Response: Government Consultation - Relationships education, relationships and sex education, and health education in England

Reply to Gov Consultation on Relationships and Sex Education

 

Response: Government Consultation - Relationships education, relationships and sex education, and health education in England

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Response: Government Consultation - Relationships education, relationships and sex education, and health education in England

Find Draft Guidance here: https://consult.education.gov.uk/pshe/relationships-education-rse-health-education/supporting_documents/20170718_%20Draft%20guidance%20for%20consultation.pdf

Find Consultation here: https://consult.education.gov.uk/pshe/relationships-education-rse-health-education/supporting_documents/180718%20Consultation_call%20for%20evidence%20response_policy%20statement.pdf

Answer Online here: https://consult.education.gov.uk/pshe/relationships-education-rse-health-education/consultation/subpage.2018-06-11.0090277436/


The Government have released a consultation on Relationships education (RelEd), relationships and sex education (RSE), and health education in primary and secondary schools. The draft documents contain certain elements which many parents would find alarming and now is your chance to tell the Government to amend/remove these sections.

So what is the present consultation about?

Following the consultation earlier in the year (about whether or not to make RSE a mandatory subject) the government has published draft regulations, draft guidance for RelEd and RSE and is now inviting comments on these documents before they are finalised and take effect from September 2020.

This guidance will apply to all schools in England concerning the teaching of RSE at schools.

What should I be concerned about?

  1. Importantly, if the guidance is implemented it increases the power of the state to prevent parents from withdrawing their own children from these lessons. At primary school, parents will have no right to withdraw their children from Relationships Education and at secondary level, parents have no legal right to withdraw their children from sex education. The right of a parent to withdraw their child from ‘sex education’ at secondary school has been replaced by the ‘right to request withdrawal’.
  2. The guidance integrates a false understanding of sex and marriage into education both at primary and secondary levels. Whilst such issues may be discussed in accord with parental wishes at secondary school, at primary level, this is wholly inappropriate.
  3. Finally, at secondary school, pupils will be provided with information about where and how to obtain abortions. This is obviously not a morally neutral option as every abortion is deeply wrong and a great tragedy.

CitizenGO is submitting this response on some of the most important questions asked. CitizenGO has not attempted to answer all of the questions. The consultation and the accompanying documents are quite large and we have tried to select the most important problems with the guidance. You are invited to respond to the consultation yourself in part or full here.

Please sign our submission which we will deliver from CitizenGO to the Government on your behalf.

https://consult.education.gov.uk/pshe/relationships-education-rse-health-education/

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Response: Government Consultation - Relationships education, relationships and sex education, and health education in England

Q 10. Do you agree that the content of Relationships Education in paragraphs 50-57 of the guidance is age-appropriate for primary school pupils?

Disagree

  • It is not clear that there is a shared understanding of “family relationships”, “friendships” and “relationships with other peers and adults”. The ambiguity inherent in these concepts could easily run counter to particular parental ideas about these kinds of relationships.
  • For example, the guidance states that by the end of primary school pupils should know that “marriage/civil partnership represents a formal and legally recognised commitment of two people to each other which is intended to be lifelong.”
  • Once again, this may or may not be age appropriate not least because marriage and civil partnerships are put on the same level. Additionally, there is no shared understanding of the meaning and importance of marriage. For example, many people continue to believe that marriage exists only between one man and one woman, must be open to children, must be freely engaged in and must last until one of the spouses die.
  • So the legal definition of marriage that children are, according to the guidance, supposed to know, is potentially considerably at odds with many people’s understanding of marriage and consequently the understanding of marriage that they wish to be passed on to their own children.
  • It is therefore, not age appropriate.

Q 11. Do you agree that the content of Relationships Education as set out in paragraphs 50-57 of the guidance will provide primary school pupils with sufficient knowledge to help them have positive relationships?

Disagree

  • As the content laid out is highly ambiguous, it should be made clear that in the course of teaching children to have positive relationships, LGBT ideology and transgender ideology should not be introduced at all to primary school pupils.
  • Any discussion of such issues should be left to parents particularly during primary schools years.

Q 12. Do you agree that paragraphs 61-64 clearly set out the requirements on primary schools who choose to teach sex education?

Disagree

  • It is unclear just where the distinction lies between sex education and relationships education and therefore it is unclear from which lessons parents are permitted to withdraw their children.
  • It is welcome that sex education is not compulsory at primary schools. This guidance would be improved by making it a requirement that schools notify parents of what they propose to teach in RSE in their child’s year group and parents should be given the opportunity to view the materials.

Q13. Do you agree that the content of RSE in paragraphs 65-77 of the guidance is age-appropriate for secondary school pupils?

Disagree

  • Whether or not the content is age appropriate depends on the beliefs and traditions of the parents. A point the document seems to entirely ignore.
  • This section, as does the rest of the document, assumes a particular vision of sex and marriage at odds with those of many people. For example, it remains the case that many people continue to believe that sex belongs within the confines of marriage (understood as the union of one man and one woman, open to the gift of children, freely chosen and for life) and that any deviation from that is not what they want taught to their children.

Q14. Do you agree that the content of RSE as set out in paragraphs 65-77 of the guidance will provide secondary school pupils with sufficient knowledge to help them have positive relationships?

Disagree

  • As above, the document presupposes a view of sex and marriage which is incompatible with that of many people.
  • The guidance presents abortion as one option among others. Such a view is not only immoral but also desperately sad and not something that many parents would wish their children to be taught at school.
  • “Pupils should be taught the facts and the law about sex, sexuality, sexual health and gender identity in an age-appropriate and inclusive way.” There is no agreement about the facts in relation to gender-identity because the matter is mostly ideological. Beyond discussion of gender dysphoria as a psychiatric issue as found in the DSM V, this contentious ideologically driven idea has no place in the classroom.

Q15. Do you agree that paragraphs 36-46 on the right to withdraw provide sufficient clarity and advice to schools in order for them to meet the legal requirements?

Disagree

  • It is appalling that the state has the gall to remove the right of parents to withdraw their own children from these classes.
  • Furthermore, as mentioned, there is no clear distinction between sex education and relationships education, so it is not clear which classes parents can remove their children from.

Q 20. Do you agree with the approach outlined in paragraphs 36-46 on how schools should engage with parents on the subjects?

Disagree

  • The removal of the right to withdraw is an unjust infringement on the rights of parents to raise their own children in accordance with their own beliefs and traditions.
  • Although the document states that the school should respect the parents’ request, it is the head teacher who in fact has the final say. Authority therefore is being taken away from the parents and given to the school.

Q 29. We are required to set out in the regulations the circumstances in which a pupil (or a pupil below a specified age) is to be excused from receiving RSE or specified elements of it. The draft regulations provide that parents have a right to request that their child be withdrawn from sex education in RSE and that this request should be granted unless, or to the extent that the headteacher considers that it should not be.

Taking into account the advice to schools on how headteachers should take this decision, in paragraphs 41-46 of the guidance, do you agree that this is an appropriate and workable option?

Disagree

  • The circumstances and extent to which a head teacher can refuse a parental request to withdraw their child is completely undefined in the regulations and is apparently left entirely up to the discretion of each individual head teacher.
Sincerely,
[Your Name]

Response: Government Consultation - Relationships education, relationships and sex education, and health education in England

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