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Parents hand petition to Tower Hamlets to stop school sex lessons

PUBLISHED: 07:00 11 July 2012 | UPDATED: 11:11 11 July 2012

Yusuf Patel

Yusuf Patel

Archant

Parents objecting to sex education being given to their children in primary schools in London's East End are presenting a petition with 10,000 signatures today to Tower Hamlets Council.

They are handing it over to Mayor Lutfur Rahman at the Town Hall at 12.30pm demanding an end to explicit sex education against their wishes.

It follows a public meeting organised by Tower Hamlets Parents Action group being held at 10am at the East London Muslim Centre in Whitechapel.

“We want an end to local authority intervention in sex education in primary schools,” said campaign co-ordinator Yusuf Patel.

“Schools need a clear message that sex education must be in line with parents’ wishes and the ethos of the community they serve.”

Campaigners are also sending a delegation to tonight’s council meeting urging councillors to stop primary schools using compulsory science lessons for sex education with a programme that is not part of the compulsory curriculum.

One mother of a nine-year-old in Poplar told the Advertiser: “I saw the material and was appalled at how explicit it was.

“The head-teacher tells us it’s compulsory and we don’t have right to withdraw our children from the lessons.

“But that is wrong—parents are being bullied because the illiteracy rate is high in our community and many don’t understand their rights.”

The schools have a statutory obligation to teach Science in the national curriculum, Tower Hamlets council said this week, but parents have a right to withdraw children from any Sex and Relationship Education taught outside the science curriculum.

Schools have an up-to-date programme that describes content of Sex and Relationship Education within the national curriculum, which the Town Hall assured was shared with parents.

The petition against “inappropriate teaching of sex and relationships” calls on the council to withdraw the programme from compulsory education in primary schools and to consult parents and make them a part of decision-making.

It was launched in May with public meetings in Whitechapel, Stepney, Bethnal Green, Bromley-by-Bow and Millwall. More meetings for mothers only were held earlier this month, where the videos were shown which campaigners say gives explicit sexual details. One meeting in Whitechapel attracted 500 mothers.

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