It may be remembered that, on 7th June, VfJUK wrote to the Prime Minister expressing concern over stories of unacceptable intimidation, bullying and harassment on the part of Stonewall against those who do not agree with their views, which has already led to a growing number of government departments severing all ties with the organisation and withdrawing from their much-hyped Diversity Champions programme.
As we pointed out, as a so-called charity committed to bringing about political, social and cultural change, under section 406 of the Education Act 1996, Stonewall is prohibited under law from promoting its views in schools (https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1996/56/part/V/chapter/IV/crossheading/politics). We therefore called for the immediate removal from schools of all Stonewall resources. Further, as charity law prohibits engagement by charities in political and commercial purposes, we called for investigation into Stonewall’s charitable status, and for removal of any and all public funds currently received by them in furtherance of their aims.
We have now received a reply, written on the Prime Minister’s behalf by Nick Gibb, the Minister of State for Schools’ Standards, which we reproduce below.
Before you read this, please note that at no point does Nick Gibb acknowledge or address our expressed concern over Stonewall’s overt and openly acknowledged political aims to promote and normalise LGBT behaviour and life-style choices to children, so as to support political and social change. On the contrary, the Minister for Schools’ Standards, himself in a same-sex marriage, merely repeats the Government commitment to support ‘diversity’, in order, as he says, to ensure all pupils are supported and treated with kindness and understanding.
VfJUK unreservedly supports the need to teach children to respect and treat others with kindness. But we repeat that teaching children from age 3 that ‘gender’ is a matter of choice, separate from biology, while also giving them detailed teaching on the mechanics of sex and encouraging them to experiment in order to discover their ‘orientation’, goes far beyond the dictates of kindness and respect. In short, the arguments are specious and endanger child safety.
PartentPower’s open letter to the Prime Minister, repeating these concerns, closes for signatures at midnight on Wednesday, 7th July. A full copy will then be delivered to Mr Johnson at Downing Street. Currently there are over 1,400 signatures openly recorded on ParentPower’s website, with many more signatures from people who didn’t wish their name to be shown publicly, but whose names will be included on the letter.
If you haven’t yet done so, please add your name, and organization or church affiliation if appropriate, and share it as widely as possible.
Let’s stand up to activist intimidation and make our voice heard!
Please also write to your MP – or even, on this ocassion, copy and paste the ParentPower letter, if that is easier – and ask him or her to pass on your concerns to the Prime Minister, and to the Secretary of State for Education.
Please also note that VfJUK has formally written to the Charity Commission asking for full investigation into Stonewall’s charitable status. We shall let you know their response, as and when it is received.
Letter from Rt Hon Nick Gibb MP
Minister of State for School Standards
Sanctuary Buildings, 20 Great Smith Street, Westminster, London, SW1P 3BT tel: 0370 000 2288
Dear Revd Rose,
Thank you for your letter of 7 June, addressed to the Prime Minister, regarding relationships and sex education and the charity, Stonewall. Your letter was passed to this Department and I am replying as the Minister of State for School Standards.
Relationships education is now compulsory for all primary school pupils, as is relationships and sex education for all secondary school pupils, and health education for pupils in all state funded schools. These subjects are designed to give pupils the knowledge they need to lead happy, safe and healthy lives and to foster respect for other people and for difference.
The relationships, sex and health education (RSHE) implementation guidance sets out clear advice for schools in choosing resources, and states that schools should assess all resources carefully to ensure they are age appropriate, meet the outcome of the relevant part of the curriculum, and are in line with the school’s legal duties in relation to impartiality. The guidance is available at: tinyurl.com/9d2f95Yu. The list in Annex B of the statutory guidance was included to illustrate some of the free resources that are available to schools, but it is not exhaustive and the Department does not have a role in reviewing the content of the resources listed. The list can be viewed at: tinyurl.com/Ytx4dtz5.
The Department cannot advise schools on which resources will be the most suitable for schools to use, not least because schools operate in a variety of different contexts and have both the expertise and knowledge that makes them best placed to make these decisions.
Schools can work with agencies that give factual advice on LGBT issues to schools and pupils. LGBT issues are a part of the RSHE curriculum, which we expect all pupils to have been taught at a timely and appropriate point in their education. The key priority is for RSHE to help schools to support a diverse range of pupils with these complex and sensitive matters and to ensure that all pupils are supported and treated with kindness and understanding.
The Department has published a one stop page for teachers on GOV.UK, to support the teaching of RSHE, which can be viewed at: tinyurl.com/3xf3k7n4.
We recognise that issues relating to gender identity can be complex and sensitive matters. Schools are best placed to work with parents, pupils and public services to decide what is best for individual children – and what is best for all others in the school. The Department has published guidance for schools on the Equality Act 2010, which can be found at: tinyurl.com/2P3e92P5.
The Department does not currently fund Stonewall for any work with schools, but it is a member of the Diversity Champions Programme for employers. As an employer, the Department supports inclusive workplaces and will keep its membership of all external schemes under review.
The law is clear that schools must remain politically impartial. Schools must not promote partisan political views and should ensure the balanced treatment of political issues. Political impartiality in our education system is an incredibly important principle to uphold. We are developing further guidance to support schools to understand and meet their duties in this area.
The Charity Commission for England and Wales, a non-ministerial department which registers and regulates charities in England and Wales, ensures that the public can support charities with confidence. More information on how to complain about a charity can be found at: tinyurl.com/2xc78rsa.
With best wishes. Yours sincerely,