Supported by VfJUK, ParentPower and SPUC, the multi-faith Let Kids Be Kids Coalition have
now served papers calling for Judicial Review of the Relationships and Sex Education (RSE)
Regulations.  The Regulations, which became mandatory on 1 st  September this year, make
Relationships Education compulsory for Primary aged school children, Sex and Relationships
Education compulsory for Secondary aged school children, and Health Education compulsory for
all. They state that all teaching must be age-appropriate and have regard to the religious
background of pupils and their families.  However, Secretary of State for Education Gavin
Williamson has consistently promoted LGBTI+ teaching for children of all ages, and has stated
that every school will receive support from the government on teaching same sex relationships
(https://www.tes.com/news/schools-will-be-backed-lgbt-lessons-says-williamson).  The stated
rationale is that in order to prepare young people for life in modern Britain and to end
discrimination, children must learn about ‘diversity’ as early as possible.  This, we know, is
starting from age 3, using a large number of LGBT related picture books, and recommended
group activities for different classes.

Under international and UK law, parents have an absolute right to have children educated in line
with their religious or philosophical beliefs (European Convention on Human Rights, Article 1,
Protocol 2; The Human Rights Act 1998, Schedule I, Part II, Article 2; The Education Act 1996,
s.9).  In line with this, prior to the passing of the RSE Regulations, parents have had an absolute
and unquestioned right to withdraw children from teaching that is in conflict with their religious
beliefs or that they feel to be inappropriate.   Under the new Regulations, however, although the
parental right of withdrawal continues at Primary level – where there is actually no requirement
that children receive sex education – at Secondary level this right has been effectively removed,
becoming now merely a right to request withdrawal, subject to agreement by the Head
teacher.  On top of that, from age 15, children themselves have the right to decide to opt in,
irrespective of the wishes of their parents.

However dressed up, this is a major violation of the right of parents as primary educators of their
children.  But the Regulations also violate more broadly the right to freedom of belief as set down
in Article 9 of the Human Rights Act, which states that everyone has the right to freedom of
thought, conscience and religion, and to manifest their beliefs ‘in worship, teaching, practice and
observance’ (https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1998/42/schedule/1/part/I/chapter/8).  All the
world’s major religions prohibit LGBT behaviours and same sex marriage, so that promoting
explicitly prohibited behaviours can only serve to undermine belief.  While, therefore, the
Regulations may not specifically require that Primary aged pupils learn about same sex
relationships, the conscious and focused normalisation and promotion of such relationships,
enjoined by both the DfE and Ofsted, constitute a direct attack on the right of parents to raise
children to follow their faith.   Of course, some schools have attempted to get around this by
maintaining that they are simply upholding the requirements of the Equality Act 2010, but under
the provisions of this Act, religion is equally a protected characteristic, alongside age, disability,
gender reassignment, race, sex, sexual orientation, marriage and civil partnership, and
pregnancy and maternity.  The Regulations pose, therefore, a covert but focused attack on
religion.

For the wellbeing of the nation’s young and protection of the twin freedoms of belief and speech,
please pray for the success of this action, and that the Regulations, as they stand, be ruled
unlawful.

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