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Sex education - has the government let faith schools off the hook?

19 February 2010

A change to the Children Schools and Families Bill has led to accusations that the Government has departed from its commitment to giving all children the right to quality sex and relationship education.

From 2011, schools will be required to teach pupils from the age of 7 about relationships, including same sex relationships, as part of Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education. However, the recent amendment will allow faith schools to teach PSHE in a way that reflects the school's religious character.

The DCSF argues that this is not an opt-out provision for faith schools but secular groups are adamant that the change will encourage discriminatory teachings. The British Humanist Association said "the amendment effectively gives licence to faith schools to teach sex and relationships education in ways that are homophobic and gender discriminatory".

Should schools' rights to promote the values of their faith in lessons override children's rights to receive balanced information on any subject from an early age?

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Mark Blois

Mark Blois

Partner and Head of Education

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