Call to shrink parental choice over sex lessons

A parent’s right to decide whether their child is ready for sex education should be given to schools instead, a parliamentary committee says.

Parliament’s Joint Committee on Human Rights has been examining the Children, Schools and Families Bill, which contains the Government’s radical plans on sex education.

Apart from the basic biology of reproduction, parents may currently choose which sex education lessons their child attends, if any.

The Government wants parents to lose that right when their child reaches the age of 15, but the committee says the plan doesn’t go far enough.

It says schools should be allowed to overrule parents and decide whether a child is mature enough for sex education.

The committee suggests that the Bill should be amended so that parents can be overruled if “the school is satisfied that the pupil is of sufficient maturity and understanding to make his own decision on the matter.”

The suggestion will outrage family groups who already think the Government’s sex education plans are a radical snub to parental authority.

The Government wants to centralise control of sex education in Whitehall, taking control away from school governors and making it much more difficult for parents to raise concerns.

It also wants to make sex education mandatory in all state schools, including primary schools, and wants the curriculum to be decided by officials in London.

Under the plans, children will be taught that cohabitation and homosexual civil partnerships should be valued on a par with marriage.

When the Government held a public consultation on its plans, 68 per cent of respondents said they were opposed to making sex education part of the national curriculum. But the Government pressed ahead.