Imposing lessons about sex on kids as young as five is an attempt to wrest responsibility for bringing up children from parents, according to hundreds of head teachers and faith leaders.
Over 2,000 people have signed a letter to The Sunday Telegraph calling on Parliament to “decisively” oppose Government plans contained in the Children, Schools and Families Bill.
Colin Hart, Director of The Christian Institute, was among the signatories of the letter.
The letter said that the primary responsibility for raising children lies with parents and guardians.
It made clear that while schools may be entrusted with the formal education of children, the “overall responsibility” remains with parents and guardians.
The letter continued: “The Children, Schools and Families Bill undermines this principle and seeks to impose a particular ideology by means of statutory sex and relationships education from the age of five”.
It concluded: “A state which seeks to centralise responsibilities which are properly fulfilled by families is acting in an unjust manner and undermines the basis of a free society.”
The Children, Schools and Families Bill lays out plans to force all publicly-funded schools from primary level upwards to teach sex and relationship education (SRE).
Faith schools will also be forced to teach children about homosexuality and tell kids how to access contraception.
And schools will be encouraged to teach children that same-sex civil partnerships are of equal value to marriage.
Parents will lose the right to withdraw their child from SRE when their child reaches the age of 15.
One of the lead signatories of the letter was Norman Wells, who is Director of the Family Education Trust, a pro-family group.
Mr Wells said: “The Bill is music to the ears of those who have long campaigned for compulsory sex education to advance their agenda to break down traditional moral standards, redefine the family, promote relativism, celebrate homosexuality, and encourage sexual experimentation.”
He commented: “There is widespread disquiet among head teachers, school governors and faith leaders about moves to reduce the influence of parents over what is taught in such a sensitive area.”
A Government public consultation on SRE last year found that nearly 80 per cent of respondents believed parents should retain the right to withdraw their children from SRE at any age.
The same report found that almost 70 per cent of respondents believed Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education, which includes SRE, should not be made compulsory under the curriculum.
But the Government commissioned another poll in October in which 81 per cent of parents responding thought that every child should attend the new sex education lessons.
The Christian Institute’s Mike Judge said at the time: “The Government was unhappy with the results of their consultation so they simply devised a new poll to get the answers they were looking for.”
SIR – Parents and guardians have the primary responsibility for bringing up their children in accordance with their own values and culture.
They may entrust the task of formal education to a school of their choice, but the overall responsibility for the upbringing of their children remains theirs.
The Children, Schools and Families Bill undermines this principle and seeks to impose a particular ideology by means of statutory sex and relationships education from the age of five (which primary schools do not currently have to teach). We would therefore urge Parliament decisively to oppose it.
A state which seeks to centralise responsibilities which are properly fulfilled by families is acting in an unjust manner and undermines the basis of a free society.
Norman WellsDirector, Family Education Trust
and over 2,000 other signatories.