Practical Tips For Parents/Guardians Concerned About RSE
Many people have asked us for specific advice on what they can do at their school, or to raise awareness of the issues. Below is a summary of our suggestions:
School Consultation – You have a right to be consulted on the RSE policy and curriculum for your child’s school, so ask about it in a non-confrontational way, asking to see the materials they plan to use:
- Should the resources they show you be of concern, you can find details of age appropriate RSE resources which you could recommend to your school at the following link: https://rseauthentic.uk.
- For more information about school consultations, how to approach your school and what questions to ask, you can see the Safe at School publication Important Information for Parents.
Contact your MP and discuss your concerns, and show them some of the resources – don’t just talk about it, as the visual is sadly very powerful. A note of caution: Some of these resources are officially recommended by the DfE, so don’t simply accept the bland reassurance that ‘that sort of thing’ is never used, as our partner reports of a lot of MPs saying ‘it may happen elsewhere, but the materials used in our schools would never include that sort of thing.’ See here for information highlighting resource concerns:
Write a letter to your School Governors / Local Education Authority / Faith Leaders – explaining what is in the regulations – see below for specifics:
- Under international and UK law, parents have an absolute right to have children educated in line with their religious or philosophical beliefs (European Convention on Human Rights, Article 1, Protocol 2; The Human Rights Act 1998, Schedule I, Part II, Article 2; The Education Act 1996, s.9). In line with this, prior to the passing of the RSE Regulations, parents have had an absolute and unquestioned right to withdraw children from teaching that is in conflict with their religious beliefs or that they feel to be inappropriate. Under the new Regulations, however, although the parental right of withdrawal continues at Primary level – where there is actually no requirement that children receive sex education – at Secondary level this right has been effectively removed, becoming now merely a right to request withdrawal, subject to agreement by the Head teacher. On top of that, from age 15, children themselves have the right to decide to opt in, irrespective of the wishes of their parents.
- For those whose children attend faith schools you can contact the relevant faith representatives responsible for education. For example, for a Catholic this would be the Director of Education and Episcopal Vicar for Education of the diocese. You may also consider writing to your Bishop or Diocesan leader, to pursue the matter further.
Relationships and Sex Education Student Withdrawal – Template Letter available from Parent Power – click here to download from Parent Power (in the middle of the home page).
Contact Parent Power or Safe at School if you need specific help
- ParentPower can help you with letters, details of the law, and on the spot advocacy and support. Please contact them, assert your Civil Rights and protect your children. Email: [email protected] or visit: https://parentpower.family/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/CIVIL-RIGHTS-OF-RSE-PP.pdf
- Safe at School is an additional source of help and support. You can contact them in the first instance at [email protected]
Sign the LKBKC petition to reinstate Parental Rights of Withdrawal, which is being sent to the Prime Minister – https://citizengo.org/en-gb/fm/182222-uphold-parental-rights-withdraw-children-rse
Resources without sexualising content. The website https://rseauthentic.uk provides examples of RSE resources which do not sexualise children. These can be recommended to your child’s school or used in the home.
Support the legal case which LKBKC are bringing, with financial assistance – https://letkidsbekidscoalition.org/support-us
Support the case by spreading the word –
- On social media – find us at https://twitter.com/LkbkC or https://www.facebook.com/LKBKC
- In the press
- On the radio or television
- In parent groups
- ..and any area of influence… Far too many people do NOT know what children are being subjected to in the classroom. Visit our website to find out more – https://letkidsbekidscoalition.org
The Let Kids Be Kids Coalition believes that parents are responsible for the upbringing of their own children and that Parliament has a legal duty to ensure that any education provision in sensitive ethical and moral fields is in conformity with the parents’ religious and philosophical convictions.
Under current law sex education is mandatory in all maintained schools – but parents have an unqualified right to withdraw their children from sex education classes, no questions asked. Independent schools are not required to teach sex education. So parents’ rights to ensure education in conformity with their religious and philosophical convictions are respected.
With effect from 1st September 2020 the Government has introduced 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.
- The DfE is encouraging the teaching of Relationships Education and Health Education to include content that amounts to sex education. But parents will have no veto over the curriculum content, even when it conflicts with firmly-held moral and religious convictions, and parents will have no right to withdraw their children from these new subjects.
- Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) will be compulsory in all secondary schools (maintained schools and independent schools). However, parents’ rights to withdraw their children from RSE will be significantly limited: the final decision is up to the head teacher, and the right effectively ceases to apply three terms before the child turns 16.
The LKBK Coalition is concerned that mandatory Relationships Education and Health Education in primary school will include content that is inappropriate for young children and that the fundamental principle of parental control will be undermined. The Coalition is also concerned that the right of parents to remove their children from sex education is being severely limited.