Children are to be taught about homosexuality in maths, geography and science lessons as part of a Government-backed drive to "celebrate the gay community".
Lesson plans have been drawn up for pupils as young as four, in a scheme funded with a £35,000 grant from an education quango, the Training and Development Agency for Schools.
The initiative will be officially launched next month at the start of "LGBT History Month" – an initiative to encourage teaching about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual issues.
The lesson plans, spread across the curriculum, will be offered to all schools, which can choose whether or not to make use of them.
But critics last night called the initiative a poor use of public money which could distract from the teaching of "core" subjects.
Among the suggestions are:
Maths – teaching statistics through census findings about the number of homosexuals in the population, and using gay characters in scenarios for maths problems;
Design and technology – encouraging pupils to make symbols linked to the gay rights movement;
Science – studying animal species where the male takes a leading role in raising young, such as emperor penguins and sea horses, and staging class discussions on different family structures, including same-sex parents;
Geography – examining the transformation of San Francisco's Castro district in the 1960s from a working-class Irish area to the world's first "gay neighbourhood", and considering why homosexuals move from the countryside to cities;
Languages – using gay characters in role play scenarios, and teaching "LGBT vocabulary".
The lesson plans, written by teachers and backed by the Department for Education, will be available for schools to download from the Schools Out website.
For younger children, the plans will suggest using images of same sex couples and also promoting books such as "And Tango Makes Three", which is about two male penguins raising a young chick, inspired by actual events at New York's Central Park Zoo.
The Schools Out organisation, which runs the month-long event, declares on its website that the aim is to "celebrate the lives and achievements of the LGBT community" and "encourage everyone to see diversity and cultural pluralism as positive forces".
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