The Christian coalition writes to high school principals about RSE issues

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There were concerns about the content of the RSE lesson.(Photo: Unsplash / Jessica Lewis)

The Christian Coalition for Education (CCFE) has written to school principals across the country urging them to be careful about what they teach in relationship and sex education (RSE) classes.

Under the direction of former Bishop of Rochester Michael Nazir-Ali, the coalition wrote in its letter to guidelines issued by the Department of Education last September prohibiting "the promotion of partisan attitudes in the teaching of a subject in schools" and telling schools "to exercise extreme caution working with external agencies ".

The guidelines went on to say, "Materials that suggest that non-compliance with gender stereotypes should be considered synonymous with a different gender identity should not be used, and you should not partner with any outside agencies or organizations that produce such materials.

"Teachers shouldn't suggest to a child that non-compliance with gender stereotypes means that either their personality or their body is wrong and needs to change."

The guidelines were issued by the DfE after parents and campaign groups warned about the nature of some RSE resources.

One resource, All About Me, taught young children about masturbation before they were withdrawn after threats of legal action. Another from BBC Teach told children that there were over 100 gender identities. After heavy criticism, the BBC made the decision to "withdraw" the resource.

In its letter, the CCFE urged school principals to respect the law protecting the right of parents to have their children educated according to their religious or philosophical beliefs, or to withdraw their children from classes who do not.

RSE became compulsory in secondary schools, and relationship classes in elementary schools across England last September, but implementation has been delayed due to the pandemic.

While schools are required by law to consult with parents about the content of RSE lessons, the letter goes on to say that some parent groups and individuals are taking legal action against elementary schools for lack of advice and the content of the RSE curriculum or operation launching "diversity" events "without first consulting parents and other interest groups".

The CCFE hoped the letter would remind schools of their duty to consult parents fully before introducing controversial content.

Coalition chairman Bishop Nazir-Ali said: "It is encouraging to hear that so many schools and parents alike are realizing the need to fully understand what legalization around RSHE actually requires.

"I sincerely hope that school principals across the country fully understand some of the security and religious freedom issues that have arisen since the topic was first introduced."

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