Ofsted will mark down schools that don't teach LGBT relationships to pupils

(Photo: Unsplash/Alex Jackman)

Failing to teach about LGBT relationships will be marked down in school inspection reports from next year, Ofsted has said.

In a report issued on Thursday, the schools regulator said it was ready to resume full inspections from January, at which time inspectors will assess schools' "readiness" to comply with statutory guidance on the new Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) curriculum which came into effect in England this month.

The new RSE curriculum, which has been heavily criticised by Christian and family groups, is mandatory in schools across England, although the Department for Education gave schools a temporary reprieve to delay implentation until summer 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Before the next summer term, inspectors will comment in their reports if schools do not have "adequate plans" in place to start teaching RSE by the summer term next year, the Ofsted report said. 

From the start of the summer term, a failure to teach LGBT relationships will impact on inspection reports and result in schools receiving a "requires improvement" judgement. 

"From the start of summer term 2021, if a secondary school does not teach about LGBT relationships, it will not be meeting the requirements of the DfE's statutory guidance. Inspectors will consider this when making the leadership and management judgement," the report reads.

"The school will not ordinarily receive a judgement for this better than requires improvement." 

Primary schools could also receive the same judgement if they fail to teach about LGBT relationships in lessons, as will any school that "does not promote pupils' awareness and understanding of all the protected characteristics effectively". 

The report adds that faith schools can teach a religious perspective of LGBT relationships but must also explain LGBT rights under the law. 

"Schools are at liberty to teach the tenets of any faith on the protected characteristics," it said.

"For example, they may explain that same-sex relationships and gender reassignment are not permitted by a particular religion.

"However, if they do so, they must also explain the legal rights LGBT people have under UK law, and that this and LGBT people must be respected."