Monday 8 July 2013

Safe at School broadly welcomes changes to National Curriculum science

SPUC Safe at School has "broadly welcomed" the programme of study for science at Key Stages 1 and 2, in the new National Curriculum published today.

Safe at School is pleased to see that at Key Stage 1, the new curriculum does not stipulate that children are required to identify the human sexual organs - just as in the current curriculum. The new curriculum contains non-statutory "Notes and guidance" with a suggested list of main body  parts. No sexual organs are on the list.

Antonia Tully, national co-ordinator of Safe at School, told the media earlier today:
"Many  primary schools have been interpreting the requirement for children to know the main parts of the body to include the sexual organs. Parents are very unhappy when this happens."
Under the newly-published National Curriculum children at Key Stage 2 are required "to notice that animals, including humans, have offspring which grow into adults."

Mrs Tully said:
"The removal of the word 'reproduction' from the statutory requirement is an important change. At present under the current curriculum the inclusion of the word 'reproduction' is acting as a green light for schools to teach children about sexual intercourse in  science lessons from which their parents cannot withdraw them.

In addition, the notes and guidance state clearly that children 'should not be expected to understand how reproduction occurs'. In our submission to the consultation on the draft curriculum, we pointed out that the references to reproduction were vague and that  many teachers were interpreting this to mean that human sexual  intercourse had to be taught. This was tantamount to compulsory sex education by the back door."
Last month parents in Tower Hamlets took to the streets in protest against their children being taught about sex in science classes from which they could not remove them. (See )

Mrs Tully concluded:
"Hopefully parents around the country will have peace of mind now that their children will not be subjected to explicit information about sex in science lessons. Sex education must remain a non-compulsory subject. Unlike many other school subjects, the parent  is the only one who knows when a child is ready to receive information about sex. Increasingly parents insist that they are the ones to give this information to their primary-aged children, not the school."
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