In the Name of Allah, the Most Gra­cious, the Most Mer­ci­ful.

As-salā­mu ‘alaykum wa-rah­mat­ul­lāhi wa-barakā­tuh (Peace, Bless­ings & Mer­cy of Allah be upon You).

This state­ment is being issued on the 15th of Jan­u­ary 2018 and super­sedes all pre­vi­ous state­ments on the sub­ject.

Relationships and Sex Education: Why should you care?

The Chil­dren and Social Work Act 2017 made Rela­tion­ship Edu­ca­tion a com­pul­so­ry school sub­ject in all pri­ma­ry schools and Rela­tion­ships and Sex Edu­ca­tion a com­pul­so­ry sub­ject in all sec­ondary schools. On 19 Decem­ber 2017 the Gov­ern­ment launched a con­sul­ta­tion on what should be taught in these new com­pul­so­ry sub­jects.

We believe that Mus­lims should speak up and active­ly pro­vide their input into their con­sul­ta­tion process.

Why should you care as a Mus­lim? Lis­ten to this short Intr­erview on BBC Radio Wales:

 

What is Changing?

Seconday Schools:

In all Sec­ondary schools RSE (Rela­tion­ships and Sex Edu­ca­tion) will be made statu­to­ry, includ­ing faith and inde­pen­dent schools. The right to with­draw will remain but the gov­ern­ment is re-writ­ing what was once the parental right to with­draw, to take into account the con­sent of chil­dren. It is unclear how this will work in prac­tice and whether chil­dren of a par­tic­u­lar age will have the right to con­sent or not, over and above parental wish­es. Nonethe­less what we have heard so far sug­gests the parental right to with­draw will like­ly change.

Primary Schools:

All Pri­ma­ry schools will intro­duce a new sub­ject, Rela­tion­ships Edu­ca­tion (RE). The con­cern is that there will be no right to with­draw, unless a school decides to teach SRE out­side of an RE les­son. Tak­ing the sex out of SRE is meant to allay parental fears. A name change can­not assuage con­cerns that schools will sneak ide­o­log­i­cal­ly-moti­vat­ed ele­ments con­cern­ing sex and sex­u­al­i­ty into RE just as some include sex­u­al con­tent into statu­to­ry sci­ence to bypass the parental right to with­draw. It is also clear that the very same jus­ti­fi­ca­tions for mak­ing the sub­ject statu­to­ry – the pro­lif­er­a­tion of porn and sex­ting as a phe­nom­e­non – will be the excus­es for intro­duc­ing greater sex­u­al con­tent into the minds of pre-pubes­cent chil­dren.

Purley Mosque Workshop:

Shaykh Suli­man Gani (HA) helped organ­ise a work­shop on this top­ic and the record­ing answers most of the ques­tions, we rec­om­mend for Mus­lims to watch it here:

SPUC:

Soci­ety for the Pro­tec­tion of Unborn Chil­dren (SPUC) is the old­est pro-life cam­paign­ing and edu­ca­tion­al organ­i­sa­tion in the world, found­ed in Jan­u­ary 1967.

They have put togeth­er some rec­om­men­da­tions on how the response should be con­struct­ed. You SHOULD NOT copy/paste their response but you can read and rephrase their ideas in your response. 

Government consultation: Sex & Relationship Education

The dead­line for this consul­ta­tion is 12 Feb­ru­ary 2018 and here is the link. The ques­tions in the con­sul­ta­tion and sug­ges­tive text by SPUC with mod­i­fi­ca­tions from us is as fol­lows:

Question 1:

Think­ing about rela­tion­ships edu­ca­tion in pri­ma­ry schools, what do you believe are the three most impor­tant sub­ject areas that should be taught for dif­fer­ent age groups/key stages and why. Please include any con­sid­er­a­tions or evi­dence which informed your choic­es.

 

You SHOULD NOT copy/paste the text below in your response but feel free to use the ideas.

 

The ratio­nale behind this new com­pul­so­ry sub­ject is to intro­duce chil­dren at the ear­li­est pos­si­ble age to the idea of diver­si­ty of rela­tion­ships. Indeed, the Gov­ern­ment has stat­ed clear­ly that the new sub­ject will be LGBT inclu­sive. Very young chil­dren will be told that two men or two women in a rela­tion­ship or mar­riage is as valid and nat­ur­al as a man and a woman. The pro­mo­tion of same-sex rela­tion­ships opens up the scope to intro­duce gen­der issues, with chil­dren encour­aged to ques­tion their gen­der and the very idea of there being two dis­tinct sex­es.

There is already a pletho­ra of young children’s sto­ry books, resources and teach­ing pro­grammes to enable teach­ers to deliv­er this con­tent.  A fur­ther aspect of this new sub­ject is the empha­sis on keep­ing chil­dren safe from sex­u­al abuse. Many schools already invite groups such as the NSPCC to give class­es or assem­blies on stay­ing safe from sex­u­al abuse. But talk­ing to chil­dren about stay­ing safe from sex­u­al abuse isnot the same as talk­ing about mat­ters like road safe­ty. How­ev­er child–friendly the approach may be, there are risks attached to intro­duc­ing the­sub­ject of child sex­u­al abuse to young chil­dren. A child’s sex­u­al inno­cence may be dis­turbed or chil­dren may wor­ry undu­ly that they might be vic­tims of abuse. Chil­dren may become sus­pi­cious of nor­mal inter­ac­tion with their par­ents. A very wor­ry­ing aspect of class lessons on children’s sex­u­al safe­ty is that chil­dren are encour­aged to by pass their par­ents and to con­tact organ­i­sa­tions like Child­line or con­fide in an adult oth­er than their par­ents on any issues that con­cerns them. The over­whelm­ing major­i­ty of chil­dren are not being abused and class­room dis­cus­sions on sex abuse can under­mine the rela­tion­ship between chil­dren and their par­ents.

Suggested priority subject areas:

  1. Basic social skills which sup­port parental teach­ing and dis­ci­pline, such as:
    1. Kind­ness towards friends
    2. Telling the truth
  2. Respect­ful behav­iour towards par­ents, teach­ers and oth­ers in author­i­ty
    1. Val­ue of human life
    2. Every child is spe­cial to their moth­er and father, who are the most impor­tant peo­ple in
      their lives
    3. No child’s life is a mis­take
    4. Every child has a pur­pose or voca­tion in life
    5. Some chil­dren have spe­cial needs and are equal­ly val­ued
    6. Everyone’s body is pre­cious and to be pro­tect­ed, with an empha­sis on the home as the
      pri­ma­ry place where chil­dren learn to look after their bod­ies.
  3. Val­ue of fam­i­ly
    1. The impor­tance and val­ue of mar­riage between a man and a woman and the nat­ur­al fam­i­ly
    2. The dif­fer­ent gifts and tal­ents that men and women can bring to mar­riage and the fam­i­ly
    3. Age-appro­pri­ate pre­sen­ta­tion of the unique­ness of the sex­es and how they com­ple­ment
      each oth­erThe cour­te­sies and respect due to each of the sex­es (for exam­ple, men tak­ing on hard­er phys­i­cal tasks etc.

Question 2:

Think­ing about rela­tion­ships and sex edu­ca­tion in sec­ondary schools, what do you believe are the three most impor­tant sub­ject areas that should be taught for dif­fer­ent age groups/key stages and why. Please include any con­sid­er­a­tions or evi­dence which informed your choic­es.

You SHOULD NOT copy/paste the text below in your response but feel free to use the ideas.

As with pri­ma­ry schools, the LGBT agen­da is being pro­mot­ed in Sec­ondary schools, espe­cial­ly as part of anti-bul­ly­ing pro­grammes and ini­tia­tives.  How­ev­er, in sec­ondary schools, this agen­da is more aggres­sive and explic­it.

Stonewall cam­paigns for the equal­i­ty of les­bian, gay, bisex­u­al and trans peo­ple across Britain and has a wide out­reach to schools, includ­ing faith schools.

Sec­ondary schools are becom­ing increas­ing­ly sex­u­alised and this is like­ly to get worse now Rela­tion­ships and Sex Edu­ca­tion is a com­pul­so­ry sub­ject.

Suggested priority subject areas:

  1. The pur­pose and nature of male and female sex­u­al­i­ty in rela­tion to nat­ur­al mar­riage
    1. The unique­ness and com­ple­men­tary nature of the sex­es.
    2. The ben­e­fits of sav­ing sex for the right per­son in mar­riage.
    3. The gift of new life.
    4. The impor­tance of nat­ur­al mar­riage for rais­ing and nur­tur­ing chil­dren
  2. The dan­gers of abus­ing sex­u­al­i­ty
    1. The men­tal and phys­i­cal health risks of promis­cu­ity and homo­sex­u­al prac­tices.
    2. The long-term   con­se­quences of rela­tion­ship deci­sions.
    3. Nat­ur­al mar­riage as the fun­da­men­tal build­ing block of soci­ety
      1. The pos­i­tive ben­e­fits to indi­vid­u­als and to soci­ety of nat­ur­al fam­i­lies

Question 3:

We are par­tic­u­lar­ly inter­est­ed in under­stand­ing stake­hold­er views on Rela­tion­ships Edu­ca­tion and RSE which are spe­cif­ic to the dig­i­tal con­text. Are there impor­tant aspects of ensur­ing safe online rela­tion­ships that would not oth­er­wise be cov­ered in wider Rela­tion­ships Edu­ca­tion and Rela­tion­ships and Sex Edu­ca­tion, or as part of the com­put­ing cur­ricu­lum?

You SHOULD NOT copy/paste the text below in your response but feel free to use the ideas.

The emer­gence of new dig­i­tal sex­u­al threats since the last Gov­ern­ment guide­lines on sex edu­ca­tion in 2000, has been one of the main jus­ti­fi­ca­tions for mak­ing RSE com­pul­so­ry in all schools.  Whilst it is right that we are all con­cerned about online dan­gers, a major con­cern is t
hat par­ents are not seen as at all rel­e­vant to the safe­guard­ing process. Indeed, the Children’s Com­mis­sion­er, Anne Long­field, in her 2017report, Grow­ing Up Dig­i­tal, stat­ed that “par­ents are always going to be on the back foot, which is why we need to take greater action to shift the bal­ance of pow­er towards chil­dren”.

Many schools are tack­ling issues such as pornog­ra­phy, but many par­ents will not be aware of exact­ly how this top­ic is pre­sent­ed. Pupils do not nec­es­sar­i­ly get strong mes­sages that pornog­ra­phy is dan­ger­ous and dam­ag­ing. Instead, the wide­ly accept­ed approach is to be non-judg­men­tal and sim­ply to encour­age chil­dren to be more crit­i­cal­ly dis­cern­ing and self-aware con­sumers of pornog­ra­phy. In oth­er words, school chil­dren are told pornog­ra­phy is fine as long as you don’t con­fuse it with real life. For exam­ple, a resource for a les­son on pornog­ra­phy is the card game “Plan­et Porn” where pupils decide whether images come from plan­et porn or the real world. Play­ing a game is not an appro­pri­ate way to pro­tect chil­dren from the scourge of pornog­ra­phy.

Suggested priority subject areas:

  1. Schools work­ing with par­ents to safe­guard chil­dren from online threats
    1. Par­ents are best placed to mon­i­tor and con­trol their child’s use of the inter­net, espe­cial­ly mobile phones, in order to ensure online safe­ty
    2. Schools can advise and work with par­ents on strate­gies to keep inter­net use safe and to an accept­able lev­el, for exam­ple via work­shops and oth­er ini­tia­tives.
    3. Par­ents run­ning work­shops to help oth­er par­ents tack­le these issues.
  2. Set­ting dig­i­tal sex­u­al threats with­in the con­text of the true mean­ing of human sex­u­al­i­ty
    1. Chil­dren and young peo­ple will only be equipped to resist and avoid online threats if they have a prop­er under­stand­ing of the pur­pose and nature of human sex­u­al­i­ty. Only then will they see how the abuse of sex­u­al­i­ty is destruc­tive.
    2. Leav­ing dig­i­tal sex­u­al threats in the non-judge­men­tal vac­u­um pro­posed by the sex edu­ca­tion lob­by, offers no real guid­ance or bound­aries for chil­dren and young peo­ple
    3. School pupils need guid­ance to nav­i­gate the moral chal­lenges of the world they are grow­ing up in and, in most cas­es, par­ents are the best guides for their own chil­dren.

Question 4:

We are also inter­est­ed in under­stand­ing more about how schools com­mu­ni­cate with par­ents on Rela­tion­ships Edu­ca­tion and RSE and are able to make informed deci­sions that best meet the needs of their chil­dren. This includes a right to with­draw their child from sex edu­ca­tion with­in the RSE sub­ject but not from sex edu­ca­tion in the nation­al cur­ricu­lum for sci­ence. How should schools effec­tive­ly con­sult par­ents so they can make informed deci­sions that meet the needs of their child, includ­ing on the right to with­draw? For exam­ple, how often, on what issues and by what means?

You SHOULD NOT copy/paste the text below in your response but feel free to use the ideas.

  • It is essen­tial that par­ents are con­sult­ed first­ly on the school’s pol­i­cy on Rela­tion­ships and Sex Edu­ca­tion. Schools should make it pos­si­ble for all par­ents, who wish to do so, to give their input.
  • Par­ents should also be con­sult­ed with regard to the finalised pol­i­cy, which, there­after, should be eas­i­ly avail­able online for all par­ents to view. For instance, pan­els involv­ing par­ents, teach­ers and gov­er­nors are one way of facil­i­tat­ing this.
  • Par­ents should be ful­ly involved when deci­sions are made about which teach­ing resources are to be used.
  • Par­ents should be the ones to deter­mine what is age-appro­pri­ate regard­ing teach­ing mate­ri­als.
  • Many sex edu­ca­tion resources aimed at pri­ma­ry school chil­dren con­tain sex­u­al­ly explic­it con­tent which most par­ents would not use when talk­ing about this top­ic to their chil­dren.
  • Where par­ents want to with­draw their child from sex edu­ca­tion, the school should have a clear, eas­i­ly acces­si­ble sys­tem forachiev­ing this.
  • Regard­ing Rela­tion­ships and Sex Edu­ca­tion, par­ents should have full dis­clo­sure of what is going to be taught.
  • Par­ents must be able to deter­mine which aspects of rela­tion­ships edu­ca­tion they con­sid­er are sex­u­al and from which they should be able to with­draw their child.
  • Par­ents should also be con­sult­ed about the way in which human rela­tion­ships are pre­sent­ed in the class­room. Teach­ing chil­dren about sub­jects such as same-sex rela­tion­ships and trans­gen­derism are inher­ent­ly sex­u­al and there­fore the parental right to with­draw must be respect­ed and applied in such cas­es.

Government consultation: Personal, Social, Health and Economic education (PSHE)

The same con­sul­ta­tion con­tin­ues when you click next with 3 addi­tion­al ques­tions.

Question 1:

Think­ing about PSHE in pri­ma­ry schools, what do you believe are the three most impor­tant sub­ject areas that should be taught and why? Please include your rea­sons for choos­ing each sub­ject area or evi­dence to sup­port your sug­ges­tions.

We have giv­en rec­om­men­da­tions in the last sec­tion.

Question 2:

Think­ing about PSHE in sec­ondary schools, what do you believe are the three most impor­tant sub­ject areas that should be taught and why? Please also include your rea­sons for choos­ing each sub­ject area or evi­dence to sup­port your sug­ges­tions.

You SHOULD NOT copy/paste the text below in your response but feel free to use the ideas.

PSHE stands for Per­son­al, Social, Health and Eco­nom­ic edu­ca­tion. Until now top­ics have typ­i­cal­ly includ­ed, for instance: alco­hol, smok­ing and drugs, per­son­al health, bul­ly­ing, cit­i­zen­ship, democ­ra­cy and human rights, careers and the world of work, per­son­al finance, fam­i­ly and rela­tion­ships, sex edu­ca­tion.

The last two top­ics now con­sti­tute the new com­pul­so­ry sub­jects. The Chil­dren and Social Work Act 2017 did not auto­mat­i­cal­ly make PSHE a com­pul­so­ry sub­ject, but instead gives the deci­sion on whether or not it should be com­pul­so­ry to the Sec­re­tary of State for Edu­ca­tion, stip­u­lat­ing only that this will be after con­sul­ta­tion with ‘such per­sons as the Sec­re­tary of State con­sid­ers appro­pri­ate’.

We expect­ed that a ques­tion on whether PSHE should be com­pul­so­ry would be includ­ed in this  con­sul­ta­tion. But there is no such ques­tion. The ques­tions are about the con­tent of PSHE.

The con­cern about the top­ics includ­ed in PSHE is that seem­ing­ly sen­si­ble sub­jects like cit­i­zen­ship or com­bat­ting bul­ly­ing have been hijacked to pro­mote homo­sex­u­al­i­ty and trans­gen­derism. This is par­tic­u­lar­ly the case because of the oblig­a­tion on schools to pro­mote so-called Fun­da­men­tal British Val­ues, which include a dis­tort­ed notion of ‘tol­er­ance’ with regard to homo­sex­u­al behav­iour. This is exac­er­bat­ed by the 2010 Equal­i­ty Act, in which schools and oth­er pub­lic insti­tu­tions must take ‘pos­i­tive action’ on ‘dis­crim­i­na­tion’ against peo­ple with ‘pro­tect­ed char­ac­ter­is­tics’ which include ‘sex­u­al ori­en­ta­tion’, ‘gen­der reas­sign­ment’ and ‘mar­riage and civ­il part­ner­ship’ (which now includes same- sex mar­riages).

Suggested priority subject areas:

We sug­gest that you offer your own ideas about what kind of top­ics you think would best pre­pare chil­dren for life in the adult world eg. prac­ti­cal advice on finan­cial plan­ning, health and safe­ty, etc. In par­tic­u­lar, we sug­gest that you pro­pose top­ics which do not sub­ject young peo­ple to ide­o­log­i­cal indoc­tri­na­tion.

Question 3:

How much flex­i­bil­i­ty do you think schools should have to meet the needs of indi­vid­ual pupils and to reflect the diver­si­ty of local com­mu­ni­ties and wider soci­ety in the con­tent of PSHE lessons in schools?

You SHOULD NOT copy/paste the text below in your response but feel free to use the ideas.

This ques­tion is real­ly about encour­ag­ing schools to pro­mote the LGBT agen­da with­in PSHE lessons. A typ­i­cal sit­u­a­tion would be the pres­ence of one pupil ques­tion­ing his or her ‘gen­der’ or declar­ing his or her ‘sex­u­al ori­en­ta­tion’ giv­ing rise to the pro­mo­tion of these issues to the whole class. While it is impor­tant that any young per­son fac­ing dif­fi­cul­ties with such per­son­al mat­ters should be prop­er­ly cared for, we should ques­tion whether the cor­rect pas­toral care for such a per­son is to affirm and encour­age harm­ful lifestyle choic­es. This can be trou­bling and poten­tial­ly harm­ful for oth­er young peo­ple in the class.

Suggested priority subject areas:

Schools should not be able to use PSHE lessons to:

  • Under­mine the faith val­ues of stu­dents and their fam­i­lies
  • Pro­mote diverse sex­u­al ori­en­ta­tions
  • Den­i­grate nat­ur­al mar­riage
  • Encour­age chil­dren and teenagers to ques­tion their sex­u­al­i­ty or gen­der
  • Present sex­u­al­ly provoca­tive mate­ri­als in the class­room

Schools should have the flex­i­bil­i­ty and scope to teach PSHE is line with their ethos and, in the case of faith schools, accord­ing to the tenets of their reli­gion. Head­teach­ers should not be put under pres­sure to deliv­er con­tent at odds with the school’s val­ues and which many par­ents would find objec­tion­able.

Acknowl­edge­ment

We acknowl­edge and appre­ci­ate the work of SPUC and con­tri­bu­tion of Anto­nia Tul­ly. It is not­ed that while the teach­ings of Islam and Chris­tian­i­ty may slight­ly dif­fer on the fin­er details, it is encour­ag­ing to see that we are work­ing togeth­er to bring a pos­i­tive change to our coun­try and our soci­ety.