One of the few traditional Conservatives to have served on the Tory front bench under Cameron, Paterson was Secretary of State for Northern Ireland before being promoted to the more high profile role of Secretary of State for Defra.

Candidate of the day

Owen Paterson

One day to go and Sir John Major has weighed in. “Labour divides to rule. To win votes they will turn rich against poor; north against south; worker against boss." We hope we don't wake up with them on Friday.

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Sir John Major

Another awful Labour woman. The fact Ed Miliband’s carved his pledges in stone doesn't mean he might not break them, campaign chief Lucy Powell has said.

Villain of the day

Lucy Powell

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THE REAL CONSERVATIVE MANIFESTO

Back marriage. Restore grammar schools. Leave the EU.

Chris McGovern: Teachers are expected to be social workers and psychiatrists

Compulsory sex education is on its way to your child’s school. Many parents will sigh with relief but others will sigh in anguish. Personally, I am broadly in favour of sex education in the classroom provided it is agreed with the parent body and, largely, confined to the secondary level and taught within a moral framework. It is, in any case, already part of the Science National Curriculum.

The threat of children being exposed to politically correct fanaticism in the name of sex education should, however, worry us all. Sex education under the control of PC zealots is a Pandora’s box. It will mean a great deal more than what it says on the label. Prepare yourself for some nasty surprises in the years ahead.

And, if you are a parent, be wary of exercising the opt-out clause. Any child who misses these lessons will have a high chance of being isolated, stigmatised and bullied.  As a mum or dad you are in a position akin to the Sicilian entrepreneur who is politely asked by the local Mafioso if he would like ‘fire insurance’ for his new business. Purely optional, of course! The educational PC mafia will get you one way or the other. Heads they win and tails you lose, sort of thing!

And no one should imagine that most of the silent majority of teachers are banging a drum to teach about sex. In my experience, many in the profession dread even having to teach a ‘subject’ entitled “Personal, Social and Health Education” (PSHE). Too often it is little more than an excuse to promote the ‘right-on’, politically correct, credo that is so à la mode’ in schools these days.

For a graduate physicist, linguist or mathematician, who entered teaching because of a love of their subject and of teaching it, PSHE is a complete ‘turn-off’. This is what plenty of bright teachers are complaining about to their mates in the pub on a Friday night, if they have the energy to get down there. It is an unreported reason why so many leave the profession after a few years.  They are being driven out by the sheer frustration of not being allowed to get on with teaching their subject.

Instead, they are charged with solving most of society’s problems. In too many schools teaching has become a combination of social work and psychiatric support. Heaven knows we have plenty of problems in our society these days. Schools are increasingly required to deal with the symptoms, to be the fire fighters. They cannot cope and by trying to meet the burden placed on them, they frequently make matters worse. Pity the child who did not realise that they had a problem until they went to their PSHE or to their sex education lesson.

Submerged by a deluge of responsibilities that have more to do with social engineering than with learning, many of our best qualified teachers are no longer being allowed to fulfil their vocation – teaching their subject they love. Small wonder, then, that we lag so far behind the best education systems around the world. The traditional academic curriculum is, too often, being pushed to one side.

In this age of anxiety schools have been forced to take their eye off the ball.

Chris McGovern

  • Bik Byro

    Sex education in schools is not a new thing, we had sex education in school 40 years ago.

    • Tricia

      Nothing like! Check out Canada and you will get a flavour of the full spectrum of all sexual deviance and porn thrown in for good measure. Massachusetts and Oregon parents in the US are fighting school boards over the passworded access to porn sites, that parents cannot access because they are given different passwords. Never mind the gender bending choose your own gender lobby.

      • Bik Byro

        What’s Canada got to do with an article about the UK?

        • Tricia

          We are we are about 10 years behind Canada with the progressives and their sex agenda, but at least you get an idea of the direction of travel.

          • Bik Byro

            Interesting conclusion. Any evidence for this ? Or does it all just seem so clear in your head ?

          • I’d guess it’s about probably right, the US is similarly behind the loons in Canada, but trying to catch up.

          • Bik Byro

            I was very bemused as to why she said Canada as opposed to, say, Bolivia or Tasmania, other than Canada fits nicely with her pre-existing prejudices.

          • Tricia

            I am now bemused. Why should I have a prejudice against Canada. I have visited BC and it is a great country. They just have ultra liberal Government. And I have read the sex ed curriculum, but I have not in Bolivia or Tasmania (I would doubt they have one).

          • Bik Byro

            Why would you have a prejudice ? .. er because you yourself described them as having a “full spectrum of all sexual deviance”
            Seeing as you have forgotten already, here is a link to assist your selective memory http://disq.us/p/1h52yzo

          • Tricia

            i don’t need reminding of my words. I am the one who has read the Ontario schools sex ed curriculum. You are the one who is uninformed on the issue.

          • Bik Byro

            The issue is that you have a prejudicial view of sex education in Canada. Your posts above have informed not only me but anyone who reads of them of that fact.

  • RobertRetyred

    I saw this coming, 40 years ago.

  • Colkitto03

    I agree that it should be high school only. As for asking teachers to act as social workers I agree we ask them to do to much.
    I am concerned though about the unrestricted access young men have to pornography and the damage that is going to do to them and society going forward. That said this is where parents need to get really involved.

    • Bik Byro

      When it comes to getting access to pornography, trust me, it is the young men demographic who know all the tips and tricks to get round any “blocks”.

  • Labour_is_bunk

    …. if there’s still a local pub to “get down there” to.

    • John Rollins

      Yep, their closing down left, right and centre

      • Bik Byro

        To be fair, a lot of the ones that are closing down were crap to begin with and needed weeding out. Round our town, the really decent ones with good quality beer never have trouble attracting trade.

    • Sargv

      Shisha bar should be more PC. Alcohol consumption is frowned upon in more advanced cultures.

  • When I was at school, one of the things they kept stressing was that we should try and find some way to use the knowledge that we gained each day in our daily life. This could be a disaster following sex lessons, I would suggest.

  • TheStoneMan

    I have absolutely no sympathy for teachers. They have brought all this on themselves. For the last 50 years they have been dumbing down education and enhancing their “pastoral” work. It is they who decide that sitting in rows and learning by rote is wrong. It is they who “misteach” English history as patriarchal and xenophobic, great literature as no better than modern rubbish. It is they who demanded the removal of discipline from classrooms on the grounds that being nice is bound to get the whole world in harmony. It is they who ban competitive sports, who demand prizes for all.
    It is too late for them to blame anyone else for the pitiful state of our schools and our education. Children in Africa who learn sitting on the ground are now better educated than our children.
    They have made their bed – now let them lie in it.

    • Coniston

      I think it is more the Education lecturers in universities (some of whom have never taught in schools) and government ‘advisers’ – plus the union leaderships (who also have managed to get out of teaching). When ‘progressive’ education was brought in, many, or most, head teachers objected, but as they retired only those who supported the new ways were appointed. If any head (or class teacher) objected they were disciplined – remember Ray Honeyford? https://www.city-journal.org/html/man-who-predicted-race-riots
      Most teachers join a union for the legal protection – very necessary these days. As for sex education, nothing wrong with the right kind, but it is being pushed by the LGBTXYZ people who want to indoctrinate young children with their way of thinking. This seems to meet with the full approval of the government.

      • James Chilton

        Education lecturers with no experience as front line teachers in schools are impervious to practical considerations; they’re in thrall to theory.

        I’m reminded of the joke about a professor at the École Normale Supérieure, who is supposed to have said: “I agree that it works in practice. But how can we be certain that it will work in theory?”

        • Colkitto03

          LOL

        • Groan

          I’ve commented before. Some of my staff have been working with teachers for a few years now. I was shocked at how little education and training they appear to have in human behaviour. the very basics.

          • Doesn’t surprise me, really. When I was in college, at an state (US Type) engineering school, we used to go over to another state college to find girls, they were almost all studying education, and they were uniformly cute, and dumb as a box of rocks. This of course, was in the 70’s, I doubt much has changed. As the old saw had it (not always true, of course), “Them that can, do; them that can’t, teach”. That said, I’ve known many dedicated, intelligent, and good teachers that had an actual desire to teach, but there are also the careerists, who are in it for various other reasons.

      • markbrev

        “Most teachers join a union for the legal protection – very necessary these days. ” maybe what is needed is not another teaching union, but a professional membership that can offer tailored advice and Professional Indemnity Insurance like other professions such as architects, solicitors, engineers or surveyors?

        • Coniston

          The ATL (formerly AMMA) was supposed to be such a union. But I’ve heard (is it true?) that it is amalgamating with NUT.

        • TheRightToArmBears

          The ICAEW is a professional (allegedly) body that has protected the big four from the nemesis that their cossetting of

          • markbrev

            Professional bodies (should in theory!) at least put their members interests first. Teaching unions exist only for the benefit of the teaching unions.

    • markbrev

      I’d disagree with that. Being married to a teacher and having several friends who are, I’d say the vast majority want nothing to do with Sex Education, especially in primary school. The ones that have pushed no discipline, happy clappy classrooms, no competitive sports and a twisted view of English history are the teaching unions and ‘progressive’ head teachers and ladder climbers. They have served the teachers, the teaching profession and our children extremely poorly in the past 50 years and continue to do so.

      • RobertRetyred

        They have let it happen, just as Arthur Anderson, Enron, Marconi and Climate Change Scientists have.
        It’s been 40 years in coming. I missed it, but my younger brother (by three years) just caught the start of it in infant school, but managed to miss it in secondary school. When presentation skills are valued above knowledge, there is no knowing where the destination will be.
        We haven’t had any global warming for the last 20 years, yet the children at school (all under 20) are still being indoctrinated in the faith!

        • Coniston

          It seems to be pure faith – or rather ideology – that keeps the climate change deniers going. Certainly not facts. Their belief in fake news is on a grand scale. The last 16 years have been the warmest on record – the data has been checked again and again. The arctic ice is at an all-time low, the oceans are getting warmer (the Great Barrier Reef is close to dying) and sea levels are rising. El Nino accounts only for a small fraction of this.

      • TheRightToArmBears

        Why then do they vote for the cultural Marxists who are running their unions and driving this lunacy?

  • Sargv

    Why we still call them “schools”? Let’s switch to “indoctrination facilities”, with “commissars” instead of “head teachers” and “political instructors” instead of “teachers”.

    • markbrev

      That is really what modern teaching universities are.

      • Groan

        You are right. my daughter was disillusioned with here education course after the first year because it was all politics, big and small p. She and I had thought that there would be at least something on how children or people learn etc. I must admit I tried to encourage her to stick with it as it may have got better later. But from what I saw she was right.

        • RobertRetyred

          “… there would be at least something on how children or people learn etc …”
          That disappeared over 40 years ago.

          • TheRightToArmBears

            Rather like the Church of England ceasing to mention God and ranting about the rights of immigrants to rape Christian children.

  • Russell

    The Social Engineers will not be able to keep their grubby hands off sex education.

  • Tricia

    I would recommend reading the work by Dr Judith Reismann on this. She visited Croatia and the Government cancelled the Sex Education scheme. I is nothing more than indoctrination and a paedophile charter. It started with Alfred Kinsey in the sixties, who was found to be a paedo.
    My family are watching developments closely and will be refusing to accept this. All parents should refuse this!

    • Bik Byro

      Whenever my life is that empty, I’ll give it a read. Actually, I won’t.

  • Alan

    No argument rom me; the bollocks about social engineering is why I never pursued teaching after passing my PGCE.

    • RobertRetyred

      The PGCE filters out those unsuitable for teaching – that is, those who reject the agenda. No wonder school leavers are unemployable.

  • Under-the-weather

    With the exception of economics which should be on the curriculum for everybody, I can’t imagine why teachers are even expected to cope with all this. Why aren’t specialists hired (as in counsellors) to go into schools over the last month after final exams?. Parents who might want to opt out, then have the school holiday to act as a buffer before the next school year.

    A lot of this is probably because schools want to be treating everyone the same, whereas as in reality the issues are more likely to arise from ‘chaotic’ groups already on welfare?, and that suggests to me that rather than this being a school issue, the issues when obvious should be flagged from school, (via the nurses/teachers), but be resolved not by teachers, but by health visitors with access to other professionals – i.e focus on those concerned rather than everyone.

    • Under-the-weather

      I agree with the article on the subject that sex ed in a ‘moral’ context is better than none, otherwise children just end up in a very difficult situation of potentially being ‘bullied’ into behaviour they don’t know much about,

    • Sargv

      British (and – wider – Western) educationalists think that people make mistakes due to lack of information. So they assume that more information given as early as possible will save children (and future adults) from mistakes that may affect the rest of their lives.

      But the assumption itself is wrong. People do mistakes because they’re short on experience, not information. And it’s not something the school can provide one with. Not only it’s hard to transfer, it’s also impossible in Western cultural paradigm, as it will violate individual freedoms.

      What does it matter what school teacher told you about sex, if your actual first sexual experience was dictated largely by your social circle, class, age and personality?

      Proper good sexual education is not only moral, but it’s also curated – by both sets of parents, and wider society, through vetoes on potentially harmful dates, and through shaming of potentially harmful behaviour.

      Feeding them with “information”, so they “can make their own choice” and washing your hands of the problem is just shifting of responsibility from adults to children.

    • Phil R

      Our local comp has 350 or so staff

      No more than 120 are teachers.

      There is the root of the problem and the funding crisis.

      Hiring more non jobs will just make things worse