Gove’s new Section 28: Free schools must preach marriage

Edited 1920GMT, 5th Dec: Please see this update to the post. The below is not correct when it blames Gove as it turns out the clause is also present in Labour’s version of the agreements from 2001.

With echos of Cameron’s “single parents cause the riots” speech from a few months ago, The Telegraph have noticed that there is a new Section 28 in the offing. (Section 28 was the now long-dead rule that prohibited Local Authorities from teaching about homosexuality. Neither Bisexuality nor Transexuality had, it seems, been invented back then: They didn’t try to ban them)

The offending document, a “model funding agreement“, is on the Department of Education web site and has allegedly been up there since 2nd September, but nobody had noticed until now. The clause really is numbered 28, and reads:

28. The Academy Trust shall have regard to any guidance issued by the Secretary of State on sex and relationship education to ensure that children at the Academy are protected from inappropriate teaching materials and they learn the nature of marriage and its importance for family life and for bringing up children.

It doesn’t directly mention homosexuality, but given that marriage is still a strictly heterosexual affair, the wording requires that schools promote the monogamous man-and-wife, two point four children approach to life, ignoring that in the real world poly people exist and we’re quite capable of raising well-adjusted kids.

My kids have two step-mothers and a step-father (In stable relationships) and two half-siblings. The only people who get confused are the teachers: I don’t think their forms are big enough for all that information.

I don’t know how this agreement compares to the language used in rules for state schools, but the Telegraph story does have some basis in fact. At best, it’s an unintended interpretation of a poorly written clause with an unfortunate number. At worst… yes, this is why having Liberal Democrats as a moderating influence in government is a good idea. I foresee some not-very-moderate language being directed in Gove’s direciton in the next few days.

1 comment

  1. I have four parents since my parents seperated when I was ten and remarried whilst I was in my teens.

    Families take many forms. I wish certain people would understand that they’re all equally valid. My personal preference is for a child/ren to have at LEAST 2 parents, but I’m not going to generalise and say that a single parent can’t raise children because I know some lovely folks who have been raised by a single parent. Better than a poisonous parent is removed from a child’s life without stigma than have them remain in their life on a daily basis.

    I REALLY hope that this doesn’t get pushed at children.

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