UK Christian Conservative MP Miriam Cates has introduced a bill aimed at giving British parents the legal right to view materials used to teach sex education in schools. Her proposed law would create a legal duty for English schools to share materials used in relationships and sex education (RSE) lessons with parents, and prevent schools from using unpublished materials if they are produced by a third-party provider.
Her private member’s bill was prompted by the case of a mother who lost a legal fight to see the lesson plan at her daughter’s school. A judge ruled that a third-party provider’s commercial interests held greater weight than the public interest in obtaining the material.
The move comes amid an urgent review into what Ms. Cates and her supporters claim is the harmful and graphic sex education material being peddled to children in UK schools. The review, launched by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, is likely to propose changes to the curriculum following complaints from parents about the use of explicit material for young children.
The review followed an impassioned speech by Ms. Cates in the House of Commons in which she declared: “Across the country, children are being subjected to lessons that are age-inappropriate, extreme, sexualising, and inaccurate, often using resources from unregulated organisations that are actively campaigning to undermine parents. This is not a victory for equality; it is a catastrophe for childhood.”
She claimed that children were being taught things such as “how to choke your partner safely” and that there are 72 different genders rather than two. The MP has presented the prime minister with a 51-page “dossier of evidence” concerning the state of Relationships, Sex, and Health Education (RSHE) in UK schools, which she claims has moved from the biological to the ideological. Prime Minister Sunak assured Ms. Cates that he would be introducing a review of RSHE statutory guidance.
Premier Christian News notes few private members’ bills become law in the UK, but they do create publicity around an issue
Ms. Cates generated more attention in a speech that claimed Britain’s tax system penalises parents which she explained to Politics Home:
“Over the last few generations, we have privatised family life. Having children is now seen as a personal choice, a luxury, like buying a Porsche. You shouldn’t get one unless you can afford to maintain it. Having children and raising them well is the most significant contribution most of us can make to society. If we care about the success of our nation, we should be doing everything we can to encourage young people to have children and to support them through our tax system as they seek to do a good job of raising the next generation.”
Ms. Cates argued that marriage “is the best institution that societies have developed for the successful raising of children” and pointed out that while marriage in high-income groups has remained high with divorce rates low, among low-income groups, marriage rates have collapsed. “Marriage has become a middle class secret and as a political class we have failed to be honest about its advantages for children,” Ms. Cates wrote.