A group of doctors have been criticised for saying that primary school children should be taught what it means to be lesbian, gay or bisexual.
Family and education campaigners have said that such lessons are inappropriate for primary-aged children.
They also fear the lessons would only teach LGBT issues from a one-sided, liberal perspective.
A public consultation in England on Relationship and Sex Education (RSE) in schools closed last week.
Draft Government guidance currently states that schools are free to determine how they approach LGBT issues, ensuring that it is “sensitive and age-appropriate”.
But doctors from the Royal College of Paediatricians and Child Health (RCPCH), in their response to the Government’s consultation, claim the guidance doesn’t go far enough urging for “a clear statement that LGBT people and relationships are part of teaching about healthy relationships”.
Dr Max Davie, RCPCH’s officer for health promotion said: “My children know people who are gay or lesbian, it’s not that big a stretch to be talking to children about bisexuality.”
Critics disagree. Family Education Trust say the RCPCH’s recommendations “would run the risk of sexualising children at a vulnerable stage in their development and cause significant confusion”.
Chris McGovern, Chairman of the Campaign for Real Education added that “Children should also be taught why many religions accept only male and female gender” and “give equal respect to different, but legitimate, views”.
He added that it would be better “to leave this Pandora’s box closed” and to teach children Christ’s message of loving our neighbour as ourselves.
Relationship Education is set to become compulsory in all primary schools schools in England from 2020.
Parents would have no right of withdrawal.
A Department for Education spokesperson said “The draft guidance is clear that teaching should look at healthy relationships – which includes LGBT relationships”.
RCPCH’s response comes after The Scottish Government announced last week that Scotland would embed LGBT topics ‘throughout the curriculum’.