Charity warns over sex education plans

A family charity has published a new report urging parents to be “vigilant” about new plans to introduce compulsory sex education lessons beginning at primary school.

The Family Education Trust has produced a new 52-page guide for parents, entitled Too Much Too Soon: The government’s plans for your child’s sex education.

According to the report, one group heavily involved in the plans has previously described a book covering topics such as bestiality as “a testament to what good literature on sex education should be”.

Groups like the FPA (formerly the Family Planning Association) believe children’s understanding of sex should go beyond their “parents’ limited vision”, the report says.

The Government has bowed to calls from these groups to make sex education compulsory.

The sex education lobby blames “patchy” sex education delivered “too late” for high rates of teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.

But Norman Wells, the author of the new report, says there is little research evaluating the outcomes of sex education programmes.

Despite the increasing availability of sex education over the past three decades, he says, these problems have simply got worse.

“Ignorance is not the problem”, he says, and suggests that the real culprit may be too much information.

He cites one study, published in the British Medical Journal, which 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.”

Mr Wells also points out the failure of the Government to seek the views of parents before it made the decision to bring in compulsory lessons on sex.

“In fact”, he says, “the government was intending not to consult on raising the status of PSHE at all.

“It was only after pressure from Family Education Trust that it finally agreed to ask parents and other members of the general public whether they supported its intention.”

Mr Wells says Too Much, Too Soon aims to “show that behind plausible-sounding arguments and innocuous-sounding words there is a specific agenda at work to undermine the role of parents and to tear down traditional moral standards”.

He warns: “Sex education is an ideological battlefield on which a war is being waged for the hearts and minds of our children.

“It is a fast-moving scene. The need for parents to be alert and vigilant has never been greater.”

The Government is currently running a consultation on its proposals for statutory sex education.