Are parents aware of what children from four years old are being taught about sex in our schools? Belinda Brown thinks not. In a series of articles she makes the case that, with the agreement of the Department for Education, our children are being exposed to what is tantamount to a national grooming programme. The first step of this successful sex educators’ coup, she explains today, was to get parents out of the picture, to take over their role, and then deny them any access to lessons. Miriam Cates is one MP who is fighting back.
IN JUNE Conservative MP Miriam Cates introduced the ‘sex education transparency’ Private Members’ Bill, putting Rishi Sunak under pressure to give schools a legal duty to publish materials used in sex education lessons. Backed by 70 Conservative MPs, the aim of the Bill is to secure parents’ rights to see their children’s Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) lesson plans: rights which parents thought they had, only to find them being denied.
Cates had already called for an urgent Government review into what was being taught in RSE since this programme was rolled out in September 2020, of such concern were the materials and lessons parents gleaned from their children. RSE, it emerged, was the brainchild of the ‘progressive’ independent Sex Education Forum, a busy organisation with a stipend of £200,000 a year and a clear ‘beyond biology’ agenda. The Prime Minister responded to Cates’s call and ordered the review last March. Unaccountably, his Secretary of State for Education, Gillian Keegan, refused to publish the findings and has no plans to do so. Why, we do not know. MPs had claimed the Department for Education’s (DfE) most recent relationships and sex education guidance, produced in 2019 in consultation with the LGBT+ charity Stonewall, had allowed ‘activist groups’ to overly influence teaching materials. The guidance does not set age limits on what can be taught.
In the meanwhile, the position of parents has not changed. One story catalysed Cates’s most recent initiative. Two years ago, Clare Page found out that her daughter had been taught at school that ‘heteronormativity’ (preferring the opposite sex) was a bad thing and had been told that she should be ‘sex positive’. Like any decent mother, she wanted to know more. Her request to see the material used in her daughter’s classroom was turned down, first by the Information Commissioner’s Office and then by a first-tier tribunal. She was not even allowed to find out whether her daughter had been taught by the ‘master fetish trainer’ who worked for the School of Sexuality Education (SSE) employed by her daughter’s school.
Page’s case marks another step in the long march through the institutions whereby parents are being excluded from once personal and family-based aspects of their children’s upbringing, now inappropriately and dangerously taken over by schools.
Her experience is far from exceptional. In Wales, where children are being exposed to a mandatory diet of explicit and highly ideological sex education, parents are not allowed to remove their children from these classes. Attempts to do so are repeatedly turned down.
Likewise, parents such as those trying to protect their children from sexual extremism in the London Borough of Redbridge are portrayed as religious fundamentalists and radical homophobic Islamists.
Some schools and local authorities even have a policy of not informing parents when a child expresses what the school categorises as ‘feelings of gender distress,’ a study found, though this flies in the face of safeguarding rules. More recent research indicates that it could be that the school’s teaching that is the source of distress.
In theory, parents do have rights in law. Under the European Convention of Human Rights, ‘the State shall respect the right of parents to ensure such education and teaching is in conformity with their own religious and philosophical convictions’. The 2002 Education Act Guidance repeatedly emphasises the role of parents. ‘Teaching must be done with respect to the backgrounds and beliefs of pupils and parents . . . All schools should work closely with parents when planning and delivering these subjects. Schools should ensure that parents know what will be taught and when, and clearly communicate the fact that parents.’
Yet this is not happening. Any criticism that teaching places insufficient emphasis on the value of traditional marriage between a man and a woman, for example, is ignored.
When the School of Sexuality Education complained that the Department of Education’s guidance gave ‘problematic credence’ to long-term relationships and marriage, they had the government’s ear (p10). These sex education activists ‘provide in-school workshops on consent, sexual health, porn and positive relationships’. Their approach, they say, is rights-based – whose rights they do not say. They proclaim themselves as ‘sex-positive, non-binary and trauma informed’.
When they criticised the guidance section that suggested that primary schools should only teach pupils about LGBT when it was ‘age appropriate’ rather than from reception, these phrases were obligingly removed by the DfE.
Gillian Keegan should ask herself who these sex education providers are and why they want the material they are pushing at our children to be unrestricted by age.
This contempt for parents was expressed early on in an ‘Educate and Celebrate’ guidebook foisted on schools. Their proposal was that rather than get parents’ permission for children to attend LGBT events, they would organise LGBT events in the school (p24). When parents tried to protect their children from all this, they were told they were breaking the law.
The result of the government’s inadequate guidance, Cates says, is ‘a permission slip for teaching almost anything that is loosely associated with gender, sexuality or sexual practice – often with an assumption of the earlier, the better’ (p71).
Without providing any apparent curriculum, and without parents able to monitor what was being taught, these so-called specialist sex ‘educators’, heavily funded by the government, with clearly articulated curricula and political agendas, have zealously filled the gap.
Foremost of these is the ideology of queer theory that asserts that ‘heteronormativity’ – the natural biological sex preference for the opposite sex, should be ‘smashed’. It rejects all ‘binaries’ including distinctions between homosexuality and heterosexuality, male and female, and even more disturbingly, between adult and child.
This is the ideology that’s the foundation of the RSE curriculum that a Conservative government has sanctioned. It will be explored in greater depth in the rest of the series. Parents have a right to know, reject it and protest.
To be continued.