New UK Free Schools and Academies to Promote Marriage


Jimmy Kilpatrick of Education News in Britain writes:

The importance of marriage is to be taught to every pupil at the Government’s flagship free schools and academies.

The schools will be made to sign up to strict new rules introduced by Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, setting out what pupils must learn about sex and relationships.

Headteachers will be told that children must be “protected from inappropriate teaching materials and learn the nature of marriage and its importance for family life and for bringing up children”.

But the decision to spell out an explicit endorsement of marriage in the curriculum for tens of thousands of children is highly politically significant, and likely to be welcomed by Conservative traditionalists who have been concerned at a perceived failure by David Cameron’s Government to deliver on pledges to support married life.

Mr Gove has introduced the “model funding agreement” as a template for how every new free school and academy is run. Ministers want a dramatic increase in the numbers of both types of schools.

... Tens of thousands of children are now taught in academies across the country.

The number of “independent” state schools, which receive funding directly from Government and have freedom over finances, curriculum and teachers pay, has mushroomed under the Coalition.

All schools, whether primary or secondary, rated “outstanding” by inspectors can now become academies without going through a lengthy application process, which has triggered a rise in numbers from just over 200 in 2010 to 1,300 now.

The funding agreement marriage clause also applies to the 24 free schools, set up by parents, teachers, faith groups and charities. Sixty more are in the pipeline and Mr Gove has made their expansion his flagship policy.

Nick Seaton, chairman of the Campaign for Real Education, said: “Given the benefits that derive from marriage for young people, a short statement requiring that pupils learn its importance is entirely sensible.”