It is a claim made over and over again that the necessity to learn about a whole range of adult relationships from primary school level onwards is necessary so that “homophobic bullying” may be prevented. This is one of the main reasons for the very explicit and adult content being enjoined under the new Relationship & Sex Education Regulations currently under consideration in Parliament.
But the truth is that this claim that controversial sexual matters must be taught to Primary & Secondary school children in contradiction to their own or their families’ beliefs in order that they do not grow up to bully or denigrate those of a different view is entirely without foundation. I am writing from some experience as I have been a Head for over 10 years of a school which ranges from 4 years to 18 years. My school received an Outstanding rating from Ofsted for the Personal Development and Welfare of students that covers exactly this area. The simple fact is that whether school children denigrate or bully others is down to the ethos of the school, and robust anti-bullying and safeguarding policies. What is taught, usually poorly, in a handful of classes is not going to affect pupils’ behaviour, and in fact may do more harm than good by confusing and disturbing pupils with matters beyond their years.
A good school will protect its members, girls or boys, with special needs or not, gay or straight. They will defend the inalienable humanity and rights of each child with the procedures they develop to defend all. To mark out one special group could create a hierarchy of difference that may actually incite bullying. All are equal, and should be treated as such.
What is also difficult to understand with the whole emphasis on LGBT material in the new RSE Regulations is why this protected characteristic of sexual orientation which touches on the lives of 2% of the population – this is the official Office of National Statistics (ONS) figure – is being given priority over the centuries old beliefs and practice of communities that have shown their ability to live together and build civilisations in every part of the globe. There have been serious protests by Muslim parents in Birmingham, following cases involving Christian parents in London and elsewhere, and the censure of Jewish Orthodox Schools, against these new laws. The RSE Regulations are divisive, and override all that these groups hold dear in the upbringing of their children, and the relationship between parent and child. They have built in their different ways and at different times some of the most enduring and effective societies ever known. They constitute at the last census over 64% of the population in Britain. And yet they are being set at naught while a series of ideological groups with specific views on sexual morality, behaviour and preference are given the ear of government time and time again. What is at stake is the furtherance of a campaign to groom and indoctrinate for the purposes of early sexual experimentation which suits the purposes of these ideologies. It is not about the care and welfare of children, nor will it prevent any bullying or exclusion of children which are dependent on entirely separate processes.
An inspection of history will show that religious communities do not bow easily to the bullying of the state. Where now is the Roman Empire, Soviet Communism, the Nazi State? Where is the British Empire? Yet Christians, Jews and Muslims, who suffered at different times from their oppression, grow and thrive and develop. Why is the British State so keen to bully these communities on this scale and give such offence when their very systems of fairness and moral creeds have actually protected so many from the cruelty of others? It is the state, not schools, who will be doing the bullying if these new laws pass.
Member of Parent Power team – long-standing Headmaster