News Digest 4 – 8 September

Minister Nick Gibb provided an update on the Government’s anti-HBT bullying projects, and two written questions were answered regarding relationships and sex education.

Nick Gibb announces anti-HBT bullying projects in schools
Nick Gibb, minister for School Standards and Equalities, gave an update on the Government initiative to tackle homophobic, biphobic and transphobic (HBT) bullying this week. The Government Equalities Office (GEO)-led project aims to ensure that all children are free from being bullied for their gender identity or sexual orientation. Primary and secondary schools across the country will partner up with organisations such as Stonewall, Barnardo’s , the National Children’s Bureau, the LGBT Consortium, the Proud Trust and Metro to educate young people to accept each other’s individuality.

The PSHE Association has been contracted by the GEO to quality assure materials produced by the six participating grantee organisations/consortia. These materials include PSHE education teaching resources, training, school policy guidance and more.  You can read more about this aspect of the project here on the PSHE Association site.

Nick Gibb said: “Bullying at school is cruel, particularly at a time when LGBT pupils are coming to terms with their sexuality or gender. I am determined that we stamp out the use of the word ‘gay’ as a pejorative term and prevent bullying of all kinds so pupils feel safe and able to achieve their full potential.”

“I’m delighted that so many schools across the country will be participating in this programme. By creating a culture of acceptance and respect in our classrooms we can support young people as they discover who they are.”

Written parliamentary questions

  • Sarah Champion MP asked about the timetable and engagement process on the scope and content of relationship education for primary schools and relationships and sex education for secondary schools. Minister Nick Gibb answered that the Children and Social Work Act places a duty on the Secretary of State for Education to make relationships education mandatory in all primary schools, and relationships and sex education in all secondary schools in England. The Department intends to consult widely on the content of both curriculums.
  • Mark Hendrick MP asked what funding the Government Equalities Office plans to make available to tackle period poverty and whether she plans to meet her equivalent in the Scottish Parliament to discuss its initiative to provide sanitary products to women and girls on low incomes. Minister Anne Milton answered that no girl should be held back from reaching her potential because of her gender and points out that current guidance on relationships and sex education encourages schools to make adequate and sensitive arrangements to help girls cope with menstruation and requests for sanitary protection. The Government has also taken note of the Scottish pilot programme and is looking for opportunities to discuss it further with them.               

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