Education secretary Gavin Williamson has pledged the government’s support for schools teaching LGBT-inclusive relationship and sex education.
Williamson said that the government will be “supporting and backing every single school” as they prepare for the roll-out of a mandatory LGBT-inclusive curriculum.
From September 2020, every primary school child will learn about different types of families, including those with same-sex parents, while secondary school students will learn about sexual orientation and gender identity.
Older children will also be given inclusive sex education lessons, though parents will be able to withdraw them should they choose to.
Williamson said that the purpose of the new guidance is to “make sure every single school is able to teach about Britain as it is today, but also have the flexibility to ensure that it has an understanding of the communities which it operates in”.
New LGBT-inclusive relationship education mandatory from 2020.
He said that teachers will be able to access support when they return to classrooms from Monday, September 2, and can begin teaching the new curriculum straight away, ahead of the 2020 roll-out.
Prior to the change in law, some schools had already been teaching an inclusive curriculum, sparking protests in Birmingham and other cities.
In some of his first comments on the controversy, Williamson said that “we shouldn’t be seeing protests outside any schools”.
“We want to make sure all pupils, parents and teachers are able to go to those schools freely without any form of intimidation,” he added.
Birmingham schools suffered lengthy protests.
At the beginning of the year, Parkfield Primary School in Saltley, east Birmingham, was the site of daily protests over its ‘No Outsiders’ lessons, which taught children about diversity.
After Parkfield’s programme was halted, fresh protests began at Anderton Park Primary in Sparkhill, south Birmingham, where children were also being taught an inclusive curriculum.
The demonstrators – mostly Muslim parents – argued that their children were too young to learn about diverse families, though a human rights lawyer brought in to mediate in the dispute warned that “malicious outsiders” were spreading lies that children were being given an explicit sex education.
The protests came to a pause in June when a High Court judge issued a temporary injunction pending a full trial.