A timeline of legislation, guidance & policy relating to challenging homophobia in schools since 1999

Today is 10 years to the day since Section 28 was repealed.

I made this huge timeline below because I wanted to track some of the key drivers for teachers and schools in challenging Homophobia since 1999 (to capture 2000 when SRE guidance was launched and is still in force to date despite mentioning “It it not about promotion of sexual orientation- that would be inappropriate teaching”.)  I decided to publish it for reference for others.

With thanks to John Lloyd for his helpful feedback and phenomenal knowledge on aspects of this timeline!
timeline A

The second part of the timeline goes into much more detail from 2009 to current date. Apologies that this second image is stupidly tiny, but if you click on it twice it should enlarge enough to be legible. There have been serious formatting headaches with the tables in the document from word into wordpress and had to convert to an image file which hasn’t really worked either! SorryTimeline image



DCFS (Department for Children, Schools and Families) (2007) Safe to Learn- homophobic bullying. Crown Copyright. ISBN 978-1-84775-029-7

DCFS (Department for Children, Schools and Families) (2007) Bullying around racism, religion and culture, Crown Copyright.

DCFS (Department for Children,Schools and Families) (2000) Safe to Learn-Sexist, Sexual and Transphobic bullying. Crown Copyright).

DfE (Department for Education) (2012) Preventing and tackling bullying Advice for head teachers, staff and governing bodies. Crown Copyright.

DfE (Department for Education) (2013) Consultation on PSHE Education Summary Report. Available from http://media.education.gov.uk/assets/files/pdf/p/pshe%20cons%20report.pdf [Last accessed 30/6/13]

DfE (Department for Education)   (2013?) The national curriculum in England Framework document –February 2013 Available from https://www.education.gov.uk/consultations/downloadableDocs/National%20Curriculum%20consultation%20-%20framework%20document%20(2).docx [Last accessed 30/ 8/13]

DfE  (Department for Education)  (2013?) The national curriculum in England Framework document –July 2013 Available from https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/210969/NC_framework_document_-_FINAL.pdf [Last accessed 30/ 8/13]

DfE (Department for Education)   (2013?) Personal, Social and Economic Education Available from http://www.education.gov.uk/schools/teachingandlearning/curriculum/b00223087/pshe [Last Accessed 11/11/13]

DFEE Guidance (Department for Education and Employment)  (2000) Curriculum and Standards. Sex and relationships education Crown copyright. Available from http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20130401151715/https://www.education.gov.uk/publications/eOrderingDownload/DfES-0116-2000%20SRE.pdf [Last accessed 27/ 7/ 13]

DH Department for Health (2013) A Framework for Sexual Health Improvement in England.Crown Copyright.

FAE, J. (2013a) Return of Section 28: Why some UK schools have banned ‘promoting’ gay issues. Gay Star News. 19.08.13. Available from  http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/return-section-28-why-some-uk-schools-have-banned-%E2%80%98promoting%E2%80%99-gay-issues190813 [Accessed 20/8/13]

FAE, J. (2013b) UK government removes protection for trans children in school 21.08.13 Available from http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/uk-government-removes-protection-trans-children-school210813 [Accessed 21/8/13]

FAE, J. (2013c) UK government: Protections for trans school kids were removed in ‘error’. Gay Star News. 22.08.13 Available from http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/uk-government-protections-trans-school-kids-were-removed-error220813 [Accessed 20/8/13]

GTC (2004) Code of conduct for Teachers http://dera.ioe.ac.uk/8257/3/conduct_code_practice_for_teachers.pdf Last accessed 30/6/13]

HANNAH, A. and DOUGLAS-SCOTT, S. (2008) Challenging homophobia: Equality, diversity, inclusion. London: The FPA.

HOYLE, A. (2013d) “Dear Schools (Academies?) Having “SECTION 28″ in Your School Sex Ed Policy Is NOT Acceptable.” Web log post. SexEdUKation. WordPress, 17 Aug. 2013. Available from https://sexedukation.wordpress.com/2013/08/17/dear-schools-academies-having-section-28-in-your-school-policy-is-not-acceptable/ [Last accessed 17/8/13]

HOYLE, A. (2013e) “Promotion of Homosexuality” vs. “Promotion of Sexual Orientation” – Section 28 actually never went away. Web log post. SexEdUKation. WordPress, 17 Aug. 2013. Available from https://sexedukation.wordpress.com/2013/08/17/promotion-of-homosexuality-vs-promotion-of-sexual-orientation/ [Last accessed 31/8/13]

JENNETT, M. (2004)  Stand up for us – Challenging Homophobia in schools. National Healthy School Standard. Department of Health, Department for Education and skills. ISBN 1-84279-200-8

OFSTED (2010) Personal, social, health and economic education in schools. Available from http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/resources/personal-social-health-and-economic-education-schools [Accessed 13/12/13]

OFSTED (2012) No Place for Bullying. Available from http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/resources/no-place-for-bullying [Accessed 13/12/13]

OFSTED Framework for school inspection (2013a) Available from http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/resources/framework-for-school-inspection [Accessed 13/12/13]

OFSTED (2013b) Inspection Documents Archive Available from http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/resources/maintained-schools-inspection-documents-archive[Accessed 13/12/13]

OFSTED (2013) Not Yet Good Enough, Personal, social, health and economic education in schools. Available from http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/resources/not-yet-good-enough-personal-social-health-and-economic-education-schools [Accessed 13/12/13]

Sex Education Forum (2011) The Current Status of Sex and Relationships Education. Available from http://www.ncb.org.uk/media/385195/current_status_of_sre.pdf [Last accessed 30/6/13]

STONEWALL Hunt, R., & Jensen, J. (2007).  The School Report: The Experiences of Young Gay People in Britain’s School. Stonewall. Available from http://www.stonewall.org.uk/at_school/education_for_all/quick_links/education_resources/4004.asp [Accessed 1/3/13]

STONEWALL Guasp, A. (2009). The teachers’ report: Homophobic bullying in Britain’s schools. London: Stonewall. Available from http://www.stonewall.org.uk/at_school/education_for_all/quick_links/education_resources/4003.asp [Accessed 1/3/13]

Stonewall Guasp. A. (2012) The School Report: The experiences of Young
Gay People in Britain’s schools in 2012. London, Available from http://www.stonewall.org.uk/at_school/education_resources/7957.asp [Accessed 1/3/13]




Teaching about Abortion in Schools

*bangs on a drum loudly until have attention of all teachers across the land*


Inviting anti-abortion organisations into schools IS ABSOLUTELY NOT “enabling students to be able to come to a balanced view of the topic” (as one teacher claimed when the Guardian exposed what was being covered by such organisations*)

The Fab Education for Choice put it far better than I ever could:

Schools often like to stimulate interesting debate about abortion by inviting speakers from pro-choice organisations to balance the views given by ‘pro-life’ (anti-abortion) organisations. Anti-abortion organisations think that abortion is unacceptable in any situation and would like to see the practice outlawed. The opposing view to this would be a pro-abortion stance – the view that abortion is always the right solution to unwanted pregnancy. This is not a view held by any organisation. Instead, agencies that value young people’s health and recognise their rights will support an individual to make their own decision about pregnancy for themselves. The view of these organisations is balanced, in and of itself.

Debating the issues from a pro-abortion v anti-abortion perspective does not help young people to acquire the attitudes, skills and knowledge they need to be able to make their own, informed choices about sex, pregnancy and abortion. Instead it simplifies the issues, stigmatises abortion as an option, and polarises the discussion, which the Department for Education advises against:
“It is all too easy to create a classroom debate in which pupils’ views become polarised and miss the purpose of sex and relationship education in preparing pupils for the responsibilities and challenges of adult life. When abortion is covered within a programme, the challenge is to offer young people the opportunity to explore the dilemmas, enable them to know and understand about abortion, and develop the communication skills to discuss it with parents and health professionals.”
Sex and Relationship Education Guidance, DfEE, 2000

For more information please go and read their brilliant- Abortion Education Toolkit.

Please please very carefully consider any outside speaker you invite into your school and use this excellent guidance from the Sex Education Forum to guide you.


*and please note some anti-abortion organisations have been exposed several times to be peddling in lies and truth distortions which simply is not right or fair to our young people.

Rant Over.

Why the “Path to Misery” Leaflet Will Never Get Far in Schools

Apparently a leaflet has been sent into schools telling students “sex before marriage” is a “path to misery”:


Here is my response as a teacher:

Dear Family Education Trust,

I hear you have sent a pamphlet for teens into “EVERY SCHOOL IN THE COUNTRY” (according to the Independent headline).  Just one?  For each school?  Now I am assuming you didn’t send it to primary schools?  I mean it mentions lust and sex and all sorts of stuff!  So lets assume you sent it to secondary schools my googling reveals that that there are  3,225 maintained secondary schools in England with with 3,146,080 pupils. This means your single leaflet needs to be shared between 976 pupils on average! (Now I didn’t include the 223 maintained secondary schools in Northern Ireland, the 376 publicly funded secondary schools in Scotland and the 223 maintained secondary schools in Wales, because I didn’t have time to get the pupil numbers too but you get the idea!)   So this leaflet “for teens” isn’t actually going to get to the teens, is it!?  Oh and by the way that was an example of using FACTS/EVIDENCE to support what am saying.  You should try it sometime. (My sources were here, here, here and here)

Now who did you send the leaflet to in this “every school in the country?”

Did you send it to the headteacher?  If you are lucky it will be delegated down and down and down until it most likely reaches the bin (but a few more people may see it this way).  If you sent it direct to the PSHE co-ordinator it will probably be quickly reviewed during the cursory scan of a overstuffed pigeon hole on a quick coffee dash to the staffroom and then probably binned, as teachers get a whole lot of crap sent to them everyday.

Possibly, if you are incredibly lucky a particular teacher may chance upon it and think- “oooh wonder if I can somehow use it in a lesson, I am always looking for new ideas”.

But then this raises further questions:  “I only have one- I really need a class set of 30- or at least 1 between 2”. Now do you expect the schools to order more of copies of this free leaflet having seen how “amazing” it is?  This “What is Love?” pamphlet isn’t yet available on your website although your previous pamphlet “Too Much Too Soon” costs £50 for 25.  Yet there are the fabulous FPA, Brook, and Bish leaflets amongst others which all offer us much much better value for money.  They cost around £6 for 50 copies of a decent evidence-based peer-reviewed leaflet and often we can get these leaflets for FREE in schools from our local contacts.  So how much would you expect us to pay for a class set of this leaflet?

Also, as a teacher, I need to carefully consider whether this is a suitable pamphlet to share with all my students?  Hmmm lets explore this one further:

Is it inclusive?  Does it meet the needs of all my learners?

NO – it doesn’t appreciate that many of my learners come from single parent families or unmarried families.  It also doesn’t recognise gay relationships or mention civil partnerships.  This would anger and upset many of my students who would feel I was giving them a resource not relevant to them.

Is it written in a way my learners can understand?

Not really.  Not to dumb down to my students but there is an awful lot of text in there- knowing my lot half of them will have switched off before the end of the first paragraph especially as the language isn’t student friendly.  And as for the pictures- Cheeseorama- my lot would be happier drawing moustaches on them!  I could also go on further about the language used in the pamphlet but that has been covered far more eloquently than I ever could by  Education for Choice,  tessakendall and sreproject so I will leave that, other than to say telling my learners:  “where a sexual relationship is pursued to express passing feelings and emotions, it is ugly and destructive and will lead to misery and regret” is definitely NOT going to engage with my students some of whom maybe sexually active and quite happy about it.  Do you have an evidence base for this statement?

Does it include material I can easily adapt into a lesson?

Nope – there are no thought-provoking questions other than the leaflet title “What is Love?” and to be honest I don’t really feel that the leaflet answers the complexity of “what is love?” other than to rant about what it isn’t.  I can think of a dozen better ways to explore “what is love” within a lesson (in fact I did so here) .   A teacher would need to do a lot of work if they wanted to even think about using this “resource” with one of the 976 pupils it was aimed for and to be quite honest we simply don’t have the time.

The thing is I think you find that most teachers of sex and relationships education do address relationships and the benefits of a stable relationship for a healthy sex life, we also probably cover love, physical attraction, infatuation, lust, commitment, faithfulness, and maybe even patience and perseverance.  All of which your leaflet covers.  However as experienced teachers with years of working with young people, we probably do it in a much better way that engages rather than alienates them.

For teachers of sex and relationships education if you want proper resources related to sex and relationships education, I strongly recommend you use The Sex Education Forum as a starting point: http://www.ncb.org.uk/sef/home.aspx . Their curriculum design section is fab http://www.ncb.org.uk/sef/resources/curriculum_design.aspx.  I also recommend you join the PSHE Association for further resources and support.

Now I really must dash away from my first ever blogpost (be kind!) as I am supposed to be writing a scheme of work on preventing Sexual Bullying- now that really is the path to misery for some teenagers.