Sex education which is “fully inclusive of all genders and sexualities”, and covers schoolchildren from the age of five, has been announced by the Welsh Government.
Re-branded as “Relationships and Sexuality Education” (RSE), the subject will be embedded within the curriculum – although the parental right of withdrawal is set to remain.
John Denning, The Christian Institute’s Education Officer, warned of an inappropriate focus on labels as he urged parents to talk to teachers about their children’s education.
‘Inalienable right to be happy’
As she announced the change, Wales’ Education Secretary Kirsty Williams said “relationships, rights and respect” will be a key feature of the subject.
Williams added, “we will also ensure that RSE is fully inclusive of all genders and sexualities” and that it caters for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) students.
“I want all our learners to know that they have an inalienable right to be happy – this is the driving force behind the changes we’re proposing”, she concluded.
Right to withdraw
In explanatory notes, the Welsh Government stated there are “no plans” to stop parents withdrawing their children from the lessons.
It also said that schools with a religious character will continue to be allowed to teach the subject in a way “that is consistent with their ethos”.
Parents know best what is age-appropriate for their own children.
RSE, which will be introduced in 2022 as part of a new curriculum, “must be appropriate” for children’s “age and developmental stage”, the Government said.
Parents know best
John Denning responded to the new subject by highlighting the role of parents.
“Parents know best what is age-appropriate for their own children and many won’t agree with the view of the Welsh Government.
“Children need to be taught to respect each other because they share a common humanity. But this respect will be fractured by the obsessive focus on labels that underpins this LGBTQ+ education.
“I would urge parents to be alert to what their schools are teaching and make their concerns known.”
Plans in England
In England, the Government held a call for evidence on plans for ‘Relationships Education’, to be taught as a statutory subject in primary schools across England.
It will mean teaching young children about “different types of relationships”, which could include homosexuality, transsexualism and same-sex marriage.
Ministers plan to deny parents the right to withdraw their children from the classes.