Escape from Section 28

15th March 1996 at 00:00
The report on the new resource Colours of the Rainbow (TES, March 1), published by Camden and Islington Health Trust, places misleading emphasis on warnings from the Family Education Trust that it may contravene Section 28 of the Local Government Act. The law in this area is, in fact, clear. Section 28 does not apply to the activities of governors, or individual schools. It should not prevent the objective discussion of homosexuality in the classroom nor the counselling of pupils.

This was said in Department of Education Circular 1288, restated in Circular 594 and confirmed yet again by parliamentary under-secretary for education James Paice in a written answer to Dame Jill Knight on February 28 this year.

Mr Paice states: "Section 28 applies to the activities of local authorities and not to individual schools. It is not legislation with which school sex education must comply and is not therefore included within the scope of the Office for Standards in Education inspections of schools.' It would perhaps be more helpful to remind schools of legislation and guidance which supports them in their important duty to provide sex education which "prepares pupils for the opportunities, responsibil-ities and experiences of adult life".

GILL LENDERY Senior development officer National Children's Bureau 8 Wakley Street, London EC1

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