Parents have the right to be informed about sex education

27 October 2023

Head of Education Steve Beegoo comments on Gillian Keegan’s call for schools to inform parents about sex education in the classroom

Gillian Keegan, the Secretary of State for Education, has written to schools this week, making clear their responsibilities. Schools must show Relationship, Sex and Health Education (RSHE) resources to parents, and schools or organisations which refuse this on ‘copyright’ grounds are wrong to do so.

This is an encouraging affirmation of parental rights and a recognition that deeply inappropriate resources may have been used with millions of children across the country.

The number of concerned parents, governors and teachers contacting us at Christian Concern since the introduction of RSHE has been increasing month by month, demonstrating the scale of the problem. Activist teachers and leadership teams, bent on promoting unscientific and age-inappropriate gender identity theory, have clearly sought to shape teaching content to persuade children to become LGBTQ+ allies, and to understand themselves and others from a sexualised perspective. This is frequently concealed from parents, through not disclosing the RSHE resources in contravention of the law and guidance.

Vital to be informed

The letter to schools states,

It is vital that they (parents) know what their children are being taught and are reassured that the resources used are thoughtful and appropriate.”

…copyright law does not prevent schools from showing materials to parents in person.

Where contractual clauses exist that seek to prevent schools sharing resources with parents at all, they are void and unenforceable. This is because they contradict the clear public policy interest of ensuring that parents are aware of what their children are being taught in sex and relationships education.”

Legal confusion

The Times reported, how mother Clare Page lost a first-tier tribunal this summer after attempting to view the School of Sexuality Education’s “sex positive” lesson plan taught to her daughter.

The mother-of-two, from Lewisham, described Keegan’s comments as a “sidestep”. She had been deeply disturbed by her child being taught that ‘heteronormativity’ was bad. This is not a one-off: the organisation Educate and Celebrate, which came to light in our case with Rev Bernard Randall, had encouraged staff in their training to chant ‘smash heteronormativity!’

Activists losing the freedom to suppress disturbing content

Organisations such as Just Like Us are being given hundreds of thousands of pounds to provide resources and training services to thousands of schools, and these and other resources now must be shown fully to parents.

The report by Miriam Cates disturbed the Prime Minster so much that he initiated the work of an independent review panel on the scale of the problem. However, the government controversially refused to publish their findings. This letter may be a response to that panel’s conclusions, and indicate the level to which activists have been succeeding in supressing the sharing of disturbing lesson content.

Template letter

Gillian Keegan has gone so far as to even provide a template letter for schools to send to organisations, where they have denied the schools the ability to show the resources. In truth, many schools used copyright excuses in order not to disclose the harmful and disturbing content to parents which has been being delivered since the introduction of RSHE. There is a challenge to such schools, yet without a fully levelled accusation, in the tone of Keegan’s letter.

How schools should provide transparency

The letter explains,

The copyright act allows schools to copy resources proportionately, for the purposes of explaining to parents what is being taught. It is best practice to do this via a “parent portal” or if this is not possible, by a presentation. This access to the documents is accompanied by a sufficient acknowledgment of the provider’s authorship and includes a statement, that parents agree to as a condition of access, that the content should not be copied or shared further except as authorised under copyright law… Where parents cannot attend a presentation or where they are unable to view materials via a “parent portal”, schools may provide copies of materials to parents to take home on request, providing parents agree to a similar statement that they will not copy the content or share it further except as authorised under copyright law.”

Should you be a parent struggling to have RSHE resources disclosed to you, then this letter provides you with the specific and practical guidance schools are being given. If you need advice on how to successfully engage with your school, read our article on how to successfully raise your voice as a parent.

The government plans to publish updated RSHE guidance and transgender issues guidance for full public consultation later this year, which we pray will lead to increasingly transparent RSHE and a turning of the tide away from the gender identity teaching and sexualising content.

‘No more excuses’

The words of the Secretary of State to parents were as follows:

No ifs, no buts and no more excuses. This government is acting to guarantee parents’ fundamental right to know what their children are being taught in sex and relationships education. Today I’m writing to schools and parents to debunk the copyright myth that parents cannot see what their children are being taught. Parents must be empowered to ask and schools should have the confidence to share.”

Time will tell if parents are reassured and supported by her challenge to schools.

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