Best Practice

The long shadow of Section 28

It is more than 21 years since Section 28 ceased to be law, but its legacy of shame still hangs over us today. Mel Lane, who taught under the shadow of Section 28, explains
Image: Adobe Stock

When I tell teachers in my LGBT+ inclusive staff training that during the 1990s I was genuinely scared of losing my job if I talked about anything related to LGBT+ most of them are shocked and amazed. But it is the truth.

I started teaching in 1995, when Section 28 was firmly embedded in schools. Section 28 was a UK law introduced in 1988 by Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative government. Mrs Thatcher was concerned that: “Children who need to be taught to respect traditional moral values are being taught that they have an inalienable right to be gay.”

Although the wording of the law stated that we could not “intentionally promote homosexuality” or “promote the teaching … of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship”, the end result was that in practice most of us were too worried to talk about anything related to LGBT+.

Register now, read forever

Thank you for visiting Headteacher Update and reading some of our content for professionals in primary education. Register now for free to get unlimited access to all content.

What's included:

  • Unlimited access to news, best practice articles and podcasts

  • New content and e-bulletins delivered straight to your inbox every Monday


Already have an account? Sign in here