The Department of Education is currently conducting a review of PSHE (Personal, Social, Health and Economic) Education. The closing date is Wednesday 30th November. Please make response to the questionnaire online here.
Although PSHE Education includes a wide variety of topics the main area of concern is sex and relationships education. This is particularly relevant for Primary Schools where many of the topics are taught in an ‘age-appropriate’ way.
The following points are key. Please endeavour to include these in your responses:
- Education should include moral as well as intellectual training and development, especially in the case of PSHE education. There is no such thing as ‘value-free’ teaching and this approach should be abandoned, especially with regard to sex and relationships.
- Expecting children to make “informed choice” about sex without giving them any moral framework for doing so is unfair.
- Sex and Relationships Education (SRE) teaching should include the full facts. In particular, the health and other benefits of marriage, abstinence and faithfulness should be clearly presented. The health risks for mother and baby of teenage pregnancy, the dangers of abortion and the failure of condoms to protect adequately against a number of sexually transmitted diseases should also be clearly defined.
- Medical evidence showing the benefits of marriage and the harm which results from many so-called alternative sexual practices should not continue to be ignored in SRE teaching. Abstinence and faithfulness should be presented as commendable choices.
- The welfare of children should be paramount. Parents’ views should therefore count for most, not those of lobby groups or self-styled experts. There should be greater parental choice and input with regards to the teaching of PHSE.
- Parents are the best judges of whether a child is at a suitable stage in its psychological, biological and emotional development for a particular level of SRE teaching. Parents should therefore continue to have the right to remove their children from SRE classes.
- Experience in the Netherlands is often cited in support of the propositions (a) that better sexual health outcomes and a lowering of teenage pregnancy rates will result solely from a more open and positive approach to SRE and (b) that sexuality education will in and of itself lead to later and more responsible sexual behaviour. Evidence does not in fact support such conclusions from the Dutch experience. The two key factors are (i) strong family units, (ii) a strong sense of purpose and goals for life.
- There should be no teaching of SRE in primary schools. Children experience a latency period between about six and ten years of age during which they are naturally reluctant to become involved in sexual matters. These instincts exist for their protection. They should not be forced to deal with such things before nature intended.
- PSHE education cannot influence children for good in isolation. If Government is serious about addressing teenage pregnancy and the epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases it must take measures to remove the excessive sexual content of advertising and the media in general with a review of the messages being broadcast to children and young people.
Do not be concerned if you feel unable to answer all the questions. It is more important to state your specific concerns. Do encourage others to complete this online response also.