Publication - FOI/EIR release

LGBTI Inclusive Education Working Group recommendations in relation to curriculum: FOI release

Published: 14 Feb 2019

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

Published:
14 Feb 2019
LGBTI Inclusive Education Working Group recommendations in relation to curriculum: FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/19/00190
Date received: 16 Jan 2019
Date responded: 12 Feb 2019
Information requested

You asked for information regarding the recommendations of the LGBTI Inclusive Education Working Group.

Full request for information added at request of the requestor:

"I understand that it is the current Scottish Government's intention to implement an LGBT inclusive education curriculum in all Scottish state schools, with no possibility of opt out. It is on this proposed education policy that I wish to receive further information under the Freedom of information request procedure.

I recently came upon this article (link below)

http://www.them.us/story/scotland-lgbtq-education

This article discussed the proposed LGBT inclusive education policy which also included an interview with a representative of the TIE campaign (Liam Stevenson); TIE are as I understand an integral part of the push for LGBT inclusive education in Scotland. Indeed TIE campaigners Liam Stevenson and Jordan Daly are both on the LGBT inclusive education working group.

I am requesting more information on the points set out below.

1) In the article cited above, it was written:

"Scotland’s new, inclusive curricula will teach young people about things like queer terminology, identities, and history, and the various types of discrimination that the community faces."

Is the article correct that "Queer terminology" (which is based on/from the subject of "Queer Theory") will be taught to pupils under this new curriculum? If yes, at what age will the teaching of queer theory be taught to pupils (e.g. P1, P7, and/or secondary school)?

2) In the article cited above Liam Stevenson of TIE is quoted as saying:

“Everything we’re trying to do here is all very, very Christian: It’s about looking after one another, it’s about respecting one another, and it’s about caring for and loving one another and producing healthy young people,” says Liam Stevenson. His Scottish accent is thick as he explains how he pitched a campaign for queer-inclusive education to the Scottish Catholic Education Service (SCES).

As you may well be aware, there is not a consensus (from the perspective of different faiths) on LGBT lifestyles, the teaching of it in schools, and especially on the role of queer theory and the teaching of it to children. This is especially true within different strands of Christianity (e.g., Orthodox Christianity , Free Church of Scotland).

Therefore, in light of this, I would like to know:

2.i) Will there be any opt out procedure from the LGBT inclusive education curriculum for children from families of specific faiths (or non faith based beliefs) who do not agree with your proposed curriculum (e.g. the teaching of LGBT identities, and queer theory). 

2.ii). In light of potential faith based (or other based) beliefs which are not in accord with the idea of LGBT/queer theory education in Schools, what provision for input from a diverse range of different faiths have been considered? As I note from the members of the LGBT inclusive education working group, it appears that there is no representation from the different Christian faiths; (e.g. Free Church of Scotland, Orthodox Christian Church within Scotland), the Muslim faith, the Sikh faith, the Jewish faith, the Hindu faith, or the Buddhist faith. In light of need for respect and tolerance for people of different faiths and the importance of taking their views into account, especially when it involves the teaching of children, why does your working group not seem to have any representation which accounts for the diversity of faiths? "

Response

In answer to your questions:

1. Is the article correct that "Queer terminology" will be taught to pupils under this new curriculum?

The working group’s recommendations are in line with the principles of Curriculum for Excellence (CfE), the national approach to learning and teaching for young people aged 3 to 18 in Scotland. CfE provides significant flexibility, within broad national guidelines, for teachers to develop lessons that best meet the needs of individual learners. The curriculum is not statutory and therefore it is for teachers, head teachers and other professional educational practitioners to decide the development and implementation of their curriculum within the overall framework.

The recommendations of the working group will enable the teaching of LGBTI matters across the curriculum within the principles of CfE. Their delivery is intended to help pupils develop mutually respectful, responsible and confident relationships with other children, young people and adults, not just on LGBTI issues, but on all other issues that affect their daily lives.

2. If yes, at what age will the teaching of queer theory be taught to pupils (e.g. P1, P7, and/or secondary school)?

Relationships, sexual health and parenthood (RSHP) education is an integral part of the health and wellbeing area of the school curriculum in Scotland. This aspect of the curriculum is intended to enable children and young people to build positive relationships as they grow older and should be presented in an objective, balanced and sensitive manner within framework of sound values and an awareness of the law on sexual behaviour. It is for schools to decide how they deliver RSHP education, based on the needs of the children or young people in their classroom.

RSHP education is taught from the Early (nursery to P1) through to the Senior Phase (S4 to S6) of Curriculum for Excellence. The delivery and progression of RSHP education is determined by teachers according to the age and stage of development of their pupils.

3. Will there be any opt out procedure from the LGBT inclusive education curriculum for children from families of specific faiths (or non faith based beliefs) who do not agree with your proposed curriculum?

We ask teachers to work closely with parents in the delivery of RSHP education, by discussing proposed lessons and resources with them in advance. If, however, parents or carers feel the content is not appropriate, they can withdraw a primary school aged child from all or part of a planned programme of lessons and arrangements should be made for the child to have alternative positive educational provision. In the case of a secondary school pupil, schools must also respect the wishes of the young person.

4. In light of potential faith based (or other based) beliefs which are not in accord with the idea of LGBT/queer theory education in Schools, what provision for input from a diverse range of different faiths have been considered?

The LGBTI Inclusive Education Working Group was asked to develop a consensus on its conclusions and recommendations within an equalities framework which recognised children and young people's rights within intersecting identities, such as faith and belief.

Following the Scottish Government’s acceptance of the recommendations, an Implementation Group has been formed to take forward delivery of the recommendations whilst providing accountability and oversight. Membership of the Implementation Group comprises Working Group members, including the Scottish Catholic Education Service and the Equalities and Human Rights Commission. The recommendations will also be implemented within an equalities framework.

One of the recommendations commits the Scottish Government to reviewing and updating the existing RSHP teaching guidance. Representatives from a variety of faith and belief organisations will be involved in this work.

5. In light of need for respect and tolerance for people of different faiths and the importance of taking their views into account, especially when it involves the teaching of children, why does your working group not seem to have any representation which accounts for the diversity of faiths? 

The LGBTI Inclusive Education Working Group was formed to provide expert advice and recommendations to Scottish Ministers on the concerns and pledges of the Time for Inclusive Education (TIE) Campaign on how to improve the inclusive education experience for LGBTI young people. Members included Education Scotland, the Association of Directors of Education in Scotland, teaching unions, LGBTI organisations and the Scottish Catholic Education Service, given their role in denominational education.

As previously noted, representatives from a variety of faith and belief organisations will be involved in the implementation of the recommendations.

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