WITH the Government’s new Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) regulations now in force in England and Wales, making Relationships Education (recommended by government to include teaching on LGBT) compulsory in all primary and secondary schools from September, many schools have wasted no time in introducing the lessons ahead of schedule, to the consternation of parents.
The statutory guidance leaves schools free, within the regulations, to adopt their own curriculum, a freedom which some have used to create lessons that parents welcome, but others to introduce something much more controversial.
One of the more questionable RSE curriculums for 4-to-11-year-olds to have come to light so far – though by no means the only one; this is going on in schools up and down the country – has been produced by the Conservative-majority Warwickshire County Council for its primary schools.
‘All About Me’ pushes ‘self-stimulation’, transgenderism, homosexuality, and sexual permissiveness from a very young age. The complete lesson plans can be found here:
EDITOR’S NOTE: Since this article was published, the links have been taken down.
Although there are some good parts, on friendship for example, overall it is grim reading for anyone who cares about our children’s innocence and future. Warning: some explicit material follows.
Notably missing from the lessons is any mentionof marriage or even of commitment in sexual or romantic relationships. Even the age of consent doesn’t get a look-in. The closest the material gets to mentioning the law is when it says ‘sex is something grown-ups do’, at risk of making it all the more appealing to an eager young person itching to grow up.
What is clearly taught by contrast is that ‘puberty is all about getting your body ready for having sex’, adding that ‘having sex is something you should always choose to do because you want to’ – suggesting a certain imperative to get on with it.
Children as young as five are exposed to a surprising level of detail on sex. ‘Grownups can fit together like two pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. The man’s penis can fit inside the woman’s vagina.’ Jigsaw puzzle? That sounds a fun game to play.
Throughout, sex is only ever presented as something enjoyable that ‘feels nice’. The dangers are nowhere to be found, nor the damage and mental hurt of having sex too young or with too many people, let alone the benefits of deferring gratification. ‘All About Me’ is predictably disparaging about traditional views on sex, distorting them in a prejudicial way by associating them with people who think sex is ‘rude’ and ‘funny’.
Hold your breath for what comes next. In year 2 (age 6-7) children are taught to self-stimulate:
‘Now lots of people like to tickle or stroke themselves as it might feel nice. They might play with their hair, stroke their skin or they may even touch their private parts. This is really very normal. However, some people may get cross or say that it is dirty, especially when you touch your own privates. This is strange as it is really very normal, however, it is not polite to do it when other people are about.’
What about other people, may they touch us between our legs? Children of four and up are taught: ‘No one is allowed to touch your body without your permission especially your private parts’, and ‘our bodies belong to us and we get to choose who and how we are touched’. Intended to keep children safe, in fact this risks having the opposite effect, as it is telling children they can give people permission to touch their private parts and make it ‘feel nice’.
Far from protecting children, constantly drawing attention to it and talking about it in a public classroom setting is likely to lower children’s protective inhibitions around grown-ups and one another. Do six-year-olds really need to be taught about this at school? Doesn’t it smack of prurience?
One of the more shocking aspects of ‘All About Me’ is how consistently explicit it is from a very young age. From Reception (age 4-5) onwards it shows naked depictions of boys and girls and encourages the use of adult terminology: ‘Children will use the correct names for their personal body parts. Penis and anus (bum) for boys, vulva, vagina and anus for girls.’
In year 2 (age 6-7) the teacher is to ‘encourage the class to shout out and name the private body parts using the correct terms.’ Bear in mind these are mixed-sex classes.
But why? We don’t encourage children to say urinate or defecate instead of wee or poo, or stomach instead of tummy. Why then single out using grown-up words for private parts? Do we really think children are kept safe by encouraging them to talk openly and uninhibitedly about their vulva or penis with people outside their family?
Homosexuality is pushed throughout the curriculum. To year 2 (age 6-7) children it says: ‘Can two men or two women love each other too? (Of course they can!)’ In year 5 (age 9-10) children are shown the first and only video about a romantic relationship – featuring two boys. Teachers are told: ‘If the children comment then we can unpick their issues, however, by accepting and treating the romance as no different to one between a boy and a girl we can help re-enforce the fact to young people and encourage them to remain accepting themselves.’
To year 6 (age 10-11) the lesson explains that ‘two men or two women who really fancy each other can have sex too’. No additional risks of same-sex sex are mentioned, or the fact that it cannot produce children. Never mind that same-sex attraction may be a passing ‘crush’ phase. That idea is dismissed as an option for teachers.
Transgenderism is promoted straight from Reception (age 4-5). Teachers are told: ‘Some people may feel that actually they like to dress in clothes or behave in a way we would usually associate with the opposite gender. Some children may even feel that their body doesn’t really fit how they feel, even though they were born with the body parts of a boy, that actually inside they feel like they are a girl, or vice versa. This can be really confusing for some children and for the grown-ups that support them so it is important that we accept them for who they say they are.’
Such attempts to normalise transgenderism are unlikely to bring down the unprecedented levels of gender dysphoria among the young. Rather they will encourage this unhappy state.
Here’s what the authors say about why their material is so explicit:
‘There is a huge worry about how much we should tell small children and how much they can cope with. The fact is it is much better that children get open, honest answers from safe adults rather than left to piece together information from less reliable sources. As a result, rather than the topic becoming a taboo, something that is shameful, naughty, rude, (and fascinating in equal measures as it is forbidden) it means instead, they will continue to come to us for answers that we can keep age appropriate, and the topic becomes demystified and far less of a big deal and is instead something we can talk about, and generally the things we can talk about openly become far safer.’
Why on earth do we want children to think sex is something permitted that is not a ‘big deal’ – how will that protect them from abuse?
The biggest conceit is that children are made safer through this kind of sex-positive education. Western countries have been testing this idea for several decades now and the results are not encouraging. Numerous studies confirm that sex-positive education programmes have, at best, no effect on adolescent pregnancy and STI rates. In fact, much more likely is that, by lowering inhibitions and encouraging permissive attitudes, they make things worse.
Astonishingly, given the large proportion of explicit and controversial content in these lessons, only three of the 35 sessions of ‘All About Me’ are classified as sex education. The rest – including sessions on ‘where babies come from’, ‘self-stimulation’ (masturbation), homosexuality and transgenderism – are classified as ‘relationships education’. There is a reason for this: from September 2020 there will be no parental right of withdrawal from ‘relationships education’ lessons; this right is provided only for ‘sex education’.
It is worth emphasising that there is nothing compulsory about primary schools teaching such explicit and controversial lessons. It is perfectly possible to comply with the law and teach RSE in a less contentious and more age-appropriate way. It is not compulsory to teach transgenderism to four-year-olds or masturbation and homosexuality to six-year-olds. It is not a legal requirement to disparage traditional beliefs or push permissiveness.
Schools which opt to teach a curriculum like ‘All About Me’ do so by choice. Concerned parents should insist on exercising their right of withdrawal for anything they consider to be sex education, regardless of what the school says. Support for where the school does not co-operate in this or other areas can be found from Parent Power and the Christian Legal Centre, among others.
It is well within the discretion of schools to vary their teaching to accord with the wishes of parents. Indeed, that is what they are supposed to do. The new RSE Guidance makes clear that: ‘Schools must consult parents in developing and reviewing their [RSE] policy. Schools should ensure that the policy meets the needs of pupils and parents and reflects the community they serve.’
The truth is it shouldn’t be left for parents and governors to do battle. This should not be allowed to descend into a rights or a conscience issue. You don’t have to be a practising Christian, Jew or Muslim to find these lessons indecent. The Government has got it very wrong and it needs to accept this. It should rescind its Relationships Education forthwith, remove the ideologues from the DfE who have been pushing such revolutionary theories and start again with a clear moral framework, objective assessment of age appropriateness and what the responsibility of schools in these matters is.