The following article was published on the Asian News Site covering the Rochdale campaign against SRE for 5 year old primary school children.
A MUSLIM community activist is campaigning against government plans to introduce sex and relationship education to primary school children as young as five.
Rochdale blogger, Majed Iqbal set up a Facebook campaign this week and has created a campaign video which can be seen on you tube to challenge the plans and is urging both Muslims and non-Muslim parents to join.
The Department for Children, Schools and Families announced plans last year that sex education and lessons about the dangers of drugs and alcohol will become compulsory in primary and secondary schools under government plans to protect young people from pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections and substance abuse.
Under the proposals, which are unlikely to come into force until next year, children will learn to talk about peer pressure and their feelings, in sex and relationship education (SRE) lessons. They will learn the names of body parts and about animal reproduction.
Between 8 and 11 they will be taught about the biological aspects of sex. At secondary school, contraception and sexually transmitted infections will be introduced as subjects.
This is also being spearheaded by the UK Youth Parliament.
So far Mr Iqbal’s plans have been welcomed by Rochdale’s Muslim community and he is hoping to get the same support from the wider community.
He said: “This is an issue that affects parents throughout Rochdale and the rest of the UK.
“We believe the teaching of SRE in schools is inappropriate, both in terms of the philosophy which underpins the way it is approached as well as the resources used.
“There is a misguided belief that children will engage in sexual relations, all of the solutions look at making this behaviour ‘safe’ rather than challenging the lack of values which make this behaviour acceptable.
“Children do not need information, they need to be taught what is right and wrong. They need to be shown and taught what the boundaries of acceptable behaviour are.
“Sex Education, although considered a taboo subject in many communities, is discussed in detail in Islam. However, this is not restricted to just descriptions of physical activity but surrounded by values like modesty, lowering of gazes between sexes, views on when and where freemixing can take place and a whole host of laws that regulate the social life of men and women.”
He said the onus was on the parents to teach children about sex and not teachers.
Mr Iqbal will also be holding awareness sessions so parents can understand about SRE classes, what is and is not compulsory as well as the role of the governing body to shape the policy which underpins the teaching of SRE in a school.
“As well as getting signatures, we are mobilising women to take an added interest in their children’s education and the values departed to them at school,” said Mr Iqbal.
“We want to engage with religious institutions like mosques and churches to challenge the social values presented in the studies, attract the online community through our Facebook campaign, our video advert and posting leaflets in English, Urdu and Bangla throughout Rochdale.
“Though are campaign has a Muslim focus it does not mean that the wider community cannot get involved. These are concerns for all parents and we want to work with everybody to get the message to the government that this proposal is not welcome.”
To get involved visit www.majedsblog.wordpress.com