Children would be taught how to say no to sex under a Conservative Government, David Cameron says.
Mr Cameron believes changes should be made to the school curriculum to include lessons about sexual consent, with an emphasis on “empowering” young people to say no to sex.
Under the current Labour Government the new Children, Schools and Families Bill would make sex and relationship education (SRE) compulsory in all schools.
The Bill would also remove the right for parents to take their children out of the sex education lessons from age 15.
In June a family charity urged parents to be “vigilant” about compulsory sex education lessons in primary schools.
The Family Education Trust produced a 52-page guide for parents, entitled Too Much Too Soon: The government’s plans for your child’s sex education.
Norman Wells, the author of the report, said that despite the increasing availability of sex education over the past three decades, problems such as teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections have simply got worse.
“Ignorance is not the problem”, he said, and suggested that the real culprit may be too much information.
One study, published in the British Medical Journal, found that 93 per cent of teenagers who became pregnant had seen a health professional in the previous year, and 71 per cent had discussed contraception.
The study concluded: “Teenagers who become pregnant have higher consultation rates than their age matched peers, and most of the difference is owing to consultation for contraception.”
In July a national columnist said handing out condoms and ever-increasing levels of sex education is like repeatedly giving someone a headache pill that doesn’t work.
“Still the pain continues, so you give them two more and then a specially strong one, refusing to accept the evidence in front of your eyes that the treatment is simply not working,” Yasmin Alibhai-Brown wrote.
“Yet that’s how the Government has responded to Britain’s shamefully high teen pregnancy rates – giving them even more sex education, at a younger and younger age.”
Last April the Archbishop of Wales said Government policy addresses the “mechanics” of teenage sex and pregnancy but fails to teach children about commitment.
Young people should be taught that “parenthood is an awesome responsibility that requires both love and self sacrifice from parents committed to the child and to one another”, Dr Barry Morgan said.