The Church of England’s lead bishop on education has defended the government’s new relationships and sex education lessons while stating that parents should have the right to withdraw their children.
The Church of England was part of the government’s consultation into the lessons, which will become mandatory across schools in 2020.
Writing for Tes, the teachers’ forum, Bishop Stephen Conway sought to allay the fears of some critics about the contents of the lessons.
“It is pleasing to see a focus for primary school children on families of different types and healthy relationships, within the context of a set of shared values,” he wrote.
“Primary aged children will not – as has been suggested – be expected to learn about intimate sexual relationships, which rightly comes at the secondary stage.”
He said that the Church of England had been “robust” in calling for the lessons to be “carefully targeted and age-appropriate” and for all schools, including those of a religious nature, to be able to teach about faith perspectives on the issues raised in the classes.