Parents and guardians should have the legal right to view sex education materials, scores of Conservative MPs have said.
More than 70 MPs are reported to have backed a proposal from party colleague Miriam Cates to force schools to share copies of text and images used in Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) lessons with pupils’ parents.
Mrs Cates’ Relationships and Sex Education (Transparency) Bill would also prohibit schools from using unpublished third-party teaching resources in the classroom.
In March, Education Secretary Gillian Keegan told headteachers that “parents should be able to view all curriculum materials”.
“This includes”, she continued, “cases where an external agency advises schools that their materials cannot be shared due to restrictions in commercial law”.
But in June, a tribunal ruled against a mother trying to require RSE materials shown in her daughter’s school to be made public, as the provider – The School of Sexuality Education – claimed doing so would compromise its “intellectual property”.
Referring to the case at the time, Mrs Cates explained that the tribunal had found “in favour of commercial interests” as Department for Education guidance “wasn’t statutory, but commercial interests are established in law”.
Under her Bill, schools in England would have to “ensure that parents of pupils have access to all teaching and curriculum materials” used in RSE, and failure to comply with the duty would entitle a parent to bring legal action.
Writing in The Daily Telegraph, Mrs Cates said: “In his speech to Tory party conference this month, the Prime Minister said: ‘It shouldn’t be controversial for parents to be able to know what their child is being taught’.
“The public agrees, with recent polling revealing that 71 per cent of people think parents should have the legal right to see sex education materials.”
Private Members’ Bills rarely become law, but with widespread support from party colleagues, Mrs Cates is calling for the Bill to be included in the King’s Speech in November.