It helps teachers and other RE practitioners to approach gender identity and sexuality in the context of the Equality Act 2010, which addresses two of the protected characteristics.

The aim of the leaflet is to help teachers support their pupils as they explore differing views within world beliefs, while at the same time protecting those at risk of homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying.

It has been produced by the Cambridgeshire Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education (SACRE) and pinpoints the section of the Equality Act which states that it is against the law to discriminate on the grounds of sexual orientation.

This means that all schools must ensure they exercise a duty of care which encompasses the personal well-being of all students by giving support to all. In particular, they must tackle homophobic bullying, recognising that all children have the right to be safe and in a supportive environment.

The leaflet "“ which will be discussed at LGBT rights charity Stonewall's first inter-faith seminar on February 25 - contains advice about handling issues around gender identity and sexuality in RE, together with a range of resources for teachers.

SACRE Chairman Cllr Tony Orgee said: "Religion is about how people live their lives and raises questions about what it is to be human. It encompasses a diversity of views about the ethical ideals that guide human behaviour and why these are followed.

"All religions therefore present a range of beliefs and practices relevant to issues relating to human sexuality and gender identity. This new leaflet crystallizes the importance of adhering to these values "“ it will be an invaluable teaching aid."

A fellow member of SACRE, Cambridgeshire County Councillor Ed Cearns added: "I am delighted that this leaflet has been produced to coincide with LGBT history month. As a former RE teacher, I understand the vital role that the subject has in enabling reasoned discussion, appropriate to pupils' ages and abilities, in response to contemporary and challenging issues. This includes the vital work of fostering an understanding of the harm caused by homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying.

"The publication of this leaflet is just one of the many things we are doing as part of the Stonewall Education Index and I'm proud that Cambridgeshire is pioneering this approach."

 

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