Government’s decision to ban parents from withdrawing children from ‘relationships education’ lessons faces judicial review

Primary school children having a lesson in Essex
Primary school children having a lesson in Essex

The Government’s decision to ban parents from withdrawing children from ‘relationships education’ lessons faces a judicial review, The Sunday Telegraph can disclose.

From September this year, primary school children will be required to to attend compulsory classes which explore topics including LGBT, the building blocks of consent and how to recognise abuse.

The Department for Education’s guidance says schools should engage with parents when it comes to delivering the curriculum, but emphasises that the ultimate decision on what is taught lies with teachers and parents have no “veto” on content.

Let Kids be Kids, a campaigning group set up by parents in 2016, wants these classes to be made optional to avoid children being exposed to ideas which may not correlate with the “religious and philosophical convictions” of their family.

It argues that the inability to opt out without explanation also obliges parents to write to the headteacher, subjecting them to “an undue burden and also a risk of stigmatisation, with a risk of exposure of sensitive aspects of their private life”.

The group wrote a letter to the Government ahead of the judicial review, insisting that this leaves the country with “an educational regime which taken as a whole no longer gives effect to the rights of parents to ensure teaching in conformity with their own religious and philosophical convictions and is therefore in breach of the parents’ rights.”

Under the new Department for Education guidelines, it is also required that secondary school pupils attend compulsory ‘relationships and sex education’ classes from September 2020. In addition, all schools will have to teach ‘health education’.

While many primary schools teach sex education, parents have an automatic right to withdraw their child from these lessons.

Let Kids be Kids argues that this right should extend to ‘relationships education’ lessons, claiming that material of a “controversial moral nature” could be weaved into the curriculum by teachers who have particular ideological goals.

The Government has until 4pm on July 31 to respond to the group’s letter before claim.

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