An MAT board member has apologised for a “horrendous oversight” in its schools' sex education policy, which stated it will not promote homosexuality.
Stephen Morales, co-opted board member at the East Midlands Academy Trust, said he was appalled at two “unfortunate paragraphs”, and said they were “legacy policies” that were not current policy of the trust.
And he said they were errors that had “slipped through the cracks” as the trust tackled structural issues, such as sponsorship and ownership matters, as well as the appointment of a new chief executive.
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The two paragraphs were contained in the seven-school trust’s relationship and sex education policy, which was this morning removed from its website.
They stated: “The Academy Trust recognises the need to address the issue of homosexuality and the need to provide education related to the spread of HIV/AIDS which will, of necessity, include reference to homosexuals and bisexuals. Objective discussion of homosexuality may take place in the classroom.
“The Academy Trust will not permit the promotion of homosexuality or bisexuality.”
One teacher, who did not wish to be named, said the policy resembled the “much-despised Section 28 clause” from the 1980s and was a like something “out of the Dark Ages”.
Mr Morales, who is also CEO of the Institute of School Business Leadership, said: “I’m not defending this oversight. This is horrendous. I can’t sugar-coat it. This is a line which has come from a previous incarnation of the trust. The sad thing is that none of us believe it, and it is so opposed to our core values. We have learned something here and will be asking some difficult questions. It was a complete error.
He admitted: “This is a story that I expect is going to raise quite a few eyebrows in a world where, in some cases, there is a divisive culture.
“But I have to emphasise that this is not us. We have made a mistake because we have not spotted this early enough. We will move heaven and earth to demonstrate our commitment to diversity.”
Daniel Tomlinson-Gray of LGBTed, a group that supports LGBT+ teachers, said: young LGBT+ people "deserve better", adding: "With teacher retention at an all time low, this will not encourage people to be empowered in their career."
The trust board is set to meet in April to agree its new sex education policy in line with the government’s new RSE curriculum, which is being introduced in September.