As in Northern Ireland, there is a consultation on how the Scottish government will further develop what it calls its Relationships, Sex, Health and Parenting (RSHP) curriculum for schools.
Please respond by 22 November.
The plans strongly encourages schools and other local authority organisations that work with young people to develop an approach to embed LGBTQI teaching throughout all kinds of lessons – not just in standalone sessions.
The detailed guidance has some seemingly positive statements for Christian parents, but trends towards a state driven moral agenda to shape school culture with a strong LGBT emphasis.
‘Embed LGBT inclusive education’
The new guidance promises to:
“…embed lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) inclusive education across the curriculum and to review the delivery of Personal and Social Education (PSE).”
And to be:
“…providing more detail on the process for withdrawing a child or young person from relationships, sexual health and parenthood education.”
In addition, there are new sections on the following five topics: consent and healthy relationships; faith and belief; gender inclusive education; inclusion of understanding about differences of sex development (DSD)/variations in sex characteristics (VSC)/intersex people; lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) inclusive education.
Although faith and belief seem to be more recognised in the new guidance in section 3, the ongoing emphases continue to be of huge concern. This includes a ‘sex positive’ or consent-based approach and ‘inclusive’ transgender ideology infusing many of the RSHP.Scot resources.
The clear prioritisation of sexual orientation and gender identity teaching is exemplified in the following statement:
‘To enable LGBT inclusive education across the curriculum, there should also be an emphasis on the importance of interdisciplinary learning, including but not exclusively, through Expressive Arts, Languages, Literacy, Health and Wellbeing, Numeracy, Religious and Moral Education, Sciences and Social Studies’
Parents acknowledged as ‘primary educators’
The new consultation documents themselves make the case for the importance of parental views.
They state: “As the primary educators of their children, it is important for parents and carers to offer their views on the content of the revised guidance.”
It is good that this is acknowledged. Christian – and indeed all parents in Scotland – must take the opportunity to reinforce the nature of their primacy as educators of their children and their desire for their children not to be encultured into ideological perspectives contrary to their faith.
If you are a parent in Scotland, please read through the document and consider contributing your own views in answer to the consultation questions.
Suggested key points for your responses:
Most questions are asked about ‘clarity’ of different parts of the guidance, and wherever you have concerns, you should answer that there is no helpful and practical clarity unless these points are clearer:
- That the embedding of LGBT inclusive education as a whole school approach is not appropriate and unnecessarily sexualises and politicises topics, subjects and even the wider culture of Scottish schools.
- That instead of recommending resources and providers that are ‘sex positive’, others materials and groups should be listed that encourage abstinence from sexual activity and from viewing pornography. These can and should be chosen by schools (examples given below)
- That it is impossible for any teaching on Relationships and Sex to be morally neutral, and that even the decision to teach about these topics is a moral and ethical decision, which should be left to parents to decide for their sons and daughters.
- That it should be emphasised that the RSHP.scot resources do not present a balanced perspective and are not mandatory to use.
- That there should remain a right to see all curriculum resources used and a right to remove a child from any aspects a parent deems unsuitable regarding any teaching of LGBT issues or sexual behaviour, especially where it becomes embedded across other subject areas.
More specific responses recommended by question:
Question 1: Is the draft introduction clear on the status and application of the guidance? Are there further additions required?
The wholesale acceptance of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) Inclusive Education Working Group’s recommendations can be criticised as being unclear in its approach and inappropriate in nature. In the introduction, the ‘thematic outcomes’ being suggested to become embedded are phrased vaguely. You can say you believe there is lack of clarity and even a deliberate attempt to camouflage the broader introduction of gender identity ideology. Examples include the guidance using phrases such as ‘terminologies and identities’ to explain what should be taught as part of a whole school approach. Express your own opinions in line with the 5 key points above.
Question 2: How clear is the purpose of the RSHP education section?
You should state there is a lack of clarity about the teaching of children to become ‘empowered and active bystanders’. The expressed purpose in the guidance is to encourage children to challenge each other without adult oversight and intervention. It seems to aim at promoting alignment to one ideological perspective through the children themselves. This is inappropriate, especially when used as part of Religious and Moral Education (RME) as stated in 2.5. It is also wrong to suggest pupils should codesign the curriculum in this sensitive and controversial area, where no upper limits are stated of what is or isn’t deemed age appropriate.
Question 3: Is the guidance sufficiently clear in relation to the rights of parents and carers; is the process for withdrawing a pupil sufficiently clear?
It is especially important here to indicate that paragraphs 2.13 and 2.14 are not strong enough. The word ‘must’ should replace the word ‘should’ in both, to ensure parents are free to remove children and to see resources. Also, it could be appropriate for parents to remove their children from the school site when requesting withdrawal, but there is no reference to schools’ ability to agree to this. You should also explain that even if embedded elsewhere, you should have a right to remove your child from any form of sexual teaching with which you disagree, even if it is not in the ‘sexual health’ component.
Question 4: How effective is the guidance in explaining the key issues to be highlighted to teachers in delivering RSHP education? How does this help bring consistency to learning?
You should say that the guidance is not effective as there is an expectation that all teachers must espouse a unified view on these controversial topics. This will potentially lead to a discrimination of Christian teachers’ viewpoints where they may be in the minority. You could cite Christian Concern cases such as that of Glawdys Leger, Joshua Sutcliffe or ‘Hannah’.
Question 5: Is the guidance sufficiently clear in supporting consent and healthy relationships having a greater focus in RSHP education?
The consent approach is deeply opposed to Christian teaching. You should emphasise that to prioritise abstinence, rather than consent would provide for healthy relationships for children. Sex between children is illegal and should be stated as such. Consent is, of course, relevant to adult relationships – with sexual relationships taking place within a covenant of marriage. But there is no evidence that such a ‘sex-positive’ or consent-based approach results in healthier relationships for children and young people. Emphasise point 4 above.
Question 6: Is the guidance sufficiently clear in ensuring faith and belief is accurately captured in RSHP education?
Welcome and reinforce the importance of this statement in 3.9 with relation to your Christian beliefs about sex and relationships: ‘Learners can feel excluded from learning if only one set of values or a theme has dominated learning, while their own beliefs, values and views are excluded.’ Emphasise the dangers of this not being clear in Scotland’s schools. Faith is protected in law and should have at least as high priority as the protected characteristic of sexual orientation.
Question 7: Is the guidance sufficiently clear in ensuring gender inclusive language is used to deliver RSHP education?
You should emphasise here your concerns about any embedding of gender identity ideology through the encouragements to explore gender related issues in school. Gender is a deeply contested term, and you should ask that the guidance should make clear that gender identity concepts are unscientific and harmful.
Question 8: Is the guidance sufficiently clear in explaining and including VSC/DSD/intersex people in RSHP education?
You should indicate the importance of clarity that biological conditions are distinct from psychological conditions (e.g. gender dysphoria). It is helpful that it is confirmed that these biological conditions affect under 0.02% of the population.
Question 9: Is the guidance sufficiently clear in ensuring RSHP education is LGBT inclusive?
Take your time to outline your personal concerns regarding children having ‘LGBTI inclusive’ education prioritised across all the subjects such as Expressive Arts, Languages, Literacy, Health and Wellbeing, Numeracy, Religious and Moral Education, Sciences and Social Studies. Sexual orientation is only one of the Equality Act’s protected characteristics and is significantly overemphasised through the proposed embedded teaching. This overemphasis gives it an elevated status over religion and other protected characteristics. You should say that the recommendations seem to be wholly directed by the LGBTI Inclusive Working Group, influenced by Stonewall, and indicates bias of Scotland’s education towards a political agenda.
Question 10: Are these key learning points sufficiently clear in explaining the requirements for RSHP education?
There are some summary points made here. You can reiterate any arguments you wish to here, using the 5 points above and your other answers.
Question 11: Is the guidance sufficiently clear in explaining the requirement for pupils with Additional Support Needs to have RSHP education?
You should state that this is not clear as neither the particular importance of parents, nor the increased potential for confusion is recognised in the guidance. Link in your responses to question 2 regarding parents’ involvement.
Question 12: Does the guidance provide sufficient resources and signposts to support teachers in delivery of RSHP education, if not, which resources do you think are missing?
You should state that having Stonewall’s resources linked to in the guidance is inappropriate due to their political and gender-ideology based activism. Other resources which you may want to recommend include: Respect Me from the Message Trust, Lovewise, Love for Life, CVE Scotland, or the resources on the website RSEAuthentic.uk.
Please respond by the end of Wednesday 22 November.