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BHA e-bulletin special: Take action today to protect children's SRE

Thanks to weavehole for the forwarded e-mail.
Link to posting on BHA site: http://www.humanism.org.uk/news/view/487

From: "Bob Churchill"
Date: 19 February 2010 02:42:47 GMT+09:00
Subject: BHA e-bulletin special: Take action today to protect children's SRE

URGENT - TAKE ACTION NOW!

The Government has taken a u-turn on children’s rights to Sex and Relationships Education (SRE). Act now to stop them.



TAKE ACTION: Write to your MP using our email system urging them to oppose the amendment when it is debated next Tuesday (23rd February). Please do this today to ensure all young people have access to accurate, balanced SRE that promotes equality and diversity, and to prevent faith schools from teaching that same sex relationships and the use of contraception are wrong.

What is happening?

The BHA, the Children's Rights Alliance for England and the Accord Coalition have condemned a new Government amendment to its own Children, Schools and Families Bill, describing it as discriminatory.

The amendment to the Bill, tabled by the Secretary of State Ed Balls, would permit state-funded “faith schools” to teach PSHE, which includes Sex and Relationships Education (SRE), “in a way that reflects the school’s religious character”.

Andrew Copson, BHA Chief Executive, said, ‘The Government’s amendment to the Children, Schools and Families Bill effectively provides an opt-out for faith schools from teaching full, comprehensive and objective Sex and Relationships Education. This is a U-Turn from the original commitment in the Bill which put a duty on schools to teach SRE in ways that promote equality, diversity and rights, in ways that are sensitive to the children’s backgrounds, rather than the schools’.

‘Allowing schools to teach SRE in ways skewed towards their religious character could in practice lead to subjective and narrow teaching, depriving up to a third of pupils from the objective SRE which their friends in community schools will receive as of right. We are particularly concerned how faith schools will teach about crucial issues such as contraception, safe sex, and different sexualities.’

Carolyne Willow, National coordinator of the Children's Rights Alliance for England said, ‘This amendment was completely unnecessary as there is already provision in the Bill for PSHE to take into account different perspectives, including religious beliefs. It is absolutely vital that sex and relationships education funded by the State occurs within the context of commitment to equality and respect for diversity; anything less is discriminatory.’

Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain, chair of the Accord Coalition, said, ‘It is astonishing that the government plans to deny young people of their right to accurate, balanced PSHE and Sex and Relationships Education (SRE), and allow state funded schools to teach the subject from one religious viewpoint. By taking this position, Ed Balls is implicitly condoning homophobia in schools and undermining attempts to tackle homophobic bullying. After Labour has done so much for equality, this looks like a 21st century Section 28.’

The BHA campaigns for full and impartial SRE - you can read about such work and why we do it here.

What you can do to help

TAKE ACTION: Write to your MP using our email system urging them to defeat the amendment when it is debated next Tuesday. Please do this today to ensure all young people have access to accurate, balanced SRE that promotes equality and diversity, and to prevent faith schools from teaching that same sex relationships and the use of contraception are wrong.

If you know anyone else who may be interested in taking this action, please feel free to forward this email to them!

Thank you!

Not already a BHA member? Join now and support our vital work!

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TAGGED: CAMPAIGNS, EDUCATION, POLITICS


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