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The Education Secretary responds to a growing debate after Muslim and Christian parents withdrew their children from classes on same-sex relationships.
The Education Secretary of the UK government has said “a parental veto on curriculum content” is not an option for parents.
LGBT issues will be part of sex education becoming compulsory in all British schools in 2020.
Damien Hinds responded to a letter of the National Association of Head Teachers. He wrote: “It is regrettable that myths and misinformation about the forthcoming relationships education changes in primary schools, circulated often by individuals with no links to the education system, are undermining the hard work of head teachers and the legitimate right of parents to be consulted on what their children are being taught about relationships”.
“We want schools to consult parents, listen to their views, and make reasonable decisions about how to proceed”, Hinds said, but added that “consultation does not provide a parental veto on curriculum content”.
GROWING DEBATE ABOUT LGBT ISSUES AT SCHOOL
The public statement of the Education Ministry comes after Muslim and Christian parents - as well as faith organisations - have expressed their disagreement with the inclusion of LGBT issues in sex education in schools.
In February, hundreds of parents in the city of Birmingham withdrew their children from a programme called “No Outsiders”, where pupils were told about same-sex relationships and “families that have two daddies and two mummies”. Most of the parents were from a Muslim background, and considered these teachings contradicted their faith.
Responding to the protests, Chief Inspector of Ofsted (the authority educational centres) told the BBC all schools – including those with a faith ethos – would continue to address LGBT issues. “It’s about making sure that children who do happen to realise that they themselves may not fit a conventional pattern [of family] know that they're not bad or ill”.
According to newspaper Express, a Muslim protestor said: “What they are teaching is not right, they are too young (…) There are nine parts of the Equality Act and they only seem to be focusing on one, homosexuality, and that is wrong”. She added: “It’s not just because we are Muslims, there are Christians here too. We don't have a vendetta against homosexuals and we respect the Act”.
The director of Advocacy of the Evangelical Alliance United Kingdom, Dave Landrum, said: “Parents know best, and the government needs to respect that”. He added: “The consultation should be shaped not by politics or ideologies, but by parents, who care most and know what is best for their children in terms of what is told and when it is told”.