The Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child (SPUC) and East London Mosque have launched phase two of their anti-SRE (sex and relationship education) campaign in Tower Hamlets.
Following a public campaign against schools using the Channel Four resource Living and Growing, a DVD that is accused of “priming” children for sex because it shows a brief animation of sexual intercourse, a petition has been launched to ban the programme of study many schools replaced Living and Growing with The Christopher Winter Project. This too has been termed “sexually explicit”, by which they must mean “honest”. It would seem that if SPUC and SRE Islamic have their way, no SRE will be taught in schools.
SPUC has been opportunistic in its targeting of our borough for its ‘safe at school’ campaign. Those of us who work tirelessly to make sure that our young people actually are safe at school, and outside of it, know that clear, honest, sex and relationship education is essential for children’s physical and emotional health and well-being and all the research proves it. We live in a world where children in year 6 have access to pornography on their phones and are using in the playground sexually violent language they’ve heard on TV. They already know about sex; how could they not. It’s our job to make them feel safe in their knowledge; to give them the information they need and are ready for in order that children can make choices and feel confident in themselves. We do that by taking our lead from the child, not the church or the mosque.
Education workers need to stand up to this bullying and explain to parents, patiently but firmly, why we will not compromise on this — because it is too important.