The DfE Relationships Education RSE and Health Education Guidance (2019), the Equality Act 2010 and the Public Sector Equality Duty, advice to schools (2014), as well as the Ofsted Education Inspection Framework (2019), make it clear that equality and inclusion of minority groups, including those who have minority gender identities and sexual orientations, are a legal requirement. Gladstone Primary Academy follows these legal requirements.
How gender identities and sexual orientations are discussed, included and taught at the Academy is important for the wellbeing of staff and pupils, as well as helping to reflect and prepare all children and young people for life in 21st century Britain.
Gender identities and sexual orientations are not taught in isolation, where the content is only about LGBT+ families, relationships and identities, but incorporated in wider lessons that are relevant and age-appropriate. An example of this could be learning about marriage, where it is important to include representation of heterosexual and gay marriages and the fact that, by UK law, same-sex couples are able to marry.
Issues concerning LGBT+ identities and relationships may also be explored as part of Anti-bullying lessons. It may be that a child has been bullied or put down for challenging perceived gender norms through dress, behaviour or friendships. Some children may respond to this by using homophobic, biphobic or transphobic language, regardless of the identity of the person being bullied. In this case, learning about respect, challenging stereotypes and different identities is not primarily a lesson on LGBT+ identities, but a lesson on respectful relationships and positive friendships which challenge bullying.
The DfE guidance (2019) states that, by the end of primary school, as part of Relationships Education, in the topic ‘Families and people who care for me’, there are a number of things that pupils should know:
- that families are important for children growing up because they can give love, security, and stability.
- the characteristics of healthy family life, commitment to each other, including in times of difficulty, protection and care for children and other family members, the importance of spending time together and sharing each other’s lives.
- that others’ families, either in school or in the wider world, may look different from their family, but that they should respect those differences and know that other children’s families are also characterised by love and care.
- that stable, caring relationships, which may be of different types, are at the heart of happy families and are important for children’s security as they grow up.
- that marriage in the UK represents a formal and legally recognised commitment of two people to each other which is intended to be lifelong.
In the topic ‘Respectful relationships’(also part of Relationships Education)pupils should know:
- the importance of respecting others, even when they are very different from them (for example, physically, in character, personality or backgrounds), or make different choices or have different preferences or beliefs
- practical steps they can take in a range of different contexts to improve or support respectful relationships
- the conventions of courtesy and manners
- the importance of self-respect and how this links to their own happiness [it is important that those pupils who may think they are LGBT+, or have LGBT+ family members, are encouraged to respect themselves and their backgrounds]
- that in school and in wider society they can expect to be treated with respect by others, and that in turn, they should show due respect to others.
- about different types of bullying (including cyberbullying,), the impact of bullying, responsibilities of bystanders (primarily reporting bullying to an adult) and how to get help
- what a stereotype is, and how stereotypes can be unfair, negative or destructive. Talking about differing families should include families that are headed by same-sex parents/carers, along with families headed by opposite-sex parents/carers, step-families, one-parent families, those being headed by grandparents, children in local authority care, children acting as carers within the family, extended families and others. Discussion of respectful relationships, self-respect, anti-bullying and stereotypes, should incorporate LGBT+ relationships and identities alongside other identities.
If you have any questions please contact the academy.