Gillian Keegan has been accused of putting teachers “on the collective naughty step” after she announced that parents must be allowed to see what sex education lessons their children are getting.
A letter sent to schools today by the education secretary says the materials must be made available on request and warning headteachers there can be “no ifs, no buts, no more excuses”.
But Geoff Barton, general secretary of the the Association of School and College Leaders, said the guidance was pointless and accusing Keegan of “throwing red meat” to right-wing Tory MPs.
Appearing on BBC Breakfast, he said: “Are we being put on the collective naughty step by the nation’s deputy head girl? Is that what it’s about?
“Are parents queuing up and saying ‘we need to have this information and we need to have it before the end of the half term break’?
“Or is this essentially throwing some red meat into the Tory backbenches and an education secretary saying ‘look at me I am doing things, really, I am doing things’.”
It is the second letter the education secretary has sent to schools on the issue, amid claims by some Tories that children are being exposed to inappropriate material during relationships, sex and health education (RSHE) at school.
Bartion said there was a “pattern” forming with the government regularly failing to discuss their plans with teaching bodies before they are announced.
“It is leading teachers to feel they are being treated with contempt,” he said.
“There is something bizarre about the timing of sending a letter out today saying ’you need to one way or another tell parents everything about sex education’ when we are actually waiting on the review of the curriculum anyway, which was due in September.”