A grammar school headteacher has apologised after a maths test handed out to pupils suggested that only men and women should get married “as God intended”.
The Royal Grammar School (RGS) in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, is recognised as one of the leading state selective schools for boys in the country with past alumni including Lord Michael Ashcroft, Matt Dawson and Jimmy Carr.
The selective all-boys school recently issued a maths test to dozens of pupils which posed the question: “If in a town 70% of the men are married to 90% of the women (and each marriage is between one man and woman, as God intended when he made humans male and female) what percentage of the adult population are married?”
A photo of the test was shared on social media where it was soon condemned.
Commenters who saw the post on Reddit called the question “homophobic” and “grossly inappropriate”.
RGS headteacher Philip Wayne told the Huffington Post UK that the practice paper was written by a retired teacher who will not be returning to volunteer at the school.
He apologised for the offence the question caused.
Wayne said: “The first few boys - there were about 30 or 40 boys who came to pick up the tests - they noticed the question concerned and they reported it to staff in the maths department, so it was very quickly withdrawn by the department.
“The volunteer concerned will not be returning to the school.
“All staff are expected to abide by personal and professional standards of conduct, whether they are on the payroll or not.”
RGS educates boys aged 11 to 18 years-old.
Wayne said that pupils of any age could collect the practice tests, but due to the degree of difficulty older students and “more able mathematicians” are likely to have picked up the paper.
The headteacher said it was the first time that anything like this has happened at the school.
“I am sorry on behalf of the whole school community of governors, staff and boys for any offence that this has caused,” Wayne added.
LGBT rights charity Stonewall praised Royal Grammar School for dealing with the material quickly, but stressed the importance of tackling discrimination within schools.
A Stonewall spokesperson said: “It’s encouraging to see that this incident was dealt with as soon as it was raised, but demonstrates how important it is for staff to be equipped to prevent and tackle LGBT discrimination in all of its forms.
“All children should be able to experience school as an inclusive learning space, and should absolutely never feel ostracised or mistreated by either the language or materials used by teaching staff or volunteers.”