Education secretary Gillian Keegan and Rishi Sunak want to attack sex education in schools (Picture: Number 10/Flickr)

The government is set to ban explicit sex education until the age of 13—and any mention of transgender identities. This is an attack on every school pupil and their right to access education about relationships, consent, abuse, LGBT+ people, abortion and safe sex. This would be the first imposition of explicit age limits on such education.

The chipping away at trans children’s rights in schools, and healthcare, has paved the way for further attacks on not just LGBT+ children, but all children.

Education ministers are expected to warn schools in England that gender identity is “highly contested” and that teaching the issue could have “damaging implications”.

Rishi Sunak says gender identity – the fluidity of norms – is becoming “embedded” in schools as an uncontested fact.

Until now, the teaching of sex education was in the hands of primary schools to determine. Now these schools will not be allowed to teach children that they can change their gender identity and must avoid “explicit” conversations about sex until age 13. Only the most basic questions could be mentioned – at age nine.

According to leaks, on Thursday new government rules will tell teachers to avoid teaching children about gender identity and instead teach “biological” facts about sex.

NEU education union general secretary Daniel Kebede said ministers are “seeding doubts” that schools are not already delivering sex education in an “age-appropriate and phase-appropriate way”. “This is yet more culture war noise from an ill-informed and out of touch government. Schools need clear and constructive support”, he added.

Domestic violence, coercive control, sexual violence and pornography and its distorted view are also off the curriculum until students are aged 13.  

Children in Year 7 who are aged 11 will be taught that sending naked images of someone under 18 is a potential criminal offence. They will also be taught about sexual harassment, revenge porn, grooming, stalking and forced marriage from the same age.

Parents still retain the right to withdraw pupils from sex education unless there are “exceptional” circumstances.

The right has been in uproar because children had been allowed to change gender without parental consent. New guidelines at the end of last year said schools should not allow transition without informing parents.

Last year 50 Tory MPs wrote to Rishi Sunak to claim that children were being exposed to “inappropriate content” and “radical and unevidenced ideologies about sex and gender”.

Relationships, sex and health education has been compulsory since September 2020, with children taught about family and friendships as well as physical health and puberty.

At secondary school level relationships, sex and health education was mandatory and included relationships, consent, online abuse, domestic abuse and female genital mutilation.

Parents could remove their child from some lessons, but not from relationships education.

As well as pressure from the far right, Tories and sections of the media, there were also parent protests against sex education – specifically LGBT+ relationships.

Now, bigoted demands have become a reality. Teachers, parents and students must rebel against the bigoted and dangerous new guidelines to ensure every child has access to proper sex education.


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