A former member of the Church of England's ruling body today warned that teachers were too busy worrying about the image of their school to give children decent sex education.
John Swallow, a member of the General Synod for 10 years, attacked Anglican bishops for their continued resistance to the repeal of Section 28, banning councils from promoting homosexuality in schools.
"Teachers have paid jobs and cannot afford to risk losing them in the cause of sound sex education. And so the losers are the pupils," he writes in an article in today's Church Times.
Mr Swallow said that although 82 per cent of teachers had reportedawareness of homophobic bullying and 26 per cent actual bullying, only 6 per cent of schools' policies referred to homophobia.
Mr Swallow, a past president of the National Association of Head Teachers, backed a teenagers' charter demanding the right to sex education in all areas - gay, lesbian, straight and bisexual.
The charter was written by young people attending a National Children's Bureau event earlier this year.
It urges that society be more open about sex in general and says that pupils want to learn about real-life issues such as being gay, sexually-transmitted infections and the pros and cons of sex.