London, 12 July 2012: Nick Gibb, the schools minister, has confirmed that primary schools are not required to teach children about sex in National Curriculum science lessons.
In a letter (full text http://goo.gl/AqJQo ) to the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) www.spuc.org.uk which runs the Safe at School campaign, Mr Gibb stated: "I can confirm that neither the current National Curriculum nor the new draft programme of study requires the naming of internal or external body parts with reference to reproduction. The current National Curriculum level descriptions and the new draft notes and guidance make clear that this is not included when pupils are taught to name the main body parts in KS1/Year 1".
Mr Gibb's letter continues: "Whilst the new draft includes a little more detail about reproductive processes than the current curriculum; it requires a pupil in Year 6 to be taught to compare the life process of reproduction in plants and animals; the programme of study itself does not require pupils to be taught about the mechanisms by which fertilisation takes place."
Antonia Tully of the Safe at School campaign said:"This clarification from Mr Gibb is very welcome. Parents from around the country have reported to me that their children are being taught about sex in statutory science lessons from which they cannot withdraw their children.
"Teaching children about their sexual organs and sexual intercourse in science lessons completely undermines the legal right of parents to withdraw their children from sex education which they feel is too explicit or not age-appropriate. Sex education is part of non-compulsory Personal, Social, Health Education (PSHE) which means that schools can choose not to teach sex education and parents can choose to withdraw their children from the lessons."
Antonia Tully of SPUC's Safe at School campaign can be contated on 020 8407 3463 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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