Jewish headteacher: If we taught about sex, pupils would be removed from school

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Jewish headteacher: If we taught about sex, pupils would be removed from school

BBC Panorama, which aired on Monday, highlights concerns about new relationships and sex-education lessons in religious schools.

Damian Hinds (Credit: BBC Panorama: ‘Sex Education: The LGBT Debate in Schools’)
Damian Hinds (Credit: BBC Panorama: ‘Sex Education: The LGBT Debate in Schools’)

Faith communities have expressed concern about new relationships and sex-education in a new Panorama documentary on LGBT lessons, which aired on Monday.

The 30-minute film, titled “Sex Education: The LGBT Debate in Schools”, which highlights concerns from parents, was broadcast at 8.30pm on BBC One.

It will be made compulsory for schools to teach relationships education for primary-age pupils and relationships and sex education for secondary-age pupils from September 2020.

The Government says it wants children to be taught about same sex relationships but that it will be up to schools to decide when it was “age appropriate”.

Eli Spitzer, headteacher of Tiferes Shlomo Boys’ School, told Panorama: “If I was to decide tomorrow to teach about sexuality, sex education, if I start that tomorrow in my school, parents would withdraw their children.”

“Charedi parents are very strongly opposed to any sexualisation of their children whatsoever to the extent that they wouldn’t mention anything which could even lead to a discussion about sex. Simply put, Charedi children don’t know how children are made,” he added.

Judith Nemeth from The Values Foundation, set up last year to promote faith and traditional family values in education, issued a similar warning.

“Grassroots, groups of parents are standing at the school gate, handing out leaflets saying ‘do you know what your child is being taught’,” she said.

“There’s no way that people of faith will teach it’s ok to be gay. They won’t because the bible tells us it isn’t ok to be gay. But that doesn’t mean that we are intolerant of people who do follow that lifestyle. Nobody’s being judgemental here, nobody’s being homophobic.”

Meanwhile, Britain’s counter-terrorism tsar Sara Khan told the programme more support should have been given to headteachers dealing with protests from parents in Birmingham. “I think they were too slow to respond,” she said.

“There’s a lot of confusion about what’s actually being taught and I think the DfE could have played a very important role in clarifying to parents this is what’s actually being taught, not the misinformation that we’re seeing out there.”

Education Secretary Damian Hinds told the BBC: “We want children to grow up understanding that some people are different, some relationships are different from what they may have experienced, but all are valuable.

“We trust individual schools, individual head teachers, to know their cohorts of children, and to determine how and when to address what can be obviously sensitive subjects.”

BBC Panorama: Sex Education: The LGBT Debate in Schools airs on BBC One on Monday 15 July at 8.30pm.

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