or slightly in favour.