Adults & Young People in Education
Children’s Act – Every Child Matters/Safeguarding Children
The Government has made keeping children safe a priority, aiming to ensure all children have the chance to fulfill their potential by reducing abuse and neglect; improving educational attainment; and cutting crime and antisocial behaviour. The Children Bill was unveiled on 4 March 2004 in response to the green paper, Every Child Matters. On 15 November 2004, the Children Bill received Royal Assent and became the Children Act 2004. Protecting young people from Homophobia is an important part of ‘staying safe’ and the safe-guarding provisions of the Children’s Act.
Section 11 of the Children Act 2004 places a statutory duty on key people and bodies to make arrangements to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. Statutory guidance on the duty was issued on 3 August 2005. Schools and further education providers have an equivalent duty through the Education Act 2002, and must have regard to the statutory guidance, Safeguarding Children in Education, issued in September 2004.
Employee Regulations (Sexual Orientation)
Since laws were passed on 1 December 2003, it has been illegal for schools, as employers, to discriminate or tolerate discrimination against an employee on the grounds of their perceived or actual sexual orientation. With an estimated 35,000 LGB teachers in England, the significance and potential impact of this legislation cannot be understated.
Civil Partnership Act
The Civil Partnership Act (2004) came into effect on 5th December 2005 and gives same sex couples the right to register their partnership and make a formal, legal commitment to each other. Schools are required by law to have a wide range of dealings with pupils’ parents. Everyone who is a parent has a right to participate in decisions about a child’s welfare.
As such, head teachers when they seek to ascertain the names of all parents when they register a pupil, should be aware that civil partners may also now have parental responsibility, either by agreement, or by virtue of a court order.
New Equality Bill (Provision of Goods & Services to Lesbians and Gay Men)
This new bill ensures that lesbians and gay men in receipt of service provision cannot be discriminated against because of their sexual orientation. Schools are not likely to be exempt and will therefore have a responsibility to actively challenge homophobia and homophobic bullying as this discrimination would be viewed as a barrier to a child’s right to education as a service.
80% of UK schools are aware of homophobic bullying incidents
6% of schools have policies targeting homophobic bullying
About 1 in 3 young LGBTs self-harm or attempt suicideMore facts >>