SRE

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.

Sign the Petition

Please take the time to sign this petition to affirm the parent’s fundamental right to teach their child RSE topics or to at least decide who teaches them and when and how they are taught.

Give parents the right to opt their child out of Relationship and Sex Education

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.