Primary schools across Brighton and Hove are being encouraged to teach children more about gender identities and diverse sexual orientations.
A statement encouraging schools to deliver “non-statutory sex education” as well as the required relationship, and sex education (RSE) introduced on the national curriculum from September goes before of the city councillors on Monday, 15 June.
Members of the Children, Young People and Skills Committee are asked to approve a statement to all schools which said: “Our city is well-known for its free-thinking, open and inclusive nature.
“We promote acceptance and respect for difference. These things are at the heart of what we do.
“We would like to thank our schools for the work they do to plan and deliver personal, social, health and economic education.
“This curriculum area helps ensure that our children and young people have the knowledge and skills they need to lead safe, happy and healthy lives now and in the future.
“We whole-heartedly support the work schools do in partnership with our PSHE service and the Allsorts Youth Project to encourage an inclusive approach to relationships education.
“This ensures that all children and young people see their families represented in school.
“It enables them to understand and respect in age-appropriate ways the diversity of sexual orientations and gender identities in Brighton and Hove, and prepares them for life in the modern world.”
In addition to the new requirements from central government, schools in Brighton and Hove are encouraged to continue to promote LGBT inclusive approaches.
The report said: “Our hope is that Brighton and Hove’s primary schools will choose to deliver non-statutory sex education – as many have already been doing for some time – as this supports learning about puberty and helps them with the questions children ask.
“We will continue to support schools to listen to any concerns raised by their parent and carer communities about this part of the curriculum.
“We hope schools will be able to offer reassurance and agree shared values.
“Guidance for schools produced locally will continue to promote LGBT inclusive approaches.”
The non-statutory elements are described as:
- preventing sexism
- preventing homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying
- supports wellbeing,
- ensures all pupils and students are prepared for life and work in the modern world.
Brighton and Hove’s guidance encourages schools to use the PSHE curriculum to challenge prejudice including racism, religious hate crime and attacks on disabled people.
The council’s move comes as from September relationships, and health education becomes a statutory part of the primary curriculum.
Sex education becomes compulsory in secondary schools, with parents still given the option to “opt-out”.
Government guidance for primary school pupils said: “This starts with pupils being taught about what a relationship is, what friendship is, what family means and who the people are who can support them.
“From the beginning of primary school, building on early education, pupils should be taught how to take turns, how to treat each other with kindness, consideration and respect, the importance of honesty and truthfulness, permission seeking and giving, and the concept of personal privacy.”
Younger children will learn about personal space, boundaries and showing respect to others.
Internet safety is a crucial element, including the risk of picture sharing.
Secondary school teaching is described in the government guide as helping young people know what a good relationship is like and identify when it is not right.
The government guidance said: “Effective RSE does not encourage early sexual experimentation.
“It should teach young people to understand human sexuality and to respect themselves and others.”
The Children Young People and Skills Committee is due to hold a virtual meeting from 4pm on Monday, 15 June.
The meeting is scheduled to be webcast on the council’s website brighton-hove.gov.uk