CatholicVote| May 21, 2024
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An updated draft guidance released by the UK secretary of state for education says sex education is out for children under nine years of age and those older than nine will find that “biological sex” is the foundation of the program rather than a narrative that claims gender is on a spectrum.

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan told BBC the new guidance for Relationships, Sex and Health Education (RHSE) was drafted not only because of requests from teachers for “more clarity” on what is appropriate to teach in sex ed, but also due to reports of materials promoted by LGBTQ activist groups being used for instruction in classrooms.

“[T]hings like choosing lots of different genders and identities and saying which ones of these are gender identities – the spectrum,” Keegan said. “The sort of, ‘it can be a spectrum, it’s fluid, you can have different genders on different days’ or ‘there’s 72 of them’. That kind of thing.”

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak ordered a review of sex and relationship education policies “after Tory MPs [Ministers of Parliament] produced evidence that ‘age-inappropriate, extreme, sexualizing and inaccurate’ content was being taught to young children across Britain,’” the Daily Mail reported Thursday.

Sunak’s order for a review of curriculum came “after more than 50 Conservative MPs told him ‘children are being indoctrinated with radical and unevidenced ideologies about sex and gender,’” the report continued.

One Tory MP, Miriam Cates, told Sunak that children were exposed to “graphic lessons in… what passes for relationships and sex education in British schools,” including material on oral sex, violent practices and claims that people can belong to any of a bewildering 72 different genders.”

“[R]esources from unregulated organisations that are actively campaigning to undermine parents” are often used in classroom lessons, Cates added.

In addition to making the guidance statutory, meaning schools are required to comply with it by law, the draft emphasizes parental rights – and in particular the rights of parents to review curriculum materials and to request that their children be excused from sex education.

In October, Keegan sent a letter to schools demanding they share sex education materials with parents, reported the Daily Mail:

No ifs, no buts and no more excuses. This government is acting to guarantee parents’ fundamental right to know what their children are being taught in sex and relationship education. I’m writing to schools and parents to debunk the copyright myth that parents cannot see what their children are being taught. Parents must be empowered to ask and schools should have the confidence to share.

In addition to sex and relationships, the proposed guidance will also address other health areas for older children, such as gambling, vaping, and criminal behavior.

In the foreword of the proposed new guidance, Keegan wrote the draft reflects that “the world in which children are growing up has become increasingly complex, both online and in the day-to-day, and that is having a profound effect on their lives, including how they build relationships.”

The secretary noted the government has therefore “put in place safeguards to keep children safe in an increasingly complex world, especially after reports of pupils being taught inappropriate content in schools.”

Children, she said, must receive “the right information at the right time, so that they know about the risks and how to avoid them, but also making sure that they are not exposed to too much too soon, taking away the innocence of childhood.”

The draft itself states schools should have a policy for teaching an RHSE program that “differentiate[s] between relationships and sex education where possible.”

Included in the policy, the proposed guidance continues, should be “information about a parent’s right to request that their child is excused from sex education.”

The draft guidance was released following the publication of an independent review by British pediatrician Dr. Hilary Cass that concluded the so-called “gender-affirming care” model of medical intervention for young people is based on “remarkably weak evidence.”

Cass’ report noted that “multiple studies” were found to show that puberty blockers compromise bone density and fertility and can lead to other harmful effects. Additionally, most children and adolescents who are prescribed puberty blockers end up moving on to cross-sex hormones.

Following the release of the Cass review, England’s National Health Service (NHS) also announced proposed changes to its constitution, including defining “sex” as “biological sex” and an end to the use of terms that reflect gender ideology.