THE headteacher of a Basingstoke catholic secondary school has apologised for the publication of a ‘homophobic’ policy on its website.

The document on Bishop Challoner Catholic School’s website reportedly stated that “a homosexual partnership and a heterosexual marriage can never be equated” and that it “cannot approve of homosexual genital acts”.

Posting in an online blog on Faith Schoolers Anonymous, a former pupil who left the South Ham school earlier this year, labelled the policy as “disgraceful” adding: “[It] does nothing to instil any confidence in pupils and parents that the church does in fact ‘recognise the dignity of all people’ or ‘affirm the homosexual as a person’, as the same policy claims.

“The school then goes on to dictate its opinion on same-sex marriage, asserting incorrectly that ‘English law’ reflects the church’s opinion that ‘a homosexual partnership and a heterosexual marriage can never be equated’. This is the policy you will find on its website today, the policy of a state-funded school in England in 2016.”

The pupil went on to say they felt “ostracised by the school’s religious selectivity”.

The policy has now been removed from the school’s website after an article about it appeared on the American site BuzzFeed.

John Wright, headteacher at the school in St Michael’s Road, said in a statement sent to The Gazette that the policy was “out-of-date”, adding: “This was down to an administrative error for which we apologise profusely.

"We have corrected our policy and I would like to thank BuzzFeed for bringing this to our attention.

"Treating everyone with dignity and respect, regardless of their sexuality, is at the core of our mission, for instance we have a zero-tolerance approach to all forms of bullying, including homophobic bullying.

“I would like to reassure all pupils and parents at Bishop Challoner of our commitment to inclusivity and acceptance and that this error bears no reflection of our teaching of tolerance.”

A spokeswoman for Hampshire County Council said: “It can be seen that the school has responded appropriately and confirmed that the policy referred to was out of date. The county council has no further comment to make.”

A spokesperson for the Catholic Diocese of Portsmouth, under which the school falls, told BuzzFeed: “Every person, regardless of their sexual orientation, has a God-given dignity which must be respected. We expect all catholic schools in our diocese to be crystal clear about this. We also expect schools to recognise the contemporary context of the world we live in, and present a positive view of healthy relationships.”