Thursday, 6 March 2008

Sex Education And The New Government-Approved Morality

Below is some information from an informed friend about the government's newly-announced review of sex education. I said to him:
"Reading the list of people involved in doing this review sends shivers down my spine..."
Which elicited the reply:

I think we have to see the government’s review in the context of a concerted campaign on the part of the sex education establishment and contraceptive industry to make sex education compulsory in all schools – primary as well as secondary.

I think you are right to have misgivings about the make-up of the review group. While there is a token Catholic and Muslim, the group is strongly weighted in favour of those wanting to further push back the boundaries. Those known for their advocacy of keeping sexual intimacy within a marriage are conspicuous by their absence. Since it is often possible to predict the outcome the government is looking for by the people it chooses to sit on its advisory groups, I think it is clear which way the wind is blowing.

In a recent House of Lords exchange, the government minister Lord Adonis indicated that the introduction of statutory sex education was a ‘when’ rather than an ‘if’. Lord Adonis was asked by the Family Education Trust about this and his reply did nothing to reassure. See the brief news item here:

With regard to David’s original question as to whether compulsory sex education (if introduced) would apply only to state schools, the answer is , "Yes, but…"

Independent schools and parents who opt to educate their children otherwise than at school (including home education) are not required to follow the National Curriculum, though some do. However, in a separate development, the Department of Health has commissioned the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) to develop guidance on the teaching of sex education. After pressure from the Sex Education Forum and others, NICE has decided that the guidance will apply to home educators (though not to independent schools). ... I mention it here simply to show that the vision of the sex education establishment extends beyond the state school system.

I asked for and obtained a further clarification:

The guidance will not have the force of law, but state schools (and home educators if they are not removed from its scope) will be expected to follow it as an example of 'good practice'.

It is currently envisaged that the guidance, when issued in September 2009, will be mediated to maintained schools and home educators by the local authority. While not legally binding, it is not difficult to envisage some local authority personnel using it to put pressure on home educating parents to deliver a type of sex education they are not comfortable with, or even to insist that all home educated children attend sessions arranged by the local authority. (I have heard of a local authority insisting on giving a 'puberty talk' to home educated children in the past and I fear that this guidance could be used to legitimise this kind of intrusive approach.)

Anyone wanting to put pressure on NICE to remove home educators from the scope of the guidance should contact the lead officer, Geraldine McCormick, at The full title of the guidance in question is "School, college and community-based personal, social and health education focusing on sex and relationships and alcohol education".

Yes, you did read that correctly. The government looks to be launching out into business not only of telling parents what the state-approved morality is for parents to pass on to their children, but also coercing them into accepting and teaching it, with the force of law behind it. Having solved all the problems that actually belong to the government's legitimate domain (!!!), they're now merrily annexing the tasks of parents also. This coercion will be carried out in the name of promoting your children's health and safety.

Remember: big government knows best, and you'd better agree if you don't want the state-approved-morality inspectors to pay a visit!

1 comment:

IlĂ­on said...

Wasn't "NICE" the monstrous government agency in Lewis' space trilogy?