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Take control, immam tells parents fearing sex education for 8-year-olds

PUBLISHED: 18:53 30 June 2011 | UPDATED: 09:55 01 July 2011

Yusuf Patel addresses meeting at East London Muslim centre

Yusuf Patel addresses meeting at East London Muslim centre

Angry parents worried about sex education being taught in primary schools against their wishes have been urged to stand up for their rights to get the lessons scrapped.

They packed a meeting at the East London Muslim centre over fears that children as young as eight are being “primed for sex” by being made to watch explicit DVDs.

Children can be withdrawn from Sex & Relationship lessons—but campaigners say some schools are using the same education material in science instead, as part of the compulsory National Curriculum.

Now workshops are being set up to train parents to get more involved in running schools to avoid culturally-sensitive issues that parents object to, the meeting decided.

Immam Abdul Qayyum of the East London Mosque urged the mainly-Muslim audience of 200 to take a more proactive part in their children’s education—and even become school governors.

But campaign organiser Yusuf Patel warned of myths about parents’ rights which was stopping them.

“The schools tell you sex education is compulsory,” he said. “But it’s not statutory in primary schools—some don’t even teach it. It’s simply a myth.”

Another was parents having ‘no say’ in what’s being taught.

“You have the legal right over what sexual images are being used,” he pointed out. “You have to remind schools of their legal responsibilities.”

The row is over a Channel 4 educational DVD containing graphic images of human reproduction—normally used for non-compulsory ‘sex and relationship’ classes—being included in science biology instead. This was how schools get round objections, say parents.

The move to get primary school sex education dropped in Tower Hamlets, launched by SRE Islam lobby group, is being backed by the national ‘Safe at School’ campaign, an offshoot of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children.

It’s campaign co-ordinator, mother-of-six Antonia Tully, gave a presentation to the meeting showing the images in the DVD.

“This cartoon teaches children as young as eight how to perform the sex act,” she pointed out.

“Many at this age still believe in Father Christmas and the Tooth Fairy. But this DVD is priming them for sex.

“Such explicit sex education facilitates sex and abortion as a ‘safety net’ when they’re teenagers.”

The 1996 Education Act says formal sex education is not mandatory in primary schools, she pointed out. It was “the job of parents—not the classroom teacher.”

Last night’s meeting follows a petition by 256 parents at Clara Grant Primary in Bromley-by-Bow, objecting to sex education in the classroom.

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