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Literature Taught in Schools

Volume 717: debated on Monday 4 July 2022

The national curriculum states that pupils should read a wide range of books, poems and plays to appreciate our rich literary heritage and to develop a love for literature, as I did as a teenager. That includes pre-1914 contemporary prose, poetry and drama, Shakespeare and seminal world literature. Schools have freedom to select texts meeting those criteria.

Does my right hon. Friend agree that caution is needed with books that encourage a child to question their biological sex and to believe they were born in the wrong body because of gender nonconformity and not conforming to society’s stereotypes? Parents should be able to see what is being shared with children, whether in lessons or the school library.

I want to be clear: parents should know what their children are being taught in school. There are clear requirements on schools about providing parents with information about their school’s curriculum. We appreciate that parents have particular concerns about gender nonconformity, which is why we are developing very clear guidance for the frontline for schools to be able to deal with that issue.