PARENTS have backed a campaign to introduce lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender education into Scottish schools.

The move by the National Parent Forum of Scotland (NPFS) comes after a ballot of area representatives from across the country.

The NPFS is currently sitting on a Scottish Government working group to look at how the experience of LGBTI pupils can be improved.

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The group was established after the Time for Inclusive Education (TIE) campaign called for new legislation to enshrine LGBTI education as a requirement for all schools.

The campaign also wants it to be made a requirement for teachers to be trained on tackling homophobic abuse and well as making it mandatory for schools to record instances of associated bullying.

However, the call to make LGBTI education a requirement is controversial because Scotland does not have a mandatory curriculum.

Joanna Murphy, chairwoman of the NPFS, said: “We believe an education system that is inclusive and free of prejudice is a right every single pupil should enjoy.

“We are echoing the voice of parents who want to tackle prejudice-based bullying in our schools.

“We owe it to our young people to have an open and frank discussion around these issues and we hope this also encourages parents and parent councils to continue this discussion.”

Liam Stevenson, a co-founder of TIE, said the forum’s decision sent a strong message in support of equality and inclusion.

He added: “Throughout our work we have spoken to many parents who wish to see an end to homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in schools.

“Most parents are surprised that in 2017 an education which is inclusive of diverse relationships, family types and identities is not already in place.”

However, a spokeswoman for the Catholic Church said it was important to focus on protecting all vulnerable groups to ensure equity.

She said: “Catholic schools want to ensure improvements within school policies and actions regarding equality are not limited to one protected characteristic.

“Catholic schools are caring and inclusive and do not foster or leave unchallenged discrimination on the grounds of creed, race, sexual orientation, gender identity or any other matter.

“They recognise the uniqueness of each child, while not labelling children to any one characteristic.”

And Eileen Prior, executive director of the Scottish Parent Teacher Campaign, also called for a less prescriptive approach.

She said: “We are very supportive of the TIE campaign? and very engaged with the equalities and anti-bullying message.

“Scotland currently does not have a statutory curriculum and so schools already have the freedom to address this issue.

“Therefore, we would like to see the campaign focus on encouraging school communities of young people, families and other partners to work on equalities together.”

Larry Flanagan, general secretary of the Educational Institute of Scotland, said the union was committed to partnership working to ensure the needs of LGBTI pupils, students and staff were met.

He said: “An increasingly important element of this is working to ensure that appropriate professional development opportunities are developed and available to teachers to allow them to address a wide range of relationship issues across the curriculum.

“Ensuring that the needs of all learners, including LGBTI learners, are considered during curricular planning is essential.”

Research earlier this year by the TIE group found 90 per cent of Scots LGBTI pupils faced bullying in school, while 42 per cent said they had attempted suicide.