Schools block parents from seeing ‘harmful’ sex education materials

Posted: 24th January 2023

Source: The Telegraph

Schools are blocking parents from seeing sex education materials after the Government failed to fulfil a pledge to make the curriculum more transparent, campaigners have warned.

Some companies providing sex education materials in schools have obstructed parents from viewing materials, citing commercial confidentiality and copyright laws.

Conservative MPs and peers have urged the Department for Education to intervene, warning that relationship and sex education in schools is a “wild west”, with evidence that children are being exposed to “adult sexuality and adult ideology” that is “doing them harm”.

Baroness Barran, an education minister, told peers in the House of Lords last July that the Department for Education would write to schools in the autumn term “to set out a clear expectation that schools respond positively to any reasonable requests from parents to view curriculum materials.”

However, The Telegraph has learnt that no such letter has been sent.

Concern gender identity being taught ‘as a fact’

Bayswater, a support group for parents of trans-identified children and young people, said that schools are continuing to block parents from viewing sex education materials.

“Parents consistently report a link between PHSE [Personal, health social and economic] lessons and their children’s declaration of a trans identification,” a spokesperson said. “Schools tell us the lessons are impartial, but don’t show us the materials, leaving us concerned that gender identity is being taught as fact rather than a belief that some but not all people hold. If parents can see maths or science lessons, why is this area different?”

John Denning, the head of education at The Christian Institute, said: “Given the very concerning RSE materials that do exist, it seems inexplicable that the Department for Education has still not sent a letter to schools requiring this, six months after the minister committed to doing so.”

Miriam Cates, a Tory MP on the education select committee, warned last year that the relationships and safe education framework for schools “has opened the floodgates to a whole host of external providers who offer sex education materials to schools, and now children across the country are being exposed to a plethora of deeply inappropriate, wildly inaccurate, sexually explicit and damaging materials in the name of sex education.”

Provider threatens school with legal action

In correspondence seen by The Telegraph, Jigsaw Education, one sex education materials provider, warned a school that it may take legal action if the school discloses any of its materials or otherwise puts them in the public domain “by means of allowing formal inspection”.

Jan Lever, the chief executive of Jigsaw Education, said: “Jigsaw is happy for parents to see all the materials the school will use in its lessons but stipulates that this needs to be done in the school so a teacher can explain the rationale and the progression in learning and most importantly how the particular school intends to use and differentiate the generic Jigsaw Programme to suit the needs of their pupils.”

She said that Jigsaw’s lessons are “age-appropriate and cover all the requirements of the DfE relationships and health education, carefully including work to help safeguard children, for example ensuring they know how to keep themselves safe and how to ask for help if needed.”

A spokesperson for the Department for Education said: “Schools are legally required to engage with parents on the teaching of relationships, sex and health education.

“Parents should be aware of what their children are being taught, especially relating to the teaching of sensitive topics.

“We will write to all schools this term to emphasise this and to make it clear that if a parent requests to see teaching materials, copyright law does not prevent a school from sharing them with parents in person on the school premises.”

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