Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Compulsory sex education falls victim to parliamentary wash-up

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The process of parliamentary "wash-up", in which uncontroversial bills are rushed into law in the week before Parliament is dissolved for a General Election, has led to the removal of some important aspects of the government's Children, Schools and Families Bill, which is among the bills passing through this week. The Bill will no longer ensure that all state-funded schools have to provide pupils with Sex and Relationships Education (SRE), or provide for the inclusion of evolution on the primary science curriculum.

The British Humanist Association had lobbied hard for the inclusion of these aspects, and its Chief Executive Andrew Copson has expressed his dismay at their removal. On sex education, he said:
"Good SRE is known to reduce unwanted pregnancies and the spread of sexually transmitted infections, as well as equip young people with the language and tools to be clear about personal boundaries, understand appropriate and inappropriate behaviour and know who to talk to when they need help. For older children it helps them resist pressure, make safe choices and challenge misleading and inappropriate messages about sex in the media. It makes a hugely significant contribution to young people’s health and well-being. There was massive support for its implementation from health professionals, teachers, parents and young people themselves. The loss of these subjects as core parts of the curriculum is catastrophic."
Writing on his own website, the Schools Secretary Ed Balls has published an open letter to the Conservatives' Shadow Schools Secretary Michael Gove, who he blames for standing in the way of compulsory SRE, evolution in primary schools, and other aspects of the bill.


LongSteve said...

I need to learn more about politics! How is it that the party we voted in can blame the opposition for it's own failure to implement sane and rational policies?

Eiskrystal said...

Yes I do wonder what the point of voting is when apparently the conservatives are all powerful. Who knew we had a one party system instead of the oh so massively better two.

From the voting turnout last year i'm clearly not the only one.

Brett Hetherington said...

For an amusing photo of the "Holy week" parade in Barcelona last week, see my blog at: