Abortion should be taught as an “essential element” of the secondary school curriculum, according to the UK’s largest education union.
The National Education Union (NEU) – a merger of the National Union of Teachers and the Association of Teachers and Lecturers – held a debate on the issue at its annual conference in Liverpool on Wednesday.
The NEU passed a motion to lobby the Government for this move – despite concerns being raised by some of the teachers in attendance.
Vincent Conyngham, a teacher from North Yorkshire, added: “This motion is an alignment with a particular liberal ideology that states that abortion should be available on demand, no questions asked.”
Trevor Cope, a teacher from Devon, said he could not support the motion as he did not feel comfortable expressing his own opinions in the classroom.
“I need to stay neutral. I need to teach the facts. I do not need a policy dictating what my opinions are.”
Some teachers who voted for the motion claimed that discussions with pupils were necessary as “inaccurate” information about abortion was being given by parents and pro-life groups.
Relationships and sex education
The Government recently concluded a “call for evidence” on the new Relationships and Sex Education subject for secondary schools. A full consultation will follow.
Critics have raised concerns that the plans would promote “explicit materials” that children “are far too young to understand”.