Primary school children aged as young as four should be forced to undergo sex education regardless of parents’ wishes, a group of MPs has said.
A cross-party group of ten MPs has written a letter to The Daily Telegraph calling for sex lessons to be made compulsory in primary and secondary schools.
At present, the law requires that schools teach the biological facts about sex in science lessons to secondary school pupils.
Anything more than this is not currently compulsory. While many schools choose to offer extra sex education programmes, parents can ask for their children not to be included.
Despite the widespread use of such programmes – and some critics say because of them – levels of sexually transmitted infections have risen sharply amongst teenagers.
The number of teenage abortions has also increased and the reduction in teenage pregnancies looks set to fall short of Government targets.
However, the group of ten MPs says the answer is more sex education. They have called on the Government to make sex education compulsory, even for primary school children.
In February the Government launched a review of sex education. The UK Youth Parliament was asked to play a leading role in the review. It supports removing a parent’s right to withdraw their child from sex lessons.
According to press reports in June, Ministers have repeatedly hinted that the proposal will be adopted. But the Department for Children, Schools and Families has said it has “no current plans” to make sex lessons compulsory.
The signatories of the letter are:Chris Bryant MP (Lab)John Bercow MP (Con)Doug Naysmith MP (Lab)Martin Salter MP (Lab)Clive Efford MP (Lab)Sandra Gidley MP (Lib Dem)Robert Key MP (Con)Martyn Jones MP (Lab)Julie Morgan MP (Lab)Evan Harris MP (Lib Dem)
And:Gill Frances, Chair of the Teenage Pregnancy Independent Advisory GroupAndy Hamflett, Chief Executive of the UK Youth Parliament