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Government votes against introducing compulsory sex and relationship education

Conservative MPs have voted against compulsory sex and relationship, including gay and LGBT sex and relationship education in schools.

Parliament
CREDIT: TheGayUK / Jake Hook
  • 15 MPs voted on the tabled amendment 10 Conservative 5 Labour

  • The amendment would have made provision to add same-sex sex and relationship advice

  • The amendment would have made sex education mandatory to all UK schools, including faith schools.

As the law currently stands state schools must provide sex education from a biological point of view, which leaves the UK’s gay and bisexual pupils at risk of not learning about gay sex and LGBT relationships. Free schools and academies, including faith schools, are allowed to opt out of giving these classes.

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No schools are required to teach their pupils about the emotional aspects of sex or relationships.

A new amendment to the Children and Social Work Bill was tabled this week by an all-female group of MPs. The amendment would have provisioned that all UK schools must make lessons on “sex and relationships education, same-sex relationships, sexual consent, sexual violence and domestic violence” mandatory.

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The amendment was voted on by 15 MPs. Ten Conservative and 5 Labour. All the Conservative MPs voted against the amendment, all the Labour MPs voted for it.

No other political party was represented on the bill committee.

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Conservative MP for North Dorset, Simon Hoare said that the amendment did not offer religious schools who oppose homosexuality enough protections.

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He said,

“Some form of protection is needed for those who run faith schools, all faiths, to make the position absolutely clear.

“I have little or no doubt that I will receive emails from constituents who happen to read my remarks. They will say that this is all about promotion, and this or that religion thinks that homosexuality—or another element—is not right.

“To provide a legislative comfort blanket, for want of a better phrase, the new clause needs to include a clear statement that we are talking not about promotion, but about education, and where sex education is delivered in a faith school environment, those providing the education should not feel inhibited about answering questions such as “What is the thinking of our faith on this particular aspect of sexuality?”

The number of sexually transmitted infections amongst the UK’s gay and bisexual teenagers and young adults has soared in recent years and Public Health England warned in 2016 that 36% of new infections in 2015 were found in those aged just 15 to 24, the highest increase in a single age group.

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