The Christian Institute is raising serious concerns about the Liberal Democrats’ plans to force schools to deliver lessons on sex and relationships to children as young as seven.
The Institute is warning that the groups who are lobbying for mandatory sex education in primary schools are recommending sexually explicit teaching resources that could be promoted if the subject is made compulsory.
Currently, local authority-run state secondary schools must offer sex and relationships education, but free schools, academies and primary schools are not required to do so.
However, under proposals to be included in the Liberal Democrat General Election manifesto, all schools would be forced to offer lessons on sex and relationships in Key Stage 2 – which includes children aged seven to eleven.
Liberal Democrat schools minister David Laws said his party have “long made the case” for updated sex and relationship education to be taught in all schools, including academies and free schools.
He said they believe it will help young people make informed choices in their personal lives.
But The Christian Institute warned that if sex education was compulsory in primary schools, more children would be exposed to unsuitable material which is recommended for use in schools by groups campaigning for mandatory sex and relationships lessons.
The Institute’s Director Colin Hart commented: “Under the Lib Dems’ dangerous plans, sex education would be centralised and power would be taken away from school governors. It would be put in the hands of groups that promote the use of resources which are wholly unsuitable for young children.
“Schools are already being recommended these resources, and if the Lib Dems get their way, our concern is that schools would be expected to use them.
“In a sex-saturated culture, schools should be one place where children are allowed to get on with life without facing pressure to deal with things they aren’t ready for.
“At a time when there is growing alarm at the sexualisation of childhood, using sexually explicit resources in schools can surely only make things much worse.
“Too often in this area, schools can undermine the positive values of the home and sideline parents.
“Groups that have a track record of promoting gratuitously explicit and inappropriate materials want to force these lessons on schools when there is simply no need, and in a way which does more harm than good.”
For example the Sex Education Forum, which campaigns for mandatory sex education in primary schools, suggests on its website that primary schools use a book which shows drawings of a variety of sexual positions. It includes the line: “Here are some ways mummies and daddies fit together.”
The group also recommends a controversial sex education video, produced by Channel 4, called “Living and Growing” which includes an animated sex scene. A Government minister previously told Channel 4 to edit out explicit scenes, and since then the DVD has been removed from the channel’s catalogue.
In 2011, The Christian Institute revealed the fact that some local councils were already recommending these and other inappropriate resources for use in schools.
A recent poll of 18-year-olds found that of those questioned more believed that sex education should begin at secondary school than at primary school.
Earlier this year, Peers rejected an amendment that would have made sex education compulsory across all state-funded primary schools in England. The House of Lords voted down Labour’s proposals by 209 to 142.