Westminster Hall debate on RSE materials in primary schools

22 March 2024

Public Policy Researcher Carys Moseley comments on the debate over LGBT issues in primary schools that took place in Parliament this week

Last Monday 18th of March a debate on teaching LGBT issues in primary schools took place in Westminster Hall in Parliament. Christian Concern published a briefing beforehand for the debate which was sent to all MPs. The debate looked at two parliamentary petitions on the topic, one calling for teaching LGBT issues in primary schools in England to be scrapped, the other defending it. Here is the text of each petition: 

Remove LGBT content from the Relationships Education curriculum 

We believe kids shouldn’t learn about this at an early age. I am sure there are many parents who do not want their or other children taught about LGBT in primary school.

Do not remove LGBT content from the Relationships Education curriculum

We believe kids should learn about this at an early age. I am sure there are many parents who want their and other children taught about LGBT issues in primary school. 

More petitioners oppose LGBT teaching in primary schools 

The first petition opposing LGBT teaching received 249,594 signatures. The second one which appears to have been constructed in response received 104,920 signatures. 

This means that more people were prepared to oppose LGBT teaching in primary schools than supported it. Five out of seven people who signed a petition were opposed. However, most of the MPs who turned up to the Westminster Hall debate supported LGBT teaching in primary schools. This suggests many MPs are out of touch with public concerns.  

Government refused to publish review of RSE 

Last September it was reported that the Department for Education had refused to publish the conclusion of a review into RSE which the Prime Minister Rishi Sunak had commissioned. In March 2023 fifty Conservative MPs had written asking for a review after the Telegraph uncovered evidence that transgender ideology and inappropriate graphic sexual content was widely taught in schools 

Miriam Cates MP had told the House of Commons that this grotesque content, at times even featuring sado-masochism, amounted to ‘a catastrophe for childhood’. 

Petitions committee asked for draft government guidance to be published  

In February the Petitions committee – one of the more activist committees in Parliament – wrote to Gillian Keegan MP, the Education Secretary, referring to the commissioned review. Elliot Colburn MP was a co-signatory of the letter. Colburn was also responsible for arranging and introducing last Monday’s debate. The letter complained that the government had promised a public consultation on the proposed draft guidance for revising RSE, but had not yet published such a consultation. The draft guidance has still not been published by the government. 

RSE supporters suddenly support engagement with parents 

There is no record of supporters of LGBT education supporting the review commissioned by Rishi Sunak at the time.  

In the debate, Steven Doughty MP said he had seen myths going round in his constituency in Wales about what is being taught. He said that the Welsh Government’s curriculum is there for people to read online. He agrees schools should engage with parents. In reality however, all the time the Welsh Government was consulting on RSE, we never saw any proposed classroom resources as part of any of its consultations. The same was true in England. Either the material was not ready, or it was deliberately kept from the public and parents. This sudden support of engagement with parents raises the question as to whether MPs are waking up to widespread concern and suspicion about some of the RSE materials entering schools. Are they afraid of how parents might vote at the next general election?  

Nick Fletcher MP – material in schools is ‘abhorrent 

Nick Fletcher MP spoke at length on Monday against inappropriate RSE materials. He asked Elliot Colburn to meet with him later in the week to see the evidence of what is actually being brought into schools. Fletcher repeatedly characterized the material as ‘abhorrent’ – a word hitherto used by MPs to describe ‘conversion therapy’.  

Colburn replied that there is no statistical data about things going wrong, as if statistics were the main proof rather than copies of the material itself. He was more interested in investigating why teachers ‘don’t feel confident’ about teaching on LGBT issues.

Disingenuous defense of companies allowed into schools 

One of the major defenders of teaching LGBT issues in primary schools was Lloyd Russell-Moyle MP, who recently led a debate on his private member’s bill to criminalise conversion therapy. He seized the opportunity to discuss the companies producing the material that gets into schools. Russell-Moyle compared them to Disney, saying that an organization might produce ‘adult materials’ and children’s materials, saying that this is not necessarily evidence that adult material is being used in schools.  

This was frankly a disingenuous argument intended to deflect from the content itself.  

Making primary school children hostage to adult agenda 

The main soundbites for introducing LGBT issues in primary schools came from Elliot Colburn. For example, ‘When it’s done right’ [RSE] tackles discrimination, promotes healthy relationships and focuses on poor mental health.’  

However, at several points he also made these kinds of statement: 

‘However much some people might try, we are not going back in the closet.’ 

The problem with this is that it conflates adults living LGBT identities with the sphere of childhood before puberty. It appears to rest upon – or at the very least fits – with the assumption that some people are born with gender confusion.  

The need to protect the innocence of children 

With comments like this it was good to see Andrea Jenkyns MP stand up and ask Adam Holloway MP, also concerned about RSE content, whether he agreed with “the need to protect the innocence of children and their childhood, especially at primary school age?” This very phrase ‘the innocence of children’ is very rarely used in this day and age by politicians.  

Holloway replied that he was, adding that the long-term consequences of gender transition are not properly understood. This was if anything a serious understatement. 

‘British Values’ used as an excuse to cast critics as extremists 

Surveying the entire debate, one contribution above all illustrated how profound the moral mess really is. Peter Gibson MP hinted that opposition to LGBT indoctrination in primary schools amounts to extremism in suggesting that it is opposed to British values.  

“In conclusion, I believe it is right that we teach our children about the world that they will become citizens of—as is appropriate to their age—free from conversion practices, free from medicalisation, and underpinned by appropriate and robust counselling. We will help to improve tolerance, understanding and acceptance; we will help to reduce hate and discrimination; we will help to reduce sexually transmitted diseases; and we will underpin British values of individual liberty, mutual respect and tolerance of others.”

This is revealing as it harks back to the inappropriate referral of orthodox Christians to Prevent for upholding Biblically-based sexual ethics.  

Christians provide evidence of inappropriate RSE content 

The Christian Legal Centre has assisted parents, children and teachers who have faced unfair treatment by schools for opposing this inappropriate content.  

Calvin and Nicola Watts 

A video was shown in the class of eight-year-olds teaching them that they could have been born ‘in the wrong body’. The book ‘It feels good to be yourself’, on the same topic, said this: 

“When you were born you couldn’t tell people who you were or how you felt. They looked at you and made a guess. Maybe they got it right, maybe they got it wrong.” 

Parents Calvin and Nicola Watts were then forced to remove their children from this school, which was a Church of England primary school in Kent.  


Glawdys Leger 

Modern Foreign Languages teacher Glawdys Leger was sacked for refusing to teach extreme LGBT ideology, and for articulating her Biblically-based beliefs on sexual ethics when asked by pupils. The material she had been required to teach included a film that implied that Old Testament characters such as David and Jonathan and Ruth and Noami, were in same-sex relationships.  


Izzy Montague 

Participation in a Pride Parade to celebrate Pride Month was mandatory for the four-year old son of Izzy Montague. Over 182 parents withdrew their children from the Pride Parade in protest. The London County Court dismissed Montague’s claim against the school, going as far as denying that the events and indoctrination that occurred were aimed at promoting LGBT. Instead the judge said it was all about promoting equality and inclusion.  

In fact there is a great deal of evidence that the school promoted LGBT indoctrination. These including a teacher wearing an LGBT shirt, getting young children to promote transgenderism, promoting trans surgery and even reporting the church attended by some parents to the police for alleged hate crime. Izzy Montague is appealing the court ruling.  



In 2019 ten-year-old pupil Kaysey was excluded from her primary school for standing up to LGBT indoctrination. In this video she explains how it had spread across the school and how children were now more unhappy as a result 

Her primary school was requiring children as young as four to take part in Pride. From the age of seven onwards children are required to learn about changes in society related to ‘equality’, with the LGBT focus being made explicit in that respect from the age of nine.


Bernard Randall 

Rev. Dr. Bernard Randall was referred to the Prevent anti-terrorism watchdog and sacked after preaching a sermon saying pupils could make up their own minds about LGBT ideology. He had delivered this sermon in response to pupils coming to him with questions about the issues. Randall became very concerned that teachers had been encouraged to chant ‘smash heteronormativity’ in a training session run by LGBT campaign group Educate and Celebrate.  

Bernard Randall’s hearing for permission to appeal has been postponed until March 2025, by when the Court of Appeal will have heard the case of Kristie Higgs.  


Kristie Higgs 

The Court of Appeal is due to hear the appeal of Kristie Higgs against her school, which sacked her as a teaching assistant for sharing concerns about RSE content in primary schools in Facebook. At the Employment Appeal Tribunal, the judge was forced to recuse a panel member for being an LGBT activists, and later a second panel member was similarly forced to recuse himself.  

The irony in Kristie Higgs’s case is that the government has become concerned about RSE content. Given that RSE was brought in by the government in the first place, this is highly significant. It shows the importance of Christians and others closely monitoring content, which was not available to view at the time of the public consultations on RSE.  

The importance of speaking up 

It is impossible to overemphasise the importance of Christian parents and teachers monitoring RSE content and policies, speaking up and fighting. If they do not, the children under their care will suffer. This is an ongoing battle, as we can see with the fact that the government then refused to publish the review it commissioned into RSE. As this week’s Westminster Hall debate shows, too many politicians are still out of touch with public concerns and are getting away with parroting propaganda clichés with insufficient challenge.  

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