Sex education review is ‘politically motivated’, say teaching unions

Posted: 9th March 2023

Source: The Guardian

Teaching unions have criticised a “politically motivated” review of the way sex education is taught in schools, after Conservative MPs voiced concern that children were being exposed to “graphic” material including “lessons on oral sex”.

Rishi Sunak has asked the Department for Education to “ensure schools are not teaching inappropriate or contested content” in the subject of relationships, sex and health education (RSHE), and will bring forward the review that was already “on the cards for some time”.

Sunak confirmed the review, which will apply only to state schools in England, after a Tory MP, Miriam Cates, said children were being exposed to sex education classes that were “age-inappropriate, extreme, sexualising and inaccurate”.

The prime minister and the education secretary, Gillian Keegan, are understood to be concerned about the issues raised and will consider whether schools should place clearer limits on the content taught to children, depending on their age.

Posing a question to Sunak during prime minister’s questions, Cates said: “Graphic lessons on oral sex, how to choke your partner safely, and 72 genders. This is what passes for relationships and sex education in British schools.

“Across the country, children are being subjected to lessons that are age-inappropriate, extreme, sexualising and inaccurate, often using resources from unregulated organisations that are actively campaigning to undermine parents.

“This is not a victory for equality – it is a catastrophe for childhood.”

Sunak responded: “Our priority should always be the safety and wellbeing of children, and schools should also make curriculum content and materials available to parents.

“As a result of all of this, we are bringing forward a review of RSHE statutory guidance and we will start our consultation as soon as possible.”

Before PMQs, Cates coordinated a letter to the prime minister that was signed by MPs including Priti Patel, former levelling up secretary Simon Clarke, Jonathan Gullis and Andrea Jenkyns, urging Sunak to launch an independent inquiry into what young children have been asked in lessons concerning how they “feel” about oral and anal sex.

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