In comments aimed squarely at Tory leadership contender Esther McVey, Ofsted boss Amanda Spielman urged people to respect the Equality Act as she defended lessons that prepare children for “life in modern Britain”. Huff Post reports.
McVey attracted widespread anger this week when she said parents should be able to withdraw children from relationship education on religious grounds until they are as old as 16.
But Spielman questioned “where would it end” as she voiced fears parents would demand children are removed from science lessons “because they didn’t want their children knowing about evolution or reproduction”.
“To be clear, this is about the Equality Act, which says children must be taught respect for the protected characteristics and to the extent we have got a case where it says this isn’t a pick and choose whichever one’s parents feel like.”
She said: “The idea that, on the one hand, children need to be prepared for life in modern Britain and this is an obligation for all schools, yet at the same time parents can opt out completely … well, what would you do if parents could opt out of biology, could opt out of geography, because they didn’t want their children knowing about evolution or reproduction? Where would it end?
“At the point you start saying every parent can choose which topics, we have completely lost sight of a national curriculum, of a national education system that prepares all children in this country.”
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