More special treatment in the pipeline for faith schools. Oh to be a bigot with a book.
The Schools secretary Ed Balls recently tabled an amendment to the forthcoming bill addressing sex and relationship education in schools. This amendment will allow special exemption from the bill for faith schools and its introduction is being heralded as a success of the lobbying of the Catholic Education Service.
The bill originally was intended to standardise the teaching of sex and relationship education across schools, that "information presented ...should be accurate and balanced"; that the subject should be "taught in a way that is appropriate to the ages of the pupils concerned and to their religious and cultural backgrounds and reflects a range of religious, cultural and other perspectives"; that it should "be taught in a way that endeavours to promote equality, encourages acceptance of diversity and emphasises the importance of both rights and responsibilities."
Balls' amendment will allow Catholic faith schools to instead teach about sex and relationships in line with their "religious character"; i.e. that homosexuality is an aberration that should be discouraged; that contraception is wrong; that contraception leads to the spread of HIV AIDS; that sex outside of marriage is shameful.
I understand that the implications of the amendment are currently being denied by the Department for Children, Schools and Families. It is their understanding that: "schools with a religious character will be free, as they are now, to express the views of their faith and reflect the ethos of their school, but what they cannot do is suggest that their views are the only ones." If that is the intention of the amendment then the amendment is unnecessary. As quoted above, the bill insists that the subject be"taught in a way that is appropriate to the ages of the pupils concerned and to their religious and cultural backgrounds and reflects a range of religious, cultural and other perspectives." If that is the case, then the amendment serves no purpose, and clouds the Bill, suggesting as it does a legal loophole with which faith schools can pursue their own agendas of intolerance.
I urge you to reject the amendment.