The Government has been urged to allow faith schools to teach sex education in accordance with their religious ethos by councillors in a London borough.
Barnet Council unanimously backed a motion calling for tolerance to be shown to people of faith.
The Government has just concluded a “call for evidence” on the new primary school Relationships Education subject, and on secondary school Relationships and Sex Education. A full consultation will follow.
‘Tolerance and understanding’
Cllr Brian Gordon, who put forward the motion, said: “In the same way children should be taught not to harbour prejudice and hatred and violent desires towards others, tolerance and understanding has to be shown towards people’s religions and their values.
“It is wrong, and I would say counter-productive, for faith schools to be penalised or marked down for failure to teach particular aspects of sex and sexuality that are counter to their religious ethos.”
Councillors from across all parties backed the motion.
‘Different types of relationships’
A spokesman for the Department of Education said it was important that sex education is taught in all schools and added: “Our guidance will support schools in ensuring that teaching is appropriate to the age and religious background of pupils.”
Ciarán Kelly, Deputy Director of The Christian Institute, said: “It’s a welcome intervention, but the scope of Government proposals is not limited to faith schools or even to sex-ed. Relationships education will apply to all primary schools in England.
“Children as young as four will be taught about ‘different types of relationships’, which could include homosexuality, transsexualism and same-sex marriage. But the Government has said there will be no parental opt-out.”