Gay rights charity Stonewall's Ofsted complaint

Gay rights charity Stonewall ‘complained that Ofsted inspectors do not always raise trans issues with primary school pupils’

  • Inspectors do not have to ask LGBT issues if headteachers consider it ‘sensitive’
  • In an email Stonewall said it was ‘concerned’ not doing so could undermine its ability to properly assess a school’s compliance with the Equality Act 2010 
  • Comes after charity was under fire for saying term ‘mother’ should be replaced 

Stonewall has complained to Ofsted about its inspectors not always raising trans issues with pupils who are primary school age.

Current rules mean those from the school watchdog do not have to ask children around the age of five about subjects such as sexual orientation if the school’s head believes it is sensitive.

And in an email the LGBT rights charity said they were ‘concerned’ Ofsted is not addressing issues.

Stonewall raised concerns about some inspectors not raising trans issues with primary school children

The Telegraph reported the email saying: ‘We are concerned that exempting inspectors from speaking to pupils about certain protected characteristics could undermine their ability to effectively assess a primary school’s compliance with the Equality Act 2010.’

It also asked if schools could be marked down in future if children are not made aware of trans issues.

A spokesperson for Ofted said: “Primary schools that are meeting the Department for Education’s statutory requirements for teaching RSHE, including on the protected characteristics, but are not explicitly teaching about gender reassignment, can still be judged outstanding.

“As set out in our guidance, if a school requests that inspectors do not speak to pupils about a topic that the school reasonably believes is sensitive for its pupils, inspectors will not ask pupils questions about it.”

The gay rights charity was previously under fire for suggesting organisations should replace ‘mother’ with ‘parent who gave birth’

The issue comes a day after it was revealed hundreds of organisations wanting to be included on Stonewall’s equality leaderboard were told they should replace the term ‘mother’ with ‘parent who has given birth’.

The group has issued various guidance to employers wanting to make the cut on its Workplace Equality Index, which has attracted more than 500 applications in the last year.

A number of government departments, such as the Home Office, the Department for International Trade and the Ministry of Justice feature on the list, as well as the likes of MI6 and the British Army.

Stonewall says featuring on the Workplace Equality Index allows employers to understand their employees’ experiences and shows commitment to LGBT equality.

Earlier this week it was reported the Equalities Minister Liz Truss wants the Government to quit a diversity scheme run by Stonewall amid a row over trans rights.

Miss Truss is said to be pushing for departments to join the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) and Acas in dropping the Diversity Champions scheme over fears it is not providing value for money.

Stonewall: The controversial LGBT charity which has come under fire in recent weeks 

Just this week, the Equalities Minister Liz Truss said she wanted the Government to quit a diversity scheme run by Stonewall amid a row over trans rights.

Miss Truss is said to be pushing for departments to join the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) and Acas in dropping the Diversity Champions scheme over fears it is not providing value for money. 

After criticism from the gay former Conservative MP Matthew Parris, Ms Kelley told the BBC: ‘With all beliefs including controversial beliefs there is a right to express those beliefs publicly and where they’re harmful or damaging – whether it’s anti-Semitic beliefs, gender critical beliefs, beliefs about disability – we have legal systems that are put in place for people who are harmed by that.’ 

According to Stonewall there are more than 850 organisations, including 250 government departments and public bodies such as police forces, local councils and NHS trusts, signed up as ‘diversity champions’.

Membership to the scheme starts at around £2,500, which according to the LGBT charity’s website, buys employers access to expert advice and resources to make their workplaces ‘inclusive’. 

However, the charity was embroiled in a new row over transgender rights last week, when its chief executive Nancy Kelley likened ‘gender critical’ beliefs to anti-Semitism as she defended its pro-trans campaigning.

The EHRC, Britain’s equalities watchdog, then cut ties with a Stonewall scheme for ‘woke’ workplaces after claims that it curbs free speech among staff.

Its decision comes amid accusations the scheme is encouraging public bodies and firms to adopt policies that create a ‘culture of fear’ among workers who disagree with transgender ideology.

A letter to the feminist campaign group Sex Matters from new commission chairman Baroness Falkner revealed: ‘We wrote to Stonewall in March to let them know that we would not be renewing our membership, and this has now expired.’

Before that, a former top judge claimed transgender groups such as Stonewall are having too much say over hate crime laws that could cause freedom of speech to ‘suffer’.

Charles Wide, a retired Old Bailey judge, said last month only an ‘limited range’ of views was being sought out to advise on a possible expansion of legislation.

The government currently looking at expanding hate crimes, and the Law Commission is consulting on whether misogyny, age, sex workers, homelessness, and some subcultures should become protected groups.

But the judge fears the Commission’s over reliance on certain campaign groups has seen it move away from its non-political brief to draw on ‘contentious and controversial sociological theories’.

Writing for the think tank Policy Exchange, he said: ‘No adequate thought seems to have been given to the difficulty of reaching beyond a limited range of academics and organisations to the full variety of academic voices, organisations, commentators and members of the public who have no organisation to speak for them.’

He singled out LGBT campaigners Stonewall, saying the Commission was treating them more like ‘a consultant than consultee’. 

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