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With effect from 1st September 2020 the Government has introduced, through Regulations and Statutory Guidance, compulsory Relationships Education (RE) for all primary school children, compulsory Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) for all secondary school children, and compulsory Health Education (HE) for all primary and secondary school children.
We believe that the nature and scope of these Regulations and Guidance undermine parental rights to direct the upbringing of their children according to their religious and philosophical beliefs and to protect their children from content that they consider inappropriate for their children’s age and stage. We also believe that the Regulations and Statutory Guidance are an unlawful interference with important parental rights. Furthermore, we do not believe that Parliament actually wishes to push forward the sexualisation of young children and ignore their religious background. We believe that the DfE has acted contrary to Parliament’s will.
We are confident there are strong grounds for a Judicial Review of the DfE’s actions, and have instructed Paul Diamond, a leading human rights barrister, to proceed.
- We have now received a response from the court. Unfortunately the Court of Appeal (CoA) has refused permission for us to appeal against the refusal of the High Court to grant permission to apply for judicial review regarding RSE. They have refused permission on the grounds that the claim was brought ‘out of time’. The judge had the option to exercise discretion and to extend the time for bringing the claim, but declined to exercise this discretion. The judge asserted that the time for bringing challenges to legislation runs from when it is made, not when it comes into force. For individuals, the time runs from when they are affected by the legislation ie: when the Guidance was issued. Our legal team are surprised by the decision, and believe that these assertions by the judge do not agree with a number of CoA decisions, which suggest that time starts when the legislation comes into force. Were that the case, we would have been on time. We are reviewing next steps.(Updated 17/3/21)
- We are still waiting to hear back from the Court of Appeal. They confirmed in December that there was a backlog within the Court system, and they could not give us a time estimate, but the delay is now becoming unacceptable and we are chasing them for an update. (Updated 8/2/21)
- We filed our appeal to the Court of Appeal on Monday 14th December. We have 14 days from that date to submit a Skeleton argument to the Court, which will be done. Given the Christmas Holidays, the team believe the Lord Justice of Appeal will likely make the decision in January. (Updated 23/12/20)
- We have now received the full judgment from the High Court. The Judge considered that all our claims on parental rights are arguable. However, we have not yet been given permission to go to a full hearing because the judge agreed with the government that there was too much delay in bringing the case. This is a surreal situation because prior to launching our case the government claimed that it was premature and we needed to wait until we were directly affected before bringing it! We filed the case the very same day the Regulations and Guidance came into force and on the basis of multiple established Court of Appeal authorities we are confident that we were entirely in time to bring this action. We will be filing our appeal to the Court of Appeal on Monday 14th December, to resolve the issue of delay and to ensure that this crucial case proceeds. (Updated 10/12/20)
- The Permission Hearing will take place on Thursday 3rd December at 11.30am. We have been granted an extension from the initial 30 minutes, to 1 hour. It is thought the Judge will give his ruling on the day. (Updated 2/12/20)
- The Court has listed the Permission Hearing for 3rd December for 30 mins. Whilst we believe 30 minutes is too little time, we are nonetheless happy to have a date to work towards. Our Solicitor will be notified in due course of the method of the hearing, as some courts are conducting their business face to face, and others online, so how this one will be conducted is as yet unknown. (Updated 6/11/20)
- As you may recall, we were waiting to hear from the Court, about permission to proceed to the Judicial Review. On Thursday 22nd October, we received a letter advising us that permission to apply for Judicial Review has been refused. We were refused on the basis of time – the Judge ruling that the challenge to both the Regulations and the Guidance is hopelessly out of time, and that there is, in his opinion, no good reason to extend time. We have the right to appeal, and given we do not agree with the Judge that there is no good reason to extend time, we will Appeal within 7 days. So we are pressing on… (Updated 27/10/20)
- We’ve been asked if there has been a recent victory over RSE in schools. In recent communications, the Government have been adamant that the recently published materials (including non statutory Guidance on implementation of RSE teaching) were in no way a “concession” and that the “guidance under challenge in the present claim remains in force”. That being the case, the Let Kids Be Kids Coalition challenge of that Statutory Guidance and the lack of Parental Right of Withdrawal, remains steadfast and in need of your support. (Updated 9/10/20)
- We filed a Claim at the start of September, and the Governments response arrived 24th September. A decision will now be made by a Judge regarding whether there is a case to be answered (the requirement for Judicial Review), and if so, a date for the hearing will be set. On the same day, the Government also issued new Guidance. We believe it shows a significant shift in the Governments attitude, but this does not mean our work stops, not least because it does not address the Parental Right of Withdrawal, so we continue. (Updated 1/10/20)
- We submitted a Letter Before Claim to the DfE on 10th July setting out our objections to the Regulations and the Statutory Guidance. A reply has now been received and we expect to proceed with a claim to the High Court for a Judicial Review. They replied that the RSE curriculum was lawful, even though LKBKC have already heard from concerned parents about inappropriate material being introduced into schools. This includes sexually explicit content and ideological beliefs about sex and gender, which has been upsetting for children and parents alike. We asked in the Letter Before Claim about the 1500 Early Adopter Schools that have already introduced RSE, such as those in Birmingham where the parents had to protest against what was being taught to their children. The DfE refused to supply any information because they told us they don’t hold any such information, which we found interesting. The DfE have said they are ‘hugely grateful’ to the 1500 Early Adopter Schools who ‘already deliver much of the content set out in the statutory Guidance and do so very well’. Again, we find it interesting that the DfE assert they don’t know what is being taught as part of the RSE curriculum, whilst highly sexualised teaching is being given to children in schools which they are thanking. (Updated 1/8/2020)