Parents celebrate as explicit and error-strewn sex-ed policy ditched by Warwickshire Council ‘with immediate effect’ after legal threat
· All About Me materials contained explicit images as part of policy which failed to apply equality, human rights or education law correctly
· Schools put at risk of breaching their legal obligations
· Christian Institute had threatened legal proceedings against the Council
· Council has agreed to drop All About Me “with immediate effect”
In a dramatic climbdown, Warwickshire County Council has agreed to ditch its controversial All About Me programme from primary schools “with immediate effect”.
Lesson materials encouraged masturbation and included “gratuitously graphic” sexual images yet made no reference to marriage, contrary to national requirements and despite the lessons concerned not being classed as sex education. Horrified parents contacted The Christian Institute with their concerns.
The Institute notified the Council it would look to take legal action if it failed to address the “catalogue of errors” in the Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) policy which incorporated and promoted All About Me.
Among its false assertions were that gender identity “can be best understood as being a spectrum” and “transgender children have the right to use whichever toilet or changing room they feel most comfortable using”. It also encouraged schools not to inform parents if their children would be sharing overnight accommodation with pupils of the opposite sex while on residential trips, and to conceal a child’s transgender status from their own parents – contrary to parental rights protected under the Human Rights Act 1998.
A letter from the Institute’s lawyers in January called on the Council to “withdraw the Policy with immediate effect and contact all schools using the policy to make clear to them that their continued adoption of the policy could lead to them breaching their legal obligations”.
Council lawyers have now responded with the news that on 26 March the Council adopted recommendations stating:
“It is proposed that delivery of [All About Me] in primary schools would cease with immediate effect and a stakeholder engagement and communications plan would be included as part of an exit strategy for the closure of [All About Me] delivery.”
The Council will now point schools towards the Department for Education’s (DfE) national resources, which are still being developed. However, the DfE’s regulations for RSE require schools to ensure pupils learn the importance of marriage “for family life and the bringing up of children” and that “the education is appropriate having regard to the age and the religious background of the pupils.” Schools are also required to consult parents to “ensure that the policy meets the needs of pupils and parents and reflects the community they serve”
Local parents were quick to welcome the news:
“This is not before time” said one. “My wife and I were deeply troubled by the explicit nature of some of the All About Me materials – and the ideology underpinning them.
“We don’t want our children being taught about masturbation, explicit sexual content or experimental transgender ideas in school.
“For a long time, it felt like the council didn’t want to listen to the concerns of many reasonable parents; we’re glad and relieved that they have now withdrawn this programme.”
Others agreed. One said, “I’m delighted. These materials were never suitable for children. They always seemed to be more concerned with indoctrination than education.
“We’ll have to see what the Education Department come up with. Hopefully it will be a lot better than All About Me.”
The parents, whose children attend Warwickshire primary schools, asked to remain anonymous.
Warwickshire County Council also came under fire last October over its Respect Yourself website. The site included graphic descriptions of different sexual behaviours in a 47-page ‘sextionary’. Following complaints, the Council removed the site to conduct a review of the content. According to Council papers, the review is still in progress.
John Denning, Education Officer at The Christian Institute, said swift action was now needed to ensure parents are aware of the changes.
“Warwickshire’s climbdown will come as welcome news to hundreds of concerned parents.
“The highly explicit imagery and one-sided ideology of All About Me has no place in Primary Relationships Education.
“Schools are obviously facing a challenging time at the moment. But as soon as they can, they must consult with parents on a different approach to teaching RSE which complies with the law.
“As with other teaching in state schools, it must be balanced, objective and critical, not pushing particular controversial views such as transgender ideology.”
For media enquiries contact Alistair Thompson on 07970 162225 firstname.lastname@example.org or The Christian Institute’s Education Officer on 07539 382234
Notes to Editors:
A selection of Warwickshire County Council’s All About Me classroom materials, lesson plans and guidance are available at christian.org.uk/rse-in-warwickshire/
Read the letter from AI Law to Warwickshire County Council in full.
The Christian Institute is a non-denominational registered charity, which seeks to promote the Christian faith in the UK.
It was founded in 1991 by Christian church leaders and professionals and it currently campaigns on a range of issues including marriage and the family, child protection, pro-life concerns, drugs, religious liberty and education, as well as Christianity and the constitution.