New sex ed plans vindicate ‘years of work and resistance’

17 May 2024

Christian Concern and the Christian Legal Centre (CLC) welcome the news from the government that under new guidance schools will no longer be allowed to teach children about harmful gender identity and any form of sex education until the age of 9.

The news vindicates a series of CLC cases which have been fought since Relationships, Sex and Health Education (RSHE) and gender identity was first introduced to schools seven years ago.

One client, Christian school assistant, Kristie Higgs, was sacked and branded ‘a right-wing Neo-Nazi’, for expressing concern about RSHE lessons. She is still fighting for justice after a five-year legal battle.

The new guidance, which the government will now consult on as part of Rishi Sunak’s urgent review, follows years of concern that children are receiving age-inappropriate teaching.

The Prime Minister began the urgent review last year after reportedly being ‘personally alarmed’ by the graphic and contested content being taught.

Now, following recommendations from an expert panel, schools will be required to provide parents with samples of the material their children will be taught.

Age limits are also set to be imposed for the first time on when children can be taught sex education.

Education ministers will warn schools that gender identity is “highly contested” and that teaching the issue could have “damaging implications”.

If asked, school staff will be told that they should teach the “biological facts” about sex.

Branded ‘Neo-Nazi’ for challenging RSHE

Many Christians have been branded ‘bigots’, ‘neo-Nazi’ and ‘extremist’ for raising concerns about the disturbing content being introduced to schools. They were ahead of the curve and have been punished severely for being so.

During this time, many of CLC’s clients have reached out to the Church of England (CofE) for support and backing for the stance they have taken. Instead of backing them, however, the CofE has upheld the teaching of Stonewall rather than the Bible.

The CofE’s official guidance on these issues, Valuing All God’s Children, which has been influenced by Stonewall and Mermaids, has been repeatedly used in the court room to undermine and rule against Christian parents.

In 2019, Kristie Higgs, a Christian school assistant, was sacked and her beliefs compared to that of a ‘neo-Nazi’ for raising concerns on Facebook about extreme RSE and gender identity ideology being taught in her son’s Church of England primary school.

One of Mrs Higgs’ posts encouraged friends and family to sign a petition challenging the government’s plans to introduce Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) to children in primary schools.

The post flagged that a government consultation on plans to make RSE mandatory for children as young as four was coming to a close and asked its readers to sign a nationwide petition calling on the government to uphold the rights of parents to have children educated in line with their religious beliefs.

A similar petition was subsequently signed by over 115,000 people and was debated in Parliament.

After a five-year legal battle, Mrs Higgs continues to fight for justice with a Court of Appeal hearing scheduled for October 2024.

First case of its kind

In 2017, Nigel and Sally Rowe were told they and their six-year-old son would be ‘transphobic bullies’ if they did not comply with the CofE primary school’s approach of affirming gender confused children.

The local CofE diocese, used the guidance ‘Valuing All God’s Children’ to back the school’s position and dismiss the Rowes’ complaints.

The Rowes challenged these decisions and the refusal of the government to intervene. Their case, which was the first of its kind, is believed to have been crucial to the shift in government policies on transgender guidelines and now RSHE and gender identity content in the classroom.

In 2019, Rev. Dr Bernard Randall was sacked and reported to the government’s terrorist watchdog, Prevent, for saying in a sermon in a school chapel that it was ok for children to disagree with LGBT teaching being introduced into the school.

Dr Randall had delivered the sermon after Educate and Celebrate (E&C) had been allowed into Trent College and had got staff to chant ‘smash heteronormativity’ at a training day. E&C’s extreme programme was even allowed to be introduced to the school’s nursery.

It has been found that after lying about being endorsed by Ofsted, E&C, who were partly funded by the government, had been allowed into hundreds of schools to teach Queer Theory and the ‘Gender Unicorn’ which presents multiple genders children can identify as.

Dr Randall is continuing to fight for justice over his sacking and has been marked a ‘safeguarding risk’ by the local CofE diocese for the concerns he raised.

In 2018, Christian mother Izzy Montague challenged her four-year-old son being forced to take part in a LGBT Pride parade at a school in south London without her knowledge and against her wishes.

When Mrs Montague challenged the approach of the school, staff members wore an intimidating t-shirt sending a direct message to any parental concerns of: “Why be racist, sexist, homophobic or transphobic, when you just be quiet?”

‘Born in the wrong body’

Parents Calvin and Nicola Watts, discovered that their primary school children in Kent were being shown videos without their knowledge called ‘It feels good to be yourself: a book about gender identity’.

The book suggested that primary school children can be ‘born in the wrong body’ and said: “Your gender identity might not match what people thought you were when you were born. 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.”

Mr Watts said the teaching amounted to child abuse. The CofE said in response to the evidence, they: “Have found no evidence whatsoever to suggest the promotion of any particular ideology in this school.”

Parents at a primary school in Norfolk were furious when the CofE refused to intervene when it was discovered pupils were being taught graphic and highly sexualised lessons and about gender identities such as ‘pangender’ and ‘cisgender.’

Rev. Nigel Genders, the CofE’s Chief Education Officer said it was the school’s ‘responsibility’ to determine which resources are used to deliver RSHE lessons.

Parents at another CofE school in Essex were forced to withdraw their four-year-old son after teachers taught confusing gender identity lessons as part of ‘World Book Day’, which included: ‘My Shadow is Pink’.

Respected policy group on these issues, Transgender Trend, list ‘My Shadow is Pink’ among books for primary children which ‘promote the idea that changing appearance through opposite sex clothes and hair length changes natal sex.’

The headteacher at the school dismissed the parents’ concerns as ‘right wing’, and again, the CofE refused to intervene.

‘Church of England complicit’

Responding to the government announcement, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre and Christian Concern, Andrea Williams, said: “We welcome this positive news which vindicates years of work and resistance to what from the beginning was an agenda that threatened to harm a generation of children.

“The guidance vindicates courageous Christian parents who were faithful to their beliefs and ahead of the curve. They immediately recognised how harmful these lessons and ideology were and it has been our privilege to support them.

“From the beginning we campaigned for the government and schools to ‘Trust Parents’.  Parents must now be emboldened by today’s news and need to take a more active part in their children’s schools to ensure education authorities do not stray from the guidance.

“This ideology has been deeply embedded and it is going to take time and action from parents to ensure it is fully eradicated from, not just the classroom, but the whole culture of primary schools.  

“The devastating part of the last seven years has been not only the silence from the Church of England, but how they have often been complicit in driving Stonewall’s agenda in schools.

“At every turn they have taken a stance against faithful Christian parents and kowtowed to the secular government and local authorities. Instead of showing leadership and demonstrating that these lessons were and are completely at odds with Christian beliefs, they have put the safety of the one million children in their care across the country at risk.  

“We are glad and relieved that primary school children will now be protected from such lessons. But this must only be a beginning. So much harm has been done and so much confusion sown. Schools must return to their Christian roots and the Biblical beliefs on identity and sexual ethics which set children and stable families up for life.

“It might not be popular or fashionable, but only God’s good plan for human identity, marriage and relationships will ever be enough for children to grow up and lead fulfilling, stable and happy lives.  The past seven years have clearly demonstrated that when we turn from God’s plan, it leads to endless chaos.”

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