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Friday, 4 February, 2000, 16:44 GMT
Schools will get their own Section 28

classroom gv England's schools are soon to get new guidance on relationships


A county council leader has said he will maintain a ban on promoting homosexuality in schools even if the government abolishes the present Section 28 legislation.

Sandy Bruce-Lockhart, Conservative leader of Kent, said his education authority had taken legal advice and believed it could instruct its 600 schools to avoid "intentional promotion of homosexuality".

The government's Local Government Bill - to be debated in the House of Lords next week - is seeking to abolish the controversial clause.

Schools are to get guidance which will include a stress on the importance of marriage.

Mr Bruce-Lockhart said that Section 28 might as well be retained, to help local authorities "protect our children".

Silent majority

He said he was "fed up with the trendy modernisers, apologisers and the politically correct who try to force their views on to the British silent majority."

"Our intention is to re-write the Kent curriculum. Our schools have done a tremendous job in raising standards, as seen in league tables.

"However, the UK has the highest breakdown of marriages and families in Europe, the highest divorce rate and the highest number of unmarried mothers.

"We need to emphasise family, Christian religious and traditional values and take pride in our country, our culture, our heritage and British history.

"Children need to grow up with stability and with traditional principles and values, whilst at the same time learning the new skills and technology of today's world. We must provide a broad education that gives them true preparation for adult life.

Contrary evidence

"We must protect our children as they grow up. We believe that Section 28 is right in prohibiting the intentional promotion of homosexuality in our schools."

He said this was supported by "the vast majority of parents and schools across Kent".

"I took legal advice in December and my administration is determined to continue in Kent the spirit and commitment of Section 28, irrespective of the government's intentions on the Bill," he said.

Last week, the chief inspector of schools in England added to the opposition to the government's plans by saying there was no evidence that the law had prevented schools from dealing with "homophobic bullying" - one of the main reasons the government give for wanting to drop the clause.

However, research to be published on Monday is expected to show that, in confidential interviews, teachers say the clause has created an atmosphere of confusion and fear.

Because they do not know how to comply with it they err on the side of caution and ignore homophobic bullying - with the result that pupils can and do get away with it.

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See also:
25 Jan 00 |  UK Politics
Section 28 row intensifies
19 Jan 00 |  Scotland
Section 28: A parent's view
20 Jan 00 |  Scotland
When gay became a four-letter word

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