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Sex education

August 2011

Sex education

Parents and organisations representing Christians and Muslims held an emergency public meeting in Tower Hamlets over fears that primary schools are manipulating sex education classes.
    An open letter, sent from the Safe at School Campaign (SSC) and countersigned by three other groups, called on all state-maintained primary schools in Tower Hamlets not to show sexually explicit DVDs or deprive parents of their legal right to withdraw their children from the classes.
    The DVDs are being shown in statutory science lessons, meaning parents are not allowed to withdraw their children; they are allowed to take their children out of specific sex and relationships education (SRE) lessons.
    Antonia Tully of the SSC said, ‘Parents from around the country have expressed their concerns to us about the Channel 4 resource All about us: living and growing’.
    The DVDs promote an interest in the sex organs to five to seven-year olds. Unit two teaches children aged 7-9 years old exactly how sexual intercourse is performed. It promotes exploration of male and female sex organs.
    Unit three, Let’s talk about sex, aims at normalising sex as a topic of conversation for 9-11 year old children. But, the letter said, children at this age should be warned against adults (or other children) who want to talk about sexual matters with them.
    Antonia Tully said, ‘By the time children are 11 they have been taught how to perform sexual intercourse and their in-built, protective reserve towards sexual issues has been broken down.
    ‘Parents report a range of ways in which their children have been distressed by this material. The most frequently reported behaviour change is children imitating sexual intercourse and touching their genital organs to get the “nice feeling” they have been told about in class’.
    The letter added, ‘We call upon head teachers and governing bodies to: consult with parents on the SRE policy and the content of SRE within the school; take steps to secure that if sex education is given to any pupils, it is given in a way to encourage pupils to behave in a moral way, and to uphold marriage and family values; and uphold parents as the primary educators of their children in matters of sex and relationships’.

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