The Department for Education (DfE) has faced further accusations of forcing faith schools to promote gay rights under controversial new schools regulations.
The Sunday Times reported that faith schools are being ‘ordered’ to be “tolerant of other religions and respect gay, lesbian and transgender relationships”.
According to The Sunday Times, faith schools who fail to uphold new ‘British values’ regulations “will be judged inadequate and could face closure”.
The newspaper raised the cases of Jewish and Christian schools which have already fallen foul of the new regulations.
The article said: “For the first time the rules give inspectors the powers to downgrade schools where teachers are breaching the Equality Act, which encourages respect for lesbian, gay and transgender people as well as those of other religions and races.”
It went on to warn that the ushering in of these new regulations by Education Secretary Nicky Morgan will alienate her from members of the Conservative Party.
The article continued: “Her stand will be seen by some Tories on the right as evidence of an attack on Christian values in favour of gay rights.”
In an interview on Radio 4 last week, Morgan said that she “probably would” back same-sex marriage if she were asked to vote on it again, after voting against it previously.
The DfE denied the Sunday Times’ accusation on Twitter saying: “Nonsense to say schools ‘must teach gay rights’. We want schools to teach broad curric based on British values.”
This caused a backlash, including criticism by homosexual rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, who described the DfE response as “disgraceful homophobia”.
The DfE promptly removed the tweet and later stipulated that it had meant, “it was nonsense to say schools were being forced to teach gay rights against their will”.
The new regulations for schools have already caused disruption in several different faith schools.
Invasive and unjustified
The Christian Institute is supporting Trinity Christian School in Reading which was told it could face closure for failing to uphold ‘British values’.
The Institute is also preparing a judicial review of the regulations, stating that they are “invasive and unjustified”.
According to The Sunday Times, further guidance on the new regulations will be issued to private schools, academies and free schools this week.