The government has published advice for primary school teachers on how to implement a new LGBT-inclusive curriculum next year, while respecting "sensitivities" among some communities.
The guidance, published by the Department for Education (DfE), says "the age and religious background of all pupils must be taken into account" when planning lessons which form part of the compulsory new relationships education framework, due to be rolled out in September 2020.
However, this does not mean schools can exclude any content from the curriculum – rather, they may take extra care over how some topics are covered, reach different conclusions about when they are taught, or take extra time to ensure parents are clear about the chosen teaching methods and resources.
This may mean pupils are taught certain aspects of the curriculum at different ages, depending on where they live.
"What is sensitive may vary according to the context of the school. In all schools, when teaching relationships education, the age and religious background of all pupils must be taken into account when planning teaching," the guidance says.
"This doesn’t mean not teaching some content, but may mean particular care is taken over how such content is covered, a different conclusion is reached about when to teach some issues, or additional time is taken to ensure parents are clear about how the teaching is to be done and what resources are to be used.
"Schools should in particular consider whether aspects of their curriculum may be sensitive to the pupils or to the parents of their particular cohort and, if so, should ensure they have properly engaged them on this content.
"Schools have been given the responsibility to educate, however, and ultimately it is for schools to decide what is taught and how."
Earlier this week a DfE document was leaked to the press, laying out how councils should support teachers to keep disruption to a minimum as schools prepare to deliver the compulsory LGBT-inclusive curriculum next year.