Children at risk! Block safeguarding loopholes in RSE
Since the new Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) Regulations were introduced in June 2019, safeguarding issues have come to light that have provoked serious parental concern – in some places leading to demonstrations and protests outside schools. As a matter of urgency and for the wellbeing and safety of children, we urge the Secretary of State for Education to address the issues below.
1. The danger of suggesting to children at a highly sensitive and suggestible stage of development, when they are still exploring who and what they are, that they might have been born in the wrong body. Such teaching exposes children to harm, and has without doubt led to the massive 2,500% increase in referrals for children identifying with gender dysphoria (www.channel4.com/news/factcheck/factcheck-qa-how-many-children-are-going-to-gender-identity-clinics-in-the-uk; jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2768726 ).
2. The danger to a child’s physical and mental health arising from encouraging them to ‘experiment’ before deciding on their sexual orientation. This is encouraging promiscuity and has reportedly led to over 16% of teenagers now identifying as bisexual, up from just 2% in 2015 (www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/07/03/young-people-far-likely-consider-bisexual-gay-new-data-reveals/ ).
3. The danger of prematurely sexualising children by teaching them from age 6 about ‘self-stimulation’ (www.conservativewoman.co.uk/what-every-parent-should-know-about-these-sinister-sex-lessons/ ), combined with the suggestion that any kind of sexual activity is fine, provided only that they feel ready. Such teaching has without doubt contributed to the epidemic level rate of STIs amongst teenagers and young people over the last decade (www.gov.uk/government/news/an-sti-is-diagnosed-in-a-young-person-every-4-minutes-in-england).
4. The danger of giving children detailed information on the performance of unconventional sexual practices, such as anal sex, felching, fisting etc, implying that such practices are ‘normal’, with no health risk, and exactly the same as conventional sexual behaviour. This teaching is misleading. Unconventional sexual practices have, in recent years, directly contributed to an increase in STIs, as well as to an increased incidence in anal and oral cancers (www.nature.com/articles/s41416-018-0273-9 ). To be kept safe, children need to be taught the risks attaching to such behaviours.
Such teaching not only makes children vulnerable to harm, but - since it promotes and normalises behaviours prohibited by the world’s major religions – it violates UK law giving parents the right to have children educated in line with their religious and/or philosophical beliefs (Protocol 1, Art 2 of the Human Rights Act 1998 www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1998/42/schedule/1 ). By prioritising sex and sexual orientation over respect for religious belief, it also breaches Equality law, which makes it an offence to discriminate against anyone on the basis of: age, disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief (emphasis added), sex, and sexual orientation (www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/equality-act/protected-characteristics#age ).
We therefore call for the immediate reinstatement of the parental right of withdrawal from all such teaching; that it become a mandatory requirement that the views of parents be sought and then respected; and that the Regulations reflect all such views and uphold parental rights.