Children of all ages should be taught about issues involving the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community, teachers have said.
The National Union of Teachers’ (NUT) annual conference was held in Cardiff over the Easter weekend. At this event, the organisation called for lawmakers to include these issues in the Sex and Relationships Education (SRE) classes the government plans to make compulsory in secondary schools and suggested such lessons should be taught to younger children as well.
NUT General Secretary Kevin Courtney said that “SRE should be statutory at all key stages because of the benefits for children and young people”. He said the government should introduce “high quality and age-appropriate SRE across all key stages which fits the complexity of young people’s lives today”.
Not only should these classes be taught to children of all ages, they must be “inclusive” so that LGBT youngsters “are told explicitly in the law that their lives are important too” the NUT demanded.
Under the current law, the only secondary schools required to teach anything relating to sex are those run by councils and those lessons are exclusively within the context of biology. Free schools and academies make up the majority of institutions in the country and they have no such legal obligation.
Courtney said this needed to change because lessons about relationships which include LGBT issues should be “recognised as an essential part of the school curriculum”.
“Surely it is not beyond the wit of Government to understand and accept the importance of giving our children access to well-balanced, age-appropriate information on matters of SRE, including sexuality.”
Earlier this year, a survey of 1,000 British children found that almost three quarters of them wanted lessons on relationships. The poll was conducted as part of a campaign by children’s charity Barnardo’s. The group wanted to push the government for such classes to be introduced into the national curriculum in order to “give all children the knowledge that will help keep them safe”.