Wednesday 12 October 2011

Primary schools are under no obligation to teach sex education

Tomorrow evening Antonia Tully (pictured), coordinator of SPUC's Safe at School campaign, will address a public meeting in Bournemouth to warn parents about the explicit materials being used in primary school sex education classes. One of the local Bournemouth newspapers, the Bournemouth Echo has reported on the scheduled meeting.
CAMPAIGNERS will arrive in Bournemouth this week to protest about sex education programmes in primary schools.
The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC), which is behind the Safe at School nationwide campaign, is calling for a ban on what it says is “explicit sex education”.
Co-ordinator Antonia Tully will say at a public meeting on Thursday that children as young as seven are “exposed” in the classroom to cartoons showing sexual intercourse. She is asking parents of primary school age children to attend.
The cartoon forms part of the living and growing sex education scheme which the campaign says is the most widely used sex education resource in schools.
“Parents don’t realise this is being used in schools until afterwards. So many parents were getting in touch with us after their children had seen it and were affected by it. The parents came to us looking for support,” she said.
Anne Crossland, Bournemouth council’s strategy leader for primary schools, said: “Current legislation requires all maintained schools to teach some aspects of sex education.
“It is the responsibility of each school’s governing body to develop their policy for this and to make sure it is available to all parents.
“If sex and relationships Education is taught outside the statutory science national curriculum, parents have a right to withdraw their children.”
She added a sample sex and relationships education policy is provided to school governors and the borough works jointly with Poole and Dorset to develop the local Rainbow programme to support the personal social and health education curriculum.
“This includes guidance for each year group on relevant DVD material.
“Schools have been advised to prepare carefully before delivering any sex and relationships education lessons and to be sure to watch any DVD material first to ensure it is suitable, in accordance with their agreed school policy,” she added.
The meeting will be held at the Durley Dean Hotel, West Cliff Road in Bournemouth on Thursday at 7pm.
No-one involved in education at the Borough of Poole or Dorset County Council was available for comment.
Antonia has said in response: "I disagree with much of Anne Crossland's explanation of what schools are required to do. Primary schools are under no obligation to teach sex education. Primary schools are free to decide not to teach sex and relationships education (SRE). Sex education should not be taught in science lessons at primary school. There is nothing in the national curriculum for science at Key Stage 1 or Key Stage 2 which requires primary schools to teach children about sexual issues, sex organs or sexual intercourse.

"I would like to know what DVD material Poole and Dorset suggests is suitable for its primary schools.

"A key point Ms Crossland fails to make is that the headteacher and the governing body should consult with parents on both the schools policy and on the materials used to deliver SRE. Parents should 'watch any DVD material first to ensure it is suitable' as well as schools."

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