New Education Secretary under Pressure To Make Sex Education Compulsory – We Need an Alternative Solution
As the UK’s new Secretary of State for Education, Justine Greening is under increasing pressure to make Sex and Relationships Education (SRE) a statutory requirement in all secondary schools.
At the moment, human reproduction and information about sexually transmitted infections is required in secondary schools and academies and free schools have further discretion about what they can teach.
While Ms Greening’s predecessor, Nicky Morgan, and our former Prime Minister, David Cameron, had ruled out the possibility of making SRE compulsory, Ms Greening herself and Theresa May are apparently considering it as an option.
At the beginning of September, Parliament’s Women and Equality Commission released a report which recommends “… that PSHE [Personal, Social, Health and Economic education] and SRE are made statutory subjects as part of the new Education Bill.”
The report cites a reduction in sexual harassment and sexual violence as reasons for introducing compulsory SRE. Some peers in the House of Lords have also called for compulsory SRE in an effort to tackle a rise in HIV levels.
While the elimination of sexual harassment and sexual violence, as well as reduction in the spread of STIs is to be commended, we should caution the Government against making SRE compulsory.
SRE cannot be value neutral and, if this important parental task is taken over by the state, the state will be imparting a particular moral view about the nature and importance of sex (and marriage) to our nation’s children. Many parents will not share the moral view imparted by compulsory SRE, parents who, for example, want their child to learn that sex should be reserved for marriage only.
Whether or not intended, the state will be engaging in a process of mass social engineering: a process of engineering our nation’s children to think about sex and relationships in a particular way which will be incompatible with the views of many parents from many different traditions. This is for the state to overstep its proper remit and fail to respect the teaching authority and conscience of parents.
Please sign this petition to Justine Greening asking,
1. that SRE not be made compulsory;
2. that alternative solutions to the problems mentioned are thoroughly investigated – solutions that do not involve the state usurping the authority of parents;
3. that parents are encouraged to educate their own children in matters related to sex and education and, if necessary, are provided with the tools to enable them to do so;
4. and that parents retain the right to remove their children from SRE if they choose.
To read the Women and Equality Commission's report in full: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201617/cmselect/cmwomeq/91/9108.htm#footnote-065
For more information: