Sex between 13-year-olds is “natural, healthy and a part of growing up”, claims a sex education resource funded by the Department for Education.
The resource for teachers was created by pro-abortion sexual health charity Brook.
Since being raised at the Education Select Committee, there has been widespread criticism of the material, including from a pro-family group, a teenage pregnancy expert and Daily Mail columnist Amanda Platell.
The online resource, which is described as a “sexual behaviours traffic light tool”, informs teachers as to which sexual behaviours by children are “healthy”.
For 13 to 17-year-olds, acceptable behaviour is said to include “having sexual or non-sexual relationships” with people of the same or the opposite sex. This is despite the legal age of consent being 16.
Also condoned in the resource as “green behaviours”, meriting “positive feedback and additional information”, are an “interest in erotica/pornography” and “sexually explicit conversations with peers”.
The resource states that a pupil’s “concern about body image” is more alarming than having sex at the age of 13.
Writing for the Daily Mail, Amanda Platell said that the resource “robs parents of their moral authority”.
She said: “It is surely for a girl’s mother and father, not for their teachers or the Government, to decide what is appropriate sexual advice for a girl whose body is barely developed.
“Research consistently shows that sexual experiences at such a young age can lead to lifelong psychological scars.”
Platell’s comments were echoed by Sarah Carter, from pro-family group the Family Education Trust, who said that the resource is at odds with what parents want their children to be taught.
She reiterated that the legal age of consent is 16, irrespective of whether young people think they are ready or not.
Professor David Paton, an expert on teenage pregnancy rates, described the resource as “both misleading and potentially dangerous”.
He said: “There’s an awful lot of evidence that early sexual activity is associated with all sorts of adverse outcomes”, both physical and mental.
In August, The Christian Institute raised serious concerns about plans by the Liberal Democrats to force schools to deliver lessons on sex and relationships to children as young as seven.
The Institute’s Director Colin Hart said: “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.”