Supportive Schools Campaign Statement on RSHE Guidance | Scotland
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Supportive Schools Campaign Statement on RSHE Guidance

Joint statement from Supportive Schools Campaign on RSHE Guidance

The well-being of all children and young people, so that they can live happy, safe lives, is our priority. We believe that age-appropriate teaching on relationships, sex and health supports this and should form an essential part of our school curriculum. 

The majority of teachers agree: which is why schools are crying out for clear, inclusive guidance that empowers them to provide a safe and supportive learning environment for every child and young person. Without it, our society would fail to provide our children and young people with the knowledge and tools they need to understand themselves and safely navigate the world around them. 

The Supportive Schools Campaign is clear that all children and young people have the right to an education free from discrimination, and LGBTQ+ children and young people are no exception. 

As the LGBTQ+ community, we know and have lived through a school curriculum that seeks to suppress information about human diversity, rather than teach it. We are particularly concerned about the proposal to ban teaching about ‘the concept of gender identity’. This echoes the disastrous Section 28, which prohibited all LGBTQ+ teaching in schools, describing same-sex relationships as ‘pretended family relationships’. This legislation cast a long shadow on the lives of LGBTQ+ children and young people, who grew up with endemic bullying, and left teachers with no means of providing support. 

Section 28 was rightly scrapped over 20 years ago, and is now widely looked back on with horror. The majority of us recognise today that it is wrong to sweep LGBTQ+ people’s lives under the carpet instead of providing the tools to strengthen children and young people’s understanding of a world where the existence of lesbian, gay, bi, and trans people – whether as our parents, siblings, friends, colleagues, neighbours, or children and young people – is just another part of everyday life. It is vital that children and young people are equipped to understand the diversity of our families and communities. 

These proposals, if confirmed as Statutory Guidance, will leave trans children and young people without recognition or support and will perpetuate a world where they grow up feeling stigmatised and ashamed. Trans children and young people exist and deserve a safe and welcoming school environment. No child or young person should be discriminated against or excluded from education because of who they are. 

The Supportive Schools Campaign is looking carefully at the proposed changes and working with partners across education, youth, and health to further understand the potential impacts of these proposals. We will share more with our communities about responding to this consultation in the coming weeks.