Clare Page

The sex education scandal

  • From Spectator Life

This summer an independent panel of experts assembled by the Department for Education will assess the state of Relationships and Sex Education (RSE). And what a state it is.

Another lesson plan asks children to consider whether ‘virginity is made up by society’

Now compulsory for all secondary-school pupils, RSE is authorised by recklessly loose government guidance, delivered by an unregulated industry and influenced by radical gender studies academia. There are worrying cases of third-party sex education providers handing schools lesson plans on wildly age–inappropriate topics or pushing controversial ideas about gender. More worrying still, as I discovered first hand, concerned parents do not always have full access to what their children are being taught.   

My pursuit for greater transparency in schools started two years ago when my 15-year-old daughter recalled being told in an RSE lesson that we live in a ‘heteronormative’ world, which was said to be a bad thing, and that she should be ‘sex positive’ in her attitude to relationships. Her lesson had been designed and delivered by an RSE charity called School of Sexuality Education. The provider’s website suggested that ‘sex positivity’ means ‘stepping away from monogamy-based assumptions’ and ‘being accepting [of] practices that are considered to deviate from the norm’.  

‘Warning: this report contains details that some may find distressing.’

None of this matched the information I had been given by the school, which was that she would be taught the subject of ‘sexual consent’ within the context that RSE ‘is about the understanding of family life, stable and loving relationships, respect, love and care’ – to which I had given my consent. It was this discrepancy that led me to ask to see the actual resources but I was denied a copy because the provider wished to protect their intellectual property.  

In the end, I lost a landmark freedom of information case at the First-tier Tribunal court, where I had hoped to overturn a decision made by the Information Commissioner’s Office for non-disclosure.

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