Relationships (and sex) education and health education

A widely circulated post card is prompting to write to the education secretary asking him to give parents the legal right to withdraw their children from Relationships Education.

From September 2020  schools are required to teach relationships education at primary school, relationships and sex education (RSE) at secondary school and health education (of which puberty education is a key component) at all state-funded schools.

Although sex education in primary schools will not be compulsory, the DfE (Department for Education) continues to recommend that primary schools have a suitable sex education programme. All maintained schools will be expected to continue teaching reproduction as part of the National Curriculum: Science.

Relationships Education in primary schools should teach the fundamental building blocks needed for positive and safe relationships of all kinds, including characteristics of positive relationships, with particular reference to friendships, family relationships, and relationships with other peers and adults.

At secondary school, teachers will build on the foundation of relationships education in primary and, at the appropriate time, extend teaching to include intimate relationships as well.

The DfE guidelines include topics like mental wellbeing, consent, keeping safe online, physical health and fitness and LGBT  (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) issues which could cover LGBT-inclusive relationships, LGBT people are part of everyday life and so on.

Parents will not be allowed to withdraw their children from Relationships Education or Health Education.

While children should learn about relationships as well as the emotional, social and physical aspects of growing up, human sexuality and sexual health in an age-appropriate way, the language of discourse and the aspect of morality that are expected by parents, can’t be ignored.

From what I know and understand, Muslim parents’ main concern is about the teaching of the LGBT relationships in the school and not having the option to withdraw their children from such teaching. I don’t sense any hostility or discriminatory approach towards LGBT people but only that the parents don’t approve and therefore can’t promote such relationships.

Secondary school sex education seems to have some flexibility as the education secretary has said, “I have decided to give parents the right to request their child be withdrawn from some or all of sex education delivered as part of statutory RSE. Headteachers will make a decision with the support of the statutory guidance, which sets out that unless there are exceptional circumstances, the parents’ request should be granted until three terms before the pupil turns 16”.

It is unbelievable that  the ‘Muslim’ organisations, politicians and academics who have no hesitation to ride on Muslim back for gains and who watered down Muslim experiences to ‘islamophobia’ and its discredited definition to bail out institutions under pressure to tackle anti-Muslim attitudes, are silent about the Muslim parents struggle to seek legal rights to withdraw their children from the Relationships Education teaching, particularly the teaching of the LGBT relationships. Protest.

Perhaps it is too much for most public representatives to make politically unpopular decisions regarding the LGBT matters, since no political party can afford to lose LGBT votes and they can’t confront their political parties for obvious reasons. Anyone wishing to write to them can use the link here – writing this way is far more effective.

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