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St. Mary Magdalen's
Catholic Church
Willesden Green
London NW10
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Tuesday, February 23, 2010
This Tuesday the Government’s “Children, Schools and Families Bill” reaches the advance “report” stage. The Bill would make sex and relationships education (within Personal, Social, Health and Economic education) a statutory part of the national curriculum. The bill currently states that children must “learn the nature of Civil Partnership” - the legal definition of which includes a sexual relationship – “and the importance of strong and stable relationships”. It intends to remove from the current statute book a rejection of ‘teaching and materials which are inapprop-riate, having regard to the age and the religious and cultural background of the pupils concerned’.
The specific implications of all this are to be worked out by later government “guidance”, for Sept 2011 implementation. The government has assured us that faith schools will still be able to present their moral teachings. However in their draft guidance - which is now being consulted upon until 19th April, cf. - there are elements at Key Stage 2 which are in serious tension with Catholic teaching and at Key Stage 3 which directly contradict it.
At Key Stage 2 (ages 7-11) children are to be introduced to sexual intercourse, contraception and homosexuality – the latter in the context of the wrongness of bullying. For the school to deal with such subjects at Primary age, unless in some form of urgently needed rectification, is against formal Church guidance. If it happens the Catholic school would obviously have, at the very least, to contextualize such teaching by giving its own teaching, e.g. about sex being only for marriage, and its teaching on the reality of “disordered desire” from Original Sin.
At Key Stage 3 (ages 11-14), pupils will be taught about abortion, told where they can obtain (without parental consent) contraception and the morning-after pill – which latter causes an early abortion. Again the school might contextualize this by Church teaching. However the process of proactively providing this information would be to enable, and thus technically to become party to, teenage promiscuous behaviour.
For instance to insist that all pupils be told where they can confidentially get boxing gloves for free to reduce the adverse effect of any bullying they might engage in, even if it is contextual-lized by the teaching that bullying is morally wrong, would be to cooperate with the bullying. This indeed is the actual dynamic of the government’s past sex education approach which has led to relentlessly increasing STDs, pregnancies and abortion amongst teenagers in this country.
It is not too late to send a first class letter, email or phone call to our M.P. Sarah Teather, especially, to take part in the above-mentioned consultation. There are numerous other very worrying aspects to this legislation. Cf. the Family Education Trust: Jubilee House, 19-21 High Street, Whitton, Twickenham TW2 7LB Tel: 8894 2525 ,

posted by Sinead Reekie at 10:24 am