Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Government 's clumsy effort to appease sex-education lobby threatens parental rights

Elizabeth Truss, education and childcare minister
SPUC has criticised comments about sex education by Elizabeth Truss, the education and childcare minister. Mrs Truss said in a letter published in The Times yesterday (15 April) that just as much sex education will be included in the new National Curriculum for England.  A draft new curriculum has been issued for consultation, which closes today. The Government's clumsy effort to appease the sex-education lobby threatens parental rights.

Responding to Mrs Truss, Antonia Tully of the SPUC’s Safe at School campaign told the media:
“Mrs Truss has prejudged the outcome of the consultation which only closes today. The National Curriculum for science contains no reference to sex and relationships, but only to ‘reproduction’ - including plants and animals.

“Sex education is not currently part of the mandatory science curriculum and is included only in the non-statutory suggestions for PSHE lessons. A consultation exercise about the National Curriculum has been in progress since February."
In a submission to the consultation (full text) SPUC Safe at School points out that references to 'reproduction' in the science curriculum are being abused. Explicit sex-education resources are being used in mandatory science lessons for primary school children. In some cases, resources have simply been transferred to science periods to thwart parents' rights to object to what some have called 'kiddie-porn'. Parents are entitled to withdraw children from sex lessons, but schools can force parents to submit their children to attend science classes. 

Antonia continued:
“Sex education lessons are required to be appropriate to the age and cultural background of the children, but this requirement does not apply to what children are shown in science lessons. 

We believe the curriculum should make clear that it does not permit discussing explicit sexual matters with primary school children at Key Stages 1 and 2. In some ways, the draft new curriculum is an improvement on the current curriculum. It will no longer be possible for teachers to interpret the science curriculum at Key Stage 1 to include sex organs when teaching 5-6 year olds about basic body parts. However, the Year 5 programme of study requires children to describe reproduction in a variety of animals, and humans are included. This means that children aged 9-10 years may be subjected to graphic sex education from which their parents are powerless to withdraw them.

There is no evidence that teaching primary age children about sex improves their sexual health as they grow up."
Comments on this blog? Email them to johnsmeaton@spuc.org.uk
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