Rishi Sunak has announced that a government review of relationship and sex education (RSE) in schools is going to be fast-tracked. His action follows a campaign by Christian MP, Miriam Cates, a former teacher, which was supported by 50 Conservative MPs.
She says school children are subjected to relationship and sex education that is “age inappropriate, extreme, sexualising and inaccurate”.
The prime minister says he has now asked the Department for Education to review the materials used in schools. He wants to “ensure” they do not contain “inappropriate or contested” lessons, which are now compulsory for all children.
Charlie Colchester of the campaign group Let Kids be Kids has been behind legal challenges to the RSE materials. Speaking to Premier Christian News, he welcomed Rishi Sunak’s intervention.
“As a father and a parent himself, he doesn’t consider that what’s going on at the moment to be appropriate and I wonder whether his two girls are being subjected to some of this material, which I would have thought like most parents, he’ll find very objectionable. And quite rightly, he’s using his position to say this needs to change.”
In the letter sent to Sunak, the MPs warned about the risks to children of being exposed to graphic content and suggestions. It said children are “being taught about extreme and dangerous sex acts, (and) encouraged to share intimate details about sexual desires with classmates and teachers”.
“We have been appalled, absolutely appalled,” added Colchester, “some of the material that’s in there is quite frankly, outrageous.”
Children’s Commissioner Dame Rachel de Souza told Premier: “There is no doubt that the duty to protect children from harmful or inappropriate content both online and offline is of paramount importance – but it is just as important that they are given the knowledge and skills they need to navigate the world around them and make sensible, informed judgements.”