Antonia Tully of Safe at School told the media today:
"Every parent should now feel confident that their primary-aged child will not be subjected to graphic information about sex in compulsory science lessons. Where local authorities advise schools of the requirements of the national curriculum, from 2014 they must stop advising both schools and parents that there is mandatory sex education in science lessons.Comments on this blog? Email them to firstname.lastname@example.org
The outgoing primary science curriculum contains the word 'reproduction' in the statutory requirement for teaching the human life-cycle. Schools are viewing this as a green light to teach children about sexual intercourse in science lessons from which their parents could not withdraw them. Similarly under the outgoing curriculum, many schools are teaching children at Key Stage 1 (aged 5-7 years old) to identify their sexual organs. The incoming curriculum does not mandate schools to teach children about human genitalia or sexual reproduction. Sexual reproduction is only covered with reference to animals, with the suggestion that children should hatch and rear chicks to observe this. (See notes below for relevant extracts from the new curriculum).
Safe at School is warning parents that vigilance by parents is still needed. The new science curriculum does suggest that Year 5 children (aged 9-10) could be taught about "the changes experienced in puberty". Parents must ask their child's teacher to show them exactly what will be shown in class if this is covered.
Meanwhile thousands of primary schools will have to update their Sex and Relationship Education (SRE) policy before 2014 to state clearly that no part of sex education is taught in science lessons. Safe at School will be advising parents and governors on this matter."
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