Tories Accused Of Using Pupils As 'Political Football' Over Sex Education Crackdown

Ministers want to ban schools from teaching "explicit" lessons to under-13s.
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Tory ministers have been accused of using school pupils as “a political football” over plans to crack down on “explicit” sex education lessons.

The government is reportedly planning to tell schools not to teach under-13s that they can change gender identity because it is a highly-contested area.

According to The Times, the guidance will also impose age limits on sex education for the first time.

It will say that children should not be given any form of sex education in primary school until Year 5, when lessons should be limited to the basic facts of conception and birth.

Explicit discussions of sexual acts - including conversations about contraception, sexually transmitted infections and abortion - should not take place until Year 9.

It follows concerns from some Tory MPs that school pupils are being exposed to “inappropriate” lessons at too young an age.

But a leading headteacher this morning accused the government of being more concerned about chasing headlines than the welfare of young people.

Pepe Di’Iasio, general secretary of the association of school and college leaders, told Radio Four’s Today programme: “Teachers and professionals will feel that these issues are perhaps being politicised when we want well-informed and evidence-based decisions that have got clarity behind them.

“I can’t help but feel that the fact we’re hearing about these on the front page of newspapers today means that what we’re seeing is that pupils are being placed in the middle of a highly-sensitive subject and being used as a political football for the sake of headlines when we should be focusing on their wellbeing.”

He added: “Whilst we welcome a chance to look at this, we also need the flexibility to respond to whatever those particular needs are.

“But that needs to be supported by clarity in terms of the guidance, but also an ideal that that evidence has come from evidence-based research and not just something that’s been swayed by some backbenchers who feel it’s important for them to gain political points.”

However, policing minister Chris Philp said he welcomed the move towards age-appropriate sex education lessons.

He said: “Speaking as a parent, I don’t want children who are very young being exposed to inappropriate sexual material at school, and the whole trans debate is a contested political issue and that shouldn’t be taught as fact to young people.”


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