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HomeUK NewsEngland to prohibit sex education for under-nine children

England to prohibit sex education for under-nine children

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England is set to implement a ban on sex education for children under nine years old, alongside prohibitions on teaching about gender identity, according to a BBC report. This move is part of a broader review of relationships, sex, and health education (RSHE) guidance.

The upcoming guidance will specify what topics are appropriate for different age groups and ensure parents have access to teaching materials. Additional restrictions will be imposed on how teachers discuss gender and sexuality, including transgender and non-binary identities, following pressure from Conservative MPs.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak accelerated this review after concerns from MPs about children being exposed to “inappropriate content” and “radical ideologies.” The forthcoming guidance aims to address these contested issues.

Critics of the proposed changes, such as Paul Whiteman from the school leaders’ union NAHT, argue that imposing age limits might drive children to seek information from unreliable sources. Rebecca Leek from the Suffolk Primary Headteachers’ Association believes the bans won’t significantly change current practices, as sex education typically starts around age 10.

Head teachers argue there’s no widespread issue with inappropriate materials, with one union stating the review is “politically motivated.” Pepe Di’Iasio of the Association of School and College Leaders stresses the need for evidence-based decisions in education and warns against politicising pupils.

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The National Education Union supports discussions about relationships for primary-school children, advocating for open dialogue with trusted adults.

This guidance follows controversies, including protests against LGBT relationships education at Anderton Park Primary. Head teacher Sarah Hewitt-Clarkson emphasized the need for clear guidance on LGBT relationships education to avoid ambiguity.

In other parts of the UK, relationships and sexuality education is already mandatory in Northern Ireland and Wales, with Scotland finalising its updated guidance following a public consultation in 2023.

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