Govt instructs schools to axe gender ideology from sex ed

Children are set to be protected from sex ed materials which promote radical trans ideology, under the Government’s long-awaited proposals to reform Relationships, Sex and Health Education (RSHE).

Last year, the Prime Minister ordered a review of the controversial subject in light of the “safeguarding scandal” of inappropriate materials being used in English schools.

Once finalised, schools will be required by law to have regard to the Department for Education’s updated guidance. It says gender identity is a “highly contested” subject which should not be taught, and teachers should not use materials claiming as fact that “gender is a spectrum”. If asked about the issue, they should teach the facts about “biological sex”.


Relationships Education in primary schools and RSE in secondary schools became compulsory in September 2020 in both state and fee-paying schools. All state schools are also required to deliver Health Education.

Under the proposals, which are subject to an eight-week consultation, primary school children will not be taught about puberty until at least the age of eight or given sex education before the following year. “Explicit” sexual acts will not be taught before 13 years old.

The guidance also emphasises that older pupils should know the law about the age of consent, that they should not be pressured into sex, that “many young people wait until they are older”, and that it is possible to enjoy romantic relationships without sex.

The proposals do say that these older pupils should be taught about contraceptives, as well as “choices in relation to pregnancy”. This would include abortion, though the guidance also mentions “keeping the baby” and “adoption”, and says all information should be “medically and legally accurate and impartial”.

Parental rights

The new guidance also makes clear that parents are “the first educators of their children, and schools should make sure parents are aware of what is being taught in RSHE”. It says schools “should, at minimum, provide parents with a representative sample of the resources that they plan to use”, adding that they should also “ensure that parents are able to view all curriculum materials used to teach RSHE on request”.

Schools continue to be required to consult parents when they develop or review their RSHE policy.

Parents will retain an automatic right of withdrawal from sex education in primary school, and headteachers can only refuse it “in exceptional circumstances” in secondary school, unless the child is 15 years of age and opts back in themselves.

While parents will not have any right of withdrawal from Relationships Education, the new guidance states that the subject “should not include topics which involve explaining different forms of sexual activity”. Lessons may include discussion of how to prevent sexual abuse, such as being careful online, “providing teachers do not describe the nature of any sexual activity involved”.


Writing in The Sun, Education Secretary Gillian Keegan said: “The Cass Review hammered home that progressive ideology must never be allowed to take precedence over the need to protect children from things that they are too young to understand.

“That is why the guidance we are publishing today will leave no room for doubt, making totally clear that teachers should not teach about the contested issue of gender identity. Teachers are there to teach children facts, not to push the agendas of campaign groups.”

Conservative MP Miriam Cates, who informed Rishi Sunak of the “extreme” sex education being taught in schools, welcomed the proposals.

She said: “No child should be led to believe that there are more than two genders or that people can change their gender – it is not only untrue but deeply confusing for children and a breach of the trust that parents place in children in school.”

Significant Progress

The Christian Institute’s Head of Education John Denning said the guidance was “a significant step forward”.

He said: “The introduction of relationships and health education in 2020 created confusion over what teaching parents could withdraw their children from. It opened the floodgates to radical, transgressive and harmful approaches in schools that were captured by activists.

“The Government has finally recognised the gravity of the situation and taken a significant step today to roll back the damage. This new guidance is now the subject of a public consultation and it is important that people concerned about these issues respond.

“When it comes into force, this guidance will require big changes in the culture of some schools. Ensuring this happens will be critical, and we need to see plans from the Government and Ofsted that make that clear how that will be done.”

‘Preferred pronouns’

Last year, the Department for Education published draft guidance on how schools should help gender-questioning children.

The guidance was largely welcomed as a key step towards ending the trans-affirming agenda pushed on schools in recent years by lobby groups such as Stonewall.

The document makes clear that: if a child wants to socially transition, schools should give “great weight” to parents’ views; schools must not allow pupils who say they are trans to use toilets and changing rooms of the opposite sex; in the vast majority of cases, teachers should use sex-based pronouns; and teachers and pupils should not be compelled to use a gender-confused child’s preferred pronouns.

The consultation on this guidance has now closed, and the Government is expected to publish the final version in the near future.

Also see:

Wales urged to investigate national capture by trans ideology in light of Cass report

Stormont backs compulsory ‘inclusive’ sex ed across the Province

Scot Govt pledges to ‘clarify’ sex ed guidance for schools

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