Sue Sanders signs open letter calling for inclusive education

Dear Sue,

Thank you for adding your name to the LGBT inclusivity letter co-organised by the Accord Coalition for Inclusive Education and British Muslims for Secular Democracy. I am pleased to report it has been published online this afternoon.

The letter is timely with the Government continuing to offer half-hearted support for schools who continue to be attacked for promoting acceptance towards LGBT people. We have seen fresh protests outside one school this week, and there are reports of attempts to stir unrest in other parts of the country. 

We shall be posting a physical copy of the letter to the Education Secretary on Monday. It has been signed by 77 civic leaders (listed below). Fellow signatories come from an array of professional backgrounds and reflect a very diverse range of political, philosophical and religious affiliations, further demonstrating the breadth of concern that is felt. Thank you for again for having added your voice.

Kind regards,
Stephen.

The Revd Stephen Terry
Chair of the Accord Coalition for Inclusive Education

 

“We are writing to express our concern at the lack of government support for schools undertaking their legal duties under the Equality Act to promote equality and acceptance between people of different protected characteristics.

We urge that robust backing be given in this vital area. We are particularly concerned at the problems some schools and teachers are currently experiencing regarding the promotion of LGBT+ inclusion.

This is currently highlighted by the nature and extent of the organised opposition to some schools’ provision of the “No Outsiders” programme. The programme advances inclusion on a variety of grounds, but its provision has triggered orchestrated opposition (inflamed and exploited by outside groups) for simply seeking to teach that LGBT+ people exist and that acceptance of them should be encouraged. Opportunities to provide these and other schools with greater support have been missed and government guidance has been weakly ambiguous at best.

For example, recent advice regarding relationships and sex education (which will become compulsory in all schools in 2020) states that schools are “enabled and encouraged to cover LGBT content [but] if they consider it age appropriate to do so”. The phrase “age appropriate” is open to wide interpretation, and is repeated in new guidance for independent schools on meeting their obligation to promote respect between people of different protected characteristics. Statements such as these, combined with half-hearted support for schools that are being attacked, has left many teachers exposed.

The requirement for schools to promote inclusivity between people of different characteristics is a vital part of our society’s equality and human rights framework, and helps us to forge a better society in which all may fully contribute. An attack on this framework is ultimately an attack on us all. The government must therefore give schools greater moral and regulatory support in advancing these important duties.”

  • Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, Chair, British Muslims for Secular Democracy
  • The Revd Stephen Terry, Chair of the Accord Coalition for Inclusive Education
  • Revd Richard Adfield (CofE)
  • Ruby Almeida, Chair of Quest (Pastoral Support for LGBT Catholics)
  • Elizabeth Arif Fear, founder of Voice of Salaam
  • Christina Baron, General Synod (Bath & Wells) and Chair of the General Synod Human Sexuality Group
  • Jeff Beatty, Quaker Values in Education Steering Group member
  • Crispin Blunt MP
  • John Bolt, General Secretary, Socialist Educational Association
  • Professor Ted Cantle CBE, Chair of the iCoCo Foundation and national community cohesion and inter-cultural relations expert
  • Revd Roger Cornish (United Reformed Church)
  • Revd Jim Corrigall, Unitarian and Free Christian minister
  • Iain Dale, broadcaster and political commentator
  • Drew Dalton, founder of Report Out
  • Shaun Dellenty, founder of Inclusion For All
  • Revd Marie Dove (Methodist)
  • Graeme Duncan, Chief Executive, Right to Succeed
  • Jonathan Emmett, children’s author
  • Dr Maria Exall, Chair of the Trades Union Congress LGBT+ Committee
  • Professor Becky Francis, Director, UCL Institute of Education
  • Revd Canon Richard Franklin (CofE)
  • Revd Canon Jane Fraser (CofE), Manager of the relationships and sex education charity Bodysense
  • The Rt Rev David Gillett, former Anglican Bishop of Bolton
  • Professor A.C. Grayling, philosopher and author
  • Andy Gregg, Chief Executive Officer of ROTA (Race on the Agenda)
  • Baroness Harris of Richmond
  • Savitri Hensman (CofE), equalities adviser in the care sector and writer on Christian social ethics and theology
  • Ruth Hilton, Chair of JAT
  • Rev Ian Howarth, Chair of Birmingham Methodist District
  • Sunny Hundal, journalist and editor
  • Rabbi Margaret Jacobi (Birmingham Synagogue)
  • Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner, Senior Rabbi to Reform Judaism
  • Mark Jennett, sexuality and gender equality in schools specialist
  • The Very Revd Jeffrey John, Dean of St Albans
  • Revd Richard Jones, Associate Minister, Hereford Diocese
  • Professor Steve Jones, geneticist, science writer and broadcaster
  • Dr Omar Khan, Director, Runnymede Trust
  • Professor Sir David King FRS, academic and policy advisor, including former Chief Scientific Advisor to HM Government
  • Revd Richard Kirker (CofE), LGBTI equality campaigner
  • Hari Kunzru, novelist and journalist
  • The Venerable Peter Leonard, Archdeacon of the Isle of Wight and Chair, OneBodyOneFaith
  • Revd Anne Lewitt, Minister at the Pulborough URC
  • Naomi Long MLA MEP, Leader of the Alliance Party
  • Matt Mahmood-Ogston, Founder and Trustee, Naz and Matt Foundation
  • Dr Irfan Malik, researcher of the Muslim contribution in the First World War
  • Melian Mansfield, Chair, Campaign for State Education
  • Revd Iain McDonald (United Reformed Church)
  • Loic Menzies, Chief Executive of the Education and Youth ‘think and action-tank’ LKMco
  • Fiona Millar, journalist and education campaigner
  • Rabia Mirza, Director, British Muslims for Secular Democracy
  • Dr Zemirah Moffat, Quaker Gender and Sexual Diversity Community
  • The Very Revd Bertrand Olivier (Anglican)
  • Dr Farid Panjwani, Associate Professor in Religious Education and Director, Centre for Research and Evaluation in Muslim Education (CREME)
  • Brian Pearce, former Chair of the Buddhist Council of Wales and Buddhist Chaplain to prisons in Wales
  • Martin Pendergast, Centre for the Study of Christianity & Sexuality
  • Philip Pullman CBE, novelist
  • Khakan Qureshi, Founder, Finding A Voice
  • Revd Tim Richards (United Reformed Church) Mid Somerset Group
  • Professor Alice Roberts, biological anthropologist, author, broadcaster and President of Humanists UK
  • Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain MBE, President of the Accord Coalition for Inclusive Education and Minister of Maidenhead Synogogue
  • Revd Prof. Christopher Rowland, Dean Ireland’s Professor of the Exegesis of Holy Scripture Emeritus, University of Oxford
  • Dr Artemi Sakellariadis, Director of the Centre for Studies on Inclusive Education
  • Professor Sue Sanders, Chair, SCHOOLS OUT UK
  • Elizabeth Slade, Chief Officer, General Assembly of Unitarian and Free Christian Churches
  • Prof Lord Trevor Smith of Clifton, academic and former Vice Chancellor
  • The Lord Soley
  • Revd Tim Stead (CofE)
  • Ezra Stripe, Hidayah
  • Revd Robert Thompson, Vicar of St Mary with All Souls, Kilburn, and St James, West Hampstead
  • Polly Toynbee, journalist and writer
  • Luke Tryl, Director, New Schools Network
  • Revd Dr Chris Whitney- Cooper, Co-Chair of the Evangelical Fellowship for Lesbian and Gay Christians
  • Ruth Wilde, National Coordinator, Inclusive Church
  • Revd Claire Wilson (CofE)
  • Revd Simon Wilson, Heacham, Norfolk (CofE)
  • The Rt Rev Dr Alan Wilson, Bishop of Buckingham
  • The Revd Dr Simon Woodman, Minister of the Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church

Original article here