LONDON: The British government’s plan to make at least one year’s sex education compulsory for all schoolchildren is facing a legal challenge from the country’s largest Muslim organisation.
Roman Catholics, too, are considering a high court challenge to government proposals to introduce a new, national curriculum course for all children aged between five and 16 in two years’ time.
Under the new plans, the lessons would be compulsory for all 15-year-olds, meaning that each child would have at least one year of sex education, including detailed instruction on contraception and about homosexuality.
At present, parents can choose to have their children opt out of all sex education lessons throughout their primary and secondary school education.
But, under the new plans, parents would be treated as encouraging truancy and liable to heavy fines if they took their child out of sex education classes between the ages of 15 and 19. The earliest a child can leave school in the UK is 16, with the majority leaving at 18.
Additionally, the new national curriculum – starting at the age of five, when children will be taught the differences between boys and girls – replaces the much more lax current rule that only requires each school to have its own policy on sex education.
Until now, many schools, including most faith schools, have chosen that policy to be not to have sex education at all. The only current legal requirement is for children to be taught the biological facts of reproduction, which is normally done in science classes.