Fears over sex lessons for pupils aged five

The Jewish Chronicle - - News - BY LEON SY­MONS

AN­GLO-JEWISH ED­U­CA­TION­AL­ISTS have given a cau­tious greet­ing to a gov­ern­ment an­nounce­ment that it wants to in­tro­duce com­pul­sory lessons for chil­dren aged five to 16 on sub­jects such as sex and drugs.

The lessons would be brought in un­der the um­brella of per­sonal, so­cial and health ed­u­ca­tion (PSHE) and will be com­pul­sory from Septem­ber 2010

Schools min­is­ter Jim Knight said last week that the de­ci­sion was in re­sponse to the find­ings of a re­view of sex and re­la­tion­ships ed­u­ca­tion in schools and a re­port by the Ad­vi­sory Group on Drug and Al­co­hol Ed­u­ca­tion, which both rec­om­mended that good PSHE was vi­tal to schools pro­vid­ing pupils with a rounded ed­u­ca­tion.

A spokesman for the DCSF ad­mit­ted: “There are con­cerns and sen­si­tiv­i­ties from a lot of faith groups.” This was why the min­istry had asked a top East Lon­don head teacher to lead an­other re­view — due to re­port by next April — about how the lessons will be worked into the cur­ricu­lum.

Jewish ed­u­ca­tion leaders were wor­ried about what con­tent would be taught and whether par­ents would con­tinue to have the right to with­draw their chil­dren from classes deal­ing with sex ed­u­ca­tion — some­thing the re­view will con­sider.

Jon Ben­jamin, chief ex­ec­u­tive of the Board of Deputies, which speaks on ed­u­ca­tion for the com­mu­nity, said: “The Gov­ern­ment is keen to un­der­stand how dif­fer­ent com­mu­ni­ties view this and how in prac­tice it can be im­ple­mented.

“We will work with the Depart­ment for Chil­dren, Schools and Fam­i­lies on this af­ter con­sul­ta­tion with all parts of the com­mu­nity. There is a great deal of scope for dis­cus­sion about im­ple­men­ta­tion, both with Gov­ern­ment and with other faith groups.

“Schools should have wide dis­cre­tion to de­ter­mine how to ap­ply any changes, based on non-statu­tory guid­ance, and the con­tin­ued right of par­ents to with­draw chil­dren from such lessons is likely to be an im­per­a­tive.”

Joshua Rowe, chair of gov­er­nors at King David High School in Manch­ester, said: “We want to see what the gov­ern- ment will do. They have pro­duced a pro­gramme for PSHE but they have not said what will be in each year group. The gov­ern­ment is not say­ing that five-year-olds will be taught sex ed­u­ca­tion.”

Sex ed­u­ca­tion is al­ready taught in at least one Jewish school. Lenna Rosen­berg, head of Bark­ing­side-based pri­mary, Clore Tikva, in­tro­duced the lessons soon af­ter join­ing the school and said they had been very suc­cess­ful.

“We cover sex ed­u­ca­tion through the sci­ence cur­ricu­lum for the early years and through the lo­cal au­thor­ity guide­lines for the older chil­dren,” said Mrs Rosen­berg.

“We al­ways con­sult our par­ents be­fore we do any­thing. It is very im­por­tant to hear what par­ents have to say be­cause they know their chil­dren best and how emo­tion­ally able they are.

“In year six, we have an evening for dads and lads and, sep­a­rately, mums and daugh­ters that are run by the school nurse. The whole thing is based around per­ma­nent and loving re­la­tion­ships and works very well.”

Not all par­ents want their young chil­dren to learn where ba­bies come from

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.