Welsh Govt could follow England in scrapping parents’ sex ed right to withdraw

The right of parents to withdraw children from Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) could be scrapped under new plans from the Welsh Government.

Currently sex education must be taught in secondary schools, but is optional at primary level. Under the new curriculum it will be expanded to children of all ages.

Education Minister Kirsty Williams said the Government is considering if it is “still appropriate” for parents to have right of withdrawal.


A Welsh Government consultation asking about the right of withdrawal closed earlier this week. A further consultation on Relationship and Sexuality Education guidelines will close on Monday.

A consultation for England found large-scale opposition to very similar plans.

Proposals for both primary and secondary schools were branded ‘inappropriate’ by around 60 per cent of respondents.

Removing the right of withdrawal for parents also proved to be highly unpopular.


Williams argued that parents don’t have the right to withdraw their children from maths and science, explaining “it’s about checking in to see if these rights are still appropriate as we move forward with our curriculum reform”.

The new guidance states that children must recognise the importance of “diversity and difference across a range of identities related to relationships, sex, gender, sexuality”.

Schools would also be legally obliged to teach RSE in a way that is “inclusive of LGBTQI+ learners”.

Williams said: “We will do this sensitively and we will be listening to views and we’re not charging ahead in a gung-ho fashion because we realise these are complex but highly important issues”.

Parent power

Schools in Birmingham have dropped courses promoting LGBT issues following opposition from parents.

The courses are backed by Ofsted, who told the parents “you can’t always get what you want”.

Parnets from at least seven primary schools in Greater Manchester have also contacted school management about proposed LGBT lessons.

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