Schools watchdog to grade sex education

Ofsted wants to use the opinions of pupils to assess schools on their provision of sex and relationships education in a scheme which one commentator has described as “lunacy”.

The information would be used as one of several ‘indicators’ of how much the school contributes to the wellbeing of pupils. Others would include advice on drugs, alcohol and healthy eating.

Ofsted insists that inspectors would be given guidance emphasising that these indicators are not to be the basis for definitive judgements about a school, but will “provide useful evidence”.

However, teachers are concerned that the idea could lead inspectors to unfair conclusions.

Dr Mary Bousted, the General Secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, said: “Regrettably, the proposal is bedevilled by the Government’s obsession with data.

“We see grave dangers in the proposal for Ofsted inspections to take into account pupil and parent opinion surveys of how successfully a school is promoting pupil well-being, because perceptions are notoriously difficult to interpret.”

Commentator Melanie Phillips writes in her blog on The Spectator website: “Now we have arrived at a situation where not only are schools subjecting children to propaganda over how to live, arising from the often foolish or destructive fashions of the day, but are to be judged by the opinions of the five year-olds in their care.

“This in turn is part of the wider lunacy in which the British elite has turned fundamental values on their heads.”

Schools are not required to provide sex education beyond a statutory minimum, which includes basic biological facts about reproduction.

The Government’s own guidance says that a child’s parent is “the key person” to provide sex education.

However, a vocal sex education lobby is calling for more in-depth information to be made compulsory at both primary and secondary level.

One group, the FPA (formerly known as the Family Planning Association), is responsible for a new sex education ‘comic’ for six-year-olds called Let’s grow with Nisha and Joe.

The FPA is one of the contributors to a Government review of sex and relationships education in schools which is expected to report soon.

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