Sex education - urgent response required

Urgent: Respond to the Department for Education’s teaching of sex education ‘call for evidence’

Details of ‘call for evidence’ can be found at: https://consult.education.gov.uk/life-skills/pshe-rse-call-for-evidence/ 

Action

Christian Values in Education encourages anyone who is able to respond to the Department for Education’s “Changes to the teaching of Sex and Relationship Education and PSHE - A call for evidence” to prayerfully do so. There will no doubt be many responses from lobby groups and organisations that promote practices and lifestyles contrary to Bible teaching. Consequently, it is important that the views of Christians are made in the ‘call for evidence’ especially as it relates to the Genesis foundations of gender (male and female) marriage and the family.

This post provides a background to the 'call for evidence' and how to respond to the call being made.

Background

In April 2017, The Children and Social Work Act was granted Royal assent and became law. The Act placed a duty on the Secretary of State for Education to the make the new subject of Relationship Education at primary and Relationships and Sex Action at secondary mandatory. Relationships and Sex Education will replace Sex and Relationship Education (SRE). The Act also provides for the Secretary of State to make Personal, Social, Health and Economic education (PSHE), or elements of the subject, mandatory in all schools.

Concern has been expressed as to what may be taught in schools resulting from the proposed changes to the curriculum. (See the links at the end of this post relating to views expressed in the ‘Christian press’).

As part of its consultation process then the Department for Education launched on Tuesday, 19 December 2017 a document “Changes to the teaching of Sex and Relationship Education and PSHE - A call for evidence”.

The ‘call for evidence' aims to gather views from people across from all backgrounds on the content of Sex and Relationship Education and how the current guidance on sex education should be updated.

The ‘call for evidence’ is for: parents and carers; teaching and college staff (including governors); voluntary and community organisations; other educational professionals; and any other interested organisations and individuals (including relatives).  The ‘call for evidence’ will look to establish:

  • what teachers think they should be teaching their pupils to help them navigate the modern world they are growing up in
  • how parents expect the children to be taught in this topic in a safe and age-appropriate way.

The ‘call for evidence’ within the consultation document takes the form of seven questions aimed at those with knowledge or experience of English schools. The ‘call for evidence’ is open until February 12th, 2018 and responses are limited to 250 words per question.

How to respond

The consultation documents are available on the Department for Education website page titled: Changes to the teaching of Sex & Relationship Education and PSHE. See:

https://consult.education.gov.uk/life-skills/pshe-rse-call-for-evidence/

This page also contains a link to the on-line survey that is being used to gather responses.

The consultation document is 15 pages long and should be read to gain an appreciation of the position of the Department for Education and the nuances of what is being sought.

To help those responding to the ‘call for evidence’, Christian Values in Education has produced a template (attached to this post) that focuses on the questions and answers some thoughts to these to help formulate responses, where appropriate. This document is intended as a guide and does not set out to be definitive or prescribe the responses to be made.

The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) have published a briefing note on how to respond to this ‘call for evidence’. Anyone interested in reading and/or using, at their discretion, the suggestions made by the SPUC can find the briefing by clicking here.

Our mercy is that the Lord is sovereign, and His ear is ever open to the cries of his people. (Psalm 50:15).

[Note: There is also a ‘call for evidence’ focused on children and young people. This focuses on what children themselves would benefit from understanding the most, and the on-line risks they are concerned with.]

Views from the ‘Christian press’:
Christian Concern
Coalition for Marriage 
Christian Today
Premier

Additional information:
The following House of Commons Library Briefings, updated in December 2017, provide a useful background to PSHE and SRE:
Personal, social, health and economic education in schools (England)
BRIEFING PAPER   Number 07303, 20 December 2017 
http://research briefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/CBP-7303/CBP-7303.pdf
Sex and Relationships Education in Schools (England)
BRIEFING PAPER   Number 06103, 19 December 2017 
http://research briefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/SN06103/SN06103.pdf
The CVIE template to help with understanding making a response can be found here:
Background-to-responding-to-Changes-to-the-teaching-of-Sex-and-Relationship-Education-and-PSHE-A-call-for-evidence-December-2017.docx

[Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net]