The BBC is reporting the government plans to let 15-year-olds overrule their parents’ wishes and opt in to sex education lessons they have previously been withdrawn from.
Education Secretary Damian Hinds says children should be able to request sex education in at least one of the three terms before their 16th birthday. Until then, parents will retain the right to withdraw their children.
In an oral statement to the Commons on Thursday, Mr Hinds said: “We’ve previously committed to parents having a right to withdraw their children from the sex education part of RSE [relationships and sex education], but not from relationships education, in either primary or secondary school.
“A right for parents to withdraw their child up to 18 years of age is no longer compatible with English case law nor with the European Convention on Human Rights.
“It’s also clear that allowing parents to withdraw their child up to age 16 would not allow the child to opt into sex education before the legal age of consent.
“And the draft guidance sets out that – unless there are exceptional circumstances – the parents’ request should be granted until three terms before the pupil reaches 16.
“At that point, if the child wishes to have sex education, the head teacher should ensure they receive it in one of those three terms.”
Shadow education secretary Angela Rayner said she welcomed the move but suggested children should be allowed to opt in confidentially in such circumstances.
“But can he assure the House that pupils will be able to opt in confidentially if this is their choice?”
Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin
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