Primary school children should have compulsory sex education, including teaching on “LGBT equality”, a group of campaigners has said.
Writing to the Guardian, a coalition of organisations which back the proposals said: “Teaching must be pro-active in promoting gender and LGBT equality, and relationships education should count for at least half of that teaching.”
However, at the beginning of this year the House of Lords rejected an attempt to make sex education compulsory for primary school children.
At the time Conservative Peer Baroness Knight commented that “what concerns me is that there seems to be no understanding that there is a time in a child’s life when it is not a very good idea to talk about sex”.
The new campaign, called Sex and Relationships Education: It’s my right, urges political parties to commit to making the subject mandatory.
In its letter to the Guardian, the campaigners said that statutory sex and relationships education “must apply to all schools, including primary schools and academies, and pupils must be guaranteed to learn medically correct facts about their bodies”.
Among the signatories to the letter are members of the Sex Education Forum, the Chief Executive of the PSHE Association and Luke Tryl – Stonewall’s Head of Education.
A Department for Education spokesman said: “Sex and relationship education is compulsory in maintained secondary schools and it remains for primary schools to decide whether they want to teach it.”
In April a parent at a school in Scotland said that children were being taught about sex when “they’ve only just learnt to write their own names”.
She was responding to Ladybank Primary School near Cupar, Fife, which was teaching children as young as six about sexual organs.
The unnamed parent explained: “We all went down to the school after we got the timetables because we couldn’t believe what they want to teach our kids. It’s jaw-dropping.”
“Kids are curious and they’re basically telling them how to do grown up stuff at a ridiculously young age”, she added.