The twenty-three Conservative MPs who have apparently supported a motion to make sex and relationship education (SRE) compulsory in all schools, including faith schools, ought to resign the whip immediately.
According to one report, lessons will begin at four and though parents will be able to opt-out, many will either not be aware of their right to do so, or will be reluctant to exercise the right for fear of their child being stigmatised. A fact which the Department of Education is well aware of. Such a policy is far from conservative: it is State overreach. It overrides parental consent and forces children to be indoctrinated into a particular ideology regarding how they must think and feel about sexual relationships.
The problem is that the Department of Health has yet to define what constitutes sex education.
It is far from clear what the content of such lessons will be, especially in a climate which has embraced questionable notions of sex and sexuality, such as transgenderism, and seeks to impose them on children. What precisely are four-year-olds going to be taught about sex and relationships? Are children going to be taught about the different types of sex act? Presumably, in this age of inclusiveness and diversity, any such education must include a comprehensive account of how same-sex couples get sexually intimate.
One woman has recently detailed on Mumsnet how an entire primary school, including a reception class were shown a piece of transgender propaganda, supposedly to promote tolerance and inclusiveness, after one of the four-year-olds presented as transgender and the school decided that they would pander to his whim.
None of the parents were informed in advance that their children would be shown the material and far from promoting tolerance, the children appear to have been left with confused ideas, such as that if you prefer activities and toys typically associated with the opposite sex, then you must become that sex. Crucially, none of them were informed as to what might be involved in transitioning to the other sex; the widespread feeling was that if you felt like you might be a boy instead of a girl, then you could just ask to become one and your wish would be granted.
The woman who posted the particular thread has informed me privately that the headteacher told her that the reason parents were not pre-warned was because the school had consulted with various LGBT and council advisory groups who had advised them not to. There was a worry that parents may object and go to the press, so far better to present them with a fait accompli. The only reason that the mother hasn’t gone to the press, though the story needs wider attention, is because she is aware that there is a vulnerable young child at the centre of all this who could be damaged by the resulting attention.
Objecting to these kinds of lessons is not a matter of prudery or Puritanism, it’s simply that it is impossible to teach sex and relationships free of ideology. The topic is by its very nature about moral judgements and you can bet your bottom dollar that the kind of ideology imparted will not reflect any kind of religious or socially conservative values, but will be chock full of moral relativism about doing what feels right at the time, regardless of any physical and emotional risks.
Speaking as mother of a child on the cusp of becoming a teenager, my experience so far is that children do not actually need any information bar the very basics, couched in an age-appropriate way, before the age of 11. If a girl looks set to hit puberty early, it can be dealt with on an individual basis, perhaps involving some of her close friends if necessary, rather than forcing a class full of primary school boys to sit through a lesson about periods, which they neither want nor need to hear.
Nobody is talking about denying children the information that they need, and schools can certainly deliver biological facts, but when it comes to accompanying values, and children learning how to navigate the complex world of adult relationships, this is the role of the parents, who will already know their child’s individual needs better than any education professional. A parent will be far better able to judge than any well-meaning adult, where their child’s emotional and physical development is at, and tailor any conversation accordingly and non-intrusively. And if a parent doesn’t approve of a child’s sexual relationship choices, chances are it’s because they are trying to protect their child. The last thing that parents, who are trying to get their children to concentrate on their schoolwork, rather than their burgeoning sex lives, needs is a school undermining them by encouraging youngsters to be sexually active on their terms.
It is absolute nonsense to suggest that without specialist education (and bear in mind that it is precisely the specialist organisations who have been lobbying for this change for years who stand to financially benefit from supplying ‘expert’ provision at a cost to the taxpayer), children will learn that sexual harassment and violence are acceptable behaviours. There is absolutely no evidence for this whatsoever, just as there is no academic evidence to suggest that sex and relationship education is actually successful and achieves its desired outcomes.
The evidence that we do have however, suggests that most sexual education programmes are ineffective. The best way that children learn norms of relationship behaviour is what they see modelled at home, for better or worse. If you want your children to enjoy a life-long happy, stable, permanent and committed relationship, where both partners value and respect each other, then you need to practice what you preach.
If the Government is truly worried about what children might be learning about sex via online sources, such as pornography, then a far more authentic, effective and indeed cheaper approach would be to cut it off at its source. After all, if my children had a sewer or noxious gas seeping into their bedroom every night, I wouldn’t merely be taking steps to ensure that they learnt to avoid or ignore it. Or, how about a public information campaign to alert parents as to how easily that their children can come into contact with this stuff and the steps they can take to help them avoid it?
Compulsory SRE is inherently Marxist. It assumes that parents are either inadequate or not to be trusted when it comes to helping their children along the path to sexual maturity and seeks to step in and replace them with the State as a surrogate parent. Parents’ own religious values are seen as an obstacle and something to be overcome.
If we want to keep children safe from abuse and exploitation then subjecting them to group discussions about very intimate matters with their peers, from an extremely young age, is counterproductive as it seeks to break down their natural barriers and make thinking about sex, the norm. In other words, a groomers’ charter!