Concerns raised over many months by Christian parents about the content of mandatory sex education lessons in schools have prompted demands in Parliament for Rishi Sunak to step in.
Almost 50 Conservative MPs have written to the Prime Minister urging him to launch an independent inquiry, declaring that “even primary school children are being indoctrinated with radical and un-evidenced ideologies about sex and gender”.
Signatories to the letter, co-ordinated by former teacher and Christian, Miriam Cates, the Penistone and Stocksbridge MP, include Priti Patel, the former home secretary, Simon Clarke, former levelling up secretary and former education ministers Andrea Jenkyns, Brendan Clarke-Smith, Jonathan Gullis and Kelly Tolhurst.
The group of MPs stated that children are “being taught about extreme and dangerous sex acts, encouraged to share intimate details about sexual desires with classmates and teachers” and urged the Prime Minister to act.
“These MPs are right, I think there is an ideological element to this”, commented James Mildred, director of communications and engagement at the Christian social policy charity, CARE.
Speaking to Premier Christian News, he pointed to the widespread teaching of contentious gender ideology and graphic sexual content without parents’ knowledge or consent. He said Mr Sunak promised to end inappropriate sex education during his leadership election campaign last year.
“Nothing has happened, which is what has prompted this action," he said. "The primary responsibility for raising children is with parents, but they delegate that to schools. It has to be a partnership.
“And something has gone wrong when parents are finding out that their young children are being taught, for example, that there could be as many as 100 genders.”
Last summer, the children’s commissioner told MPs on the Education Select Committee that she was “shocked” to hear “horrendous” examples of some of the sex education materials used in schools.
Dame Rachel de Souza said children wanted “thoughtful” and “age-appropriate” materials in school.
In a statement sent to Premier, she said:
"There is no doubt that the duty to protect children from harmful or inappropriate content both online and offline is of paramount importance – but it is just as important that they are given the knowledge and skills they need to navigate the world around them and make sensible, informed judgements. That’s why we must put their views and voices at the heart of how RSHE is taught, while also making sure that parents and carers are given reassurances about what they are learning."
But according to CARE, these assurances aren’t working since the law was changed five years ago.
“The new law requires schools to consult parents before making or revising their plans around how they're going to teach relationship and sex education," Mildred said. "What parents are feeding back is that that is not happening.
“The fact that that is not taking place is clearly a failure on the part of schools, because they're under a legal duty to engage with parents.
“And so we would back the calls here for a public inquiry, because that will allow us to step back to look at all of the evidence, and then to make recommendations for how that partnership between parents and schools can work better in an and in a way that respects the deeply held convictions of not just Christians, but also those who belong to other faith groups as well. “