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Parents lose right of withdrawal of their children from Sex and Relationship Education once they reach 15.

(210 Posts)
Thandeka Thu 05-Nov-09 18:05:57

Please discuss your reactions to this news as I would be very interested to read them.

Personally I think this is a great thing but then I am biased as I work in young people's sexual health.

P.S "Parental opt out" is a much better word sorry as "withdrawal isn't necessarily a good word to use in relation to sex ed- hehe!

overmydeadbody Thu 05-Nov-09 18:07:14

Well I think by 15 a person should be able to make their own decisions!

posieparker Thu 05-Nov-09 18:08:22

Muslim council thinks it's terrible, ffs, whereas Catholic and CofE are fine with this.

Why am I not surprised?

abbierhodes Thu 05-Nov-09 18:09:11

I don't think parents should have the right to withdraw their kids at any age. If you wanted to withdraw a 15 year old I'd consider you to have serious issues that I should not be passed on to your children.

bumpsoon Thu 05-Nov-09 18:09:17

Fantastic news ! most of my friends started having sex around the 14 year old mark ,so actually i think it should be younger

LaurieScaryCake Thu 05-Nov-09 18:11:38

There was a huge debate on sexual health/relationship/sex educating in school a few months ago. The only people who disagreed had no idea how PSHE was presented to children.

I think the way schools do it is mostly fantastic, a lot more emphasis on self-respect, self-esteem, peer pressure now.

overmydeadbody Thu 05-Nov-09 18:12:18

I can't really understand why any parent would want to prevent their teenage child learning about sex education

nicnacinoonoo Thu 05-Nov-09 18:12:30

i agree with abbierhodes, they shouldnt be allowed to withdraw their kids at any age.

15 is probably a bit late for most kids nowadays

Thandeka Thu 05-Nov-09 18:14:18

Yup I do too- but guess a compromise had to be made.

I imagine parents still won't be able to opt out of the SRE within the science national curriculum (existing legislation) which covers reproduction, puberty (and depending on the exam board- for Key Stage 4- hormonal control of fertility)

Did you know that existing legislation means parents can pull a person aged 16-18 who is in fulltime education in school- ie. 6th form (not FE) out of SRE lessons. This technically contravenes children's rights legislation- but no cases came of it as young people aged 16-18 don't really have sex ed to be withdrawn from!

An interesting one in terms of whether schools will make adequate provision for sex education in Y11 (15-16 year olds) because of this considering it is also GCSE year and schools are so pressured.

PixiNanny Thu 05-Nov-09 18:16:29

Should be younger. I'm 20 and over a half of my female peers now have children. Many of those whilst I was in college. Religion has nothing to do with sex; kids from religious families will have sex so religious schools cannot use it as an excuse not to teach it.

Kids are better off having the facts about it at a younger age, rather than listening to peer's stories about everything regarding sex. I remember not getting facts until I was 13. Many of my peers had started having sex by that point and were not using protection because they'd heard that withdrawal was an effective method of contracepion, etc.

nicnacinoonoo Thu 05-Nov-09 18:19:29

do they teach anything in sex and relationship education about gay relationships and any kids that might be struggling with that? to encourage more acceptance and understanding etc

Thandeka Thu 05-Nov-09 18:22:24

Yup absolutely they do. Supporting teachers in challenging homophobia is one of the biggest parts of my work.

It is now also enshrined in the PSHE curriculum and in teachers rights and responsibilities so hopefully will make significant differences to lives of LGB young people in schools.

wahwah Thu 05-Nov-09 18:29:26

Why would anyone even want to withdraw their children from these lessons?

I have an idea that it may be on religious grounds, because let's face it the idea of hell and damnation is far scarier!

GuyFawkesIsMyLoveSlave Thu 05-Nov-09 18:32:26

It doesn't, of course, mean that "all pupils will get at least one year of sex and relationship education before their 16th birthday". A child who leaves school at the end of Y11 and has a summer birthday will be able to have his/her parent veto it entirely.

edam Thu 05-Nov-09 18:33:10

Good, and agree with everyone the opt-out should be ended entirely. (Although obv. parents should be able to raise concerns if they aren't comfortable with the particular content of any particular lesson.)

woowa Thu 05-Nov-09 18:37:13

I think that parents have the responsibility for the education of their children, not the state. That means parents should choose what their children are taught, not the state.

If parents choose to delegate their responsibility to schools, that's totally fine and normal, but if parents prefer to teach their children about sex and relationships at home, where's the harm in that? Every person is biased on this issue, whether christian, muslim, jew, atheist, whatever - we all have a view on what is normal, so perhaps if a parent has one particular view and disagrees strongly with the view of the teacher/curriculum, they have a right to express this, don't they? And bring their own children up as they see best, and not as the state thinks is best?

Thandeka Thu 05-Nov-09 18:47:47

I absolutely agree with you woowa but the trouble with Sex ed is that it is one of those excruciating topics that young people just don't want their parents to teach them. Yes the basic facts of life and about relationships rights and responsibility's, but about the mechanics of sex and accessing contraception etc. many young people would rather die than talk to their parents about this stuff and the only other safe place for young people to access the information is schools. The internet isn't safe (although ruthinking website is a good place to start) and peers often have misinformation so schools can be an excellent source of support and information about sex and relationships and the content of the curriculum is age appropriate and really fab. Honest!

cory Thu 05-Nov-09 18:54:23

but woowa- in that case, why should that involve only sex education?

if I was a holocaust denier, should I be able to insist on withdrawing my child from history lessons?

if I was a creationist, should I be able to insist that my child was withdrawn from any lessons that mentioned dinosaurs?

when you sign your child up for a school, you sign them up for an educational packet

that does not in any way prevent the parent from expressing their own views at home to the child

if you don't approve of it, there is always the option of home educating

or why is sex education an infringement of parents' rights in a way that biology lessons and history lessons are not?

piscesmoon Thu 05-Nov-09 18:57:34

I think it is a good thing-at 15yrs a young person should be able to choose for themselves.

whooshspicemonster Thu 05-Nov-09 18:58:40

If parents were capable of teaching their children about sex education properly, I doubt we'd have the highest rate of teenage pregnancy in Europe.

I don't think parents should ever be able to withdraw their children from Sex Ed - after all it's the State that picks up the tab when it all goes wrong.

choufleur Thu 05-Nov-09 19:03:33

According to ed balls earlier on the radio currently only something like 4 in every 10,000 children are withdrawn from sex ed. The change is hardly going to affect a lot of children if that figure is correct.

TheFallenMadonna Thu 05-Nov-09 19:06:08

Wow. We had two in year 9 last year in our school alone. I wonder where his figures were from?

GunpowderTreasonAndDragons Thu 05-Nov-09 19:06:27

Quite right too.

I do think parents should retain the right to opt out at primary level though.

piscesmoon Thu 05-Nov-09 19:18:29

Even if you withdraw them at Primary age you then have to allow for the fact that they get it second hand through their friends-I wouldn't find that at all desirable. (You have no control at all about what other DCs say to them).

woowa Thu 05-Nov-09 19:36:48

don't disagree thandeka and cory and I DO think we should have the right to withdraw from things we really disagree on - probably not a popular opinion.

To put my view in context, neither my husband or I had sex before we were married. We weren't taught the mechanics of sex and we've been fine - how did people manage before sex education to work this out?

We weren't at risk of STIs or unwanted pregnancy, and we didn't need contraceptive advice (though we DID receive teaching on these at school, which is fine). The issue I thus have with sex ed at school is that it ddoesn't advocate or recommend our personal life choices - abstinence is not one of the most talked about choices in the UK. So should we be forced, when the time comes to have our children be taught about sex without any mention of what we feel, with the benefit of our own personal experience, to be the best option for them?

I hope that DH and I will always be open with them about sex and relationships, and that they will learn from us rather than teachers.

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