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Schools are being told not to teach gender identity

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English schools should not teach about gender identity, according to new draft government guidance.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the new guidelines would ensure children were not “exposed to disturbing content”.

Some teachers said there was no evidence of a widespread problem.

Teachers’ unions said the review was “politically motivated.”

Under these plans, high school students will learn about protected characteristics, such as sexual orientation and gender reassignment.

But the updated guidance makes clear that schools “should not teach the concept of gender identity”, the government says.

He said it was right to take a “cautious approach”, adding that educational materials which “present contested views as fact – including the idea that gender is a spectrum” should be avoided .

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan told BBC Breakfast: “Biological sex is the basis of relationships, sex and health education – not these contested views.”

The government is also tightening rules to make it easier for parents to access educational materials from schools and see what their children are learning.

Announcing the guidance, Mr Sunak said: “Parents are rightly confident that when they send their children to school they are protected and will not be exposed to disturbing age-inappropriate content.

“That’s why I was horrified to hear reports of what happened in our classrooms last year.

“I will always act quickly to protect our children and these new guidelines will do just that, while helping teachers teach these important topics sensitively and giving parents access to curriculum content if they wish.”

Ms Keegan said the new guidance had been prompted by a request from teachers “to provide more clarity” on age-appropriate sex education, but she had also seen reports of “documents from campaign groups or pressure groups” used in classrooms.

She said she had received evidence of lecture slides that included “things like choosing many different genders and identities and saying which of them are gender identities – the spectrum.” The kind of “it can be a spectrum, it’s fluid, you can have “different genders on different days” or “there are 72”.

Ms Keegan added: “Parents are their children’s first educators, so there should be transparency and they should be able to see the material, and we have made that clear.”

The Education Secretary admitted to BBC Radio 4’s Today program that she did not know how widespread the problem was because “it’s not something we’ve done any particular investigation into”, but said that she didn’t think it was common.

Other elements of the guidelines include:

  • no sex education until fifth grade, when children turn nine
  • additional suicide prevention content for high school students
  • a section on sexual harassment and sexual violence
  • advice for teachers on how to combat misogynistic influencers online.

Speaking to BBC News on Wednesday, some parents welcomed the idea of ​​restrictions on sex education.

But others pointed out a danger, because if children couldn’t receive information on certain topics from their teachers, they would be more likely to access potentially harmful content in search of answers online.

Lucy Emmerson, chief executive of the Sex Education Forum, said: “If topics were to be restricted, it would leave children even more dependent on answers on topics such as pornography, coercive control and STIs (sexually transmitted infections) from from online sources. »

Ms Keegan said children under nine could still learn about design because it could be discussed “in a very factual and scientific way”.

The draft guidelines are now open for a nine-week consultation.

Once finalized, it will become statutory and schools will have to follow it.

What are the current RSHE rules?

Relationship education has been compulsory in primary schools since September 2020.

Children learn about healthy and respectful relationships, with an emphasis on family and friendships, including online and on social media. They also learn about physical health, body parts, boundaries and puberty.

The government strongly encourages schools to include teaching about different types of family and same-sex relationships.

In secondary school, relationships, sexuality and health education is compulsory – and covers content on a wider range of key topics.

This includes sex, sexual relations, consent, online abuse, domestic violence and female genital mutilation.

In some cases, parents have the right to withdraw their child from certain sex education classes, but not from relationships education.

In Northern Ireland, Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) is compulsory for all pupils. Schools can develop their own policies.

RSE has been compulsory in Welsh schools since 2022. Guidance for schools sets out “developmentally appropriate” topics that should be covered from ages 3 to 16.

In Scotland, the government is finalizing updated guidance, following a public consultation in 2023.

News Source : www.bbc.com
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