Equipping Christians for the General Election

Author Archive for Public Affairs

So, what now…?
Public Affairs

This is the question on everyone’s lips following an election night like no other.  Like 2015, the first hint that something interesting could be afoot came with the publication of the official Exit Poll from BBC, ITV and Sky just after polls closed at 10pm yesterday evening.  Except this time, the poll proved accurate.

Rather than waking to a surprise Conservative majority as was the case in May 2015, the UK awoke this morning to a political landscape almost unthinkable just a few short weeks ago when Theresa May announced on 18 April that there would be a snap General Election.  As a reminder, at this time the Conservatives enjoyed a working parliamentary majority of 17 seats and had been regularly polling well ahead of Labour who were a distant second under Jeremy Corbyn.  A YouGov poll on 18-19 April gave the Conservatives a 24 point lead and some predicted a 100+ seat Conservative majority.

In the event, we have a hung parliament, with no one party able to form a majority Government.  The Conservatives are down 12 seats on 318, Labour are up 29 seats with 261, the SNP are down 21 seats with 35, the Lib Dems are up 4 seats with 12 and the DUP are up 2 seats with 10.  Plaid Cymru are up 1 seat with 4, the Greens retain their solitary seat, and the SDLP (-3), UUP (-2) and UKIP (-1) lost all their seats.  Sinn Fein gained 3 seats to leave them with 7 MPs, none of whom will sit at Westminster, the independent MP Sylvia Hermon retained her seat and at the time of writing one seat (Kensington) is preparing for a third recount.

It has been an extraordinary result for Labour under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn which few predicted.  At the other end of the scale, despite some encouragement for the Conservatives in Scotland, it has been a deeply disappointing night for Theresa May who in the coming days must convince the British public, her party, her fellow MPs and leaders across Europe and the world that she can form a workable Government.

Despite calls from both Mr Corbyn and Lib Dem leader Tim Farron for Theresa May to resign, in an announcement from Downing Street shortly before 1pm this afternoon Theresa May stated her intention to remain as Prime Minister and to form a Government with support from the DUP.  This would not be a formal coalition akin to the Conservative-Lib Dem pact in 2010, but is likely to be more of a working agreement wherein in the DUP would ensure, for example, that the Conservative Party is able to pass a Budget.

With a Prime Minister diminished rather than enhanced by a snap election many thought a foregone conclusion, a rejuvenated opposition under Jeremy Corbyn and Brexit talks due to begin in just 10 days’ time, there is a definite sense of uncertainty today, rather than the strength and stability Mrs May sought to bring to bear.

CARE’s Chief Executive, Nola Leach, reminded us only yesterday that in the midst of uncertainty we can be sure that our God is unchanging, faithful, sovereign and in complete control.  Let’s keep this in mind in the coming days, as politicians try to reassure the public and as MPs prepare to return to the House of Commons on 13 June to take their Oath of Allegiance or Affirmation.

Whether we are overjoyed by the result of the Election, devastated, or somewhere in between, the real work begins now for the politicians and also for us as Christians as we seek to be salt and light in the UK today, tomorrow and beyond.

—————

You can see the results in full here

Please like & share:

Ulster Unionist Party: Where they stand on our issues
Public Affairs

The Ulster Unionist Party launched its manifesto on 1 June.

The full Manifesto is available to read here. The manifesto does not refer to any of the issues covered on the engaGE17 website.

Please like & share:

Where do the main parties stand on Assisted Suicide and End of Life issues?
Public Affairs

CARE believes that every life has value from its beginning at conception to its natural end and opposes assisted suicide.  We also call for greater access to high quality palliative care.  As the culture of individualism takes deeper root in our society with its stress on autonomy and choice in all aspects of life, including death, campaigns for assisted suicide have become louder.  Further information as to where CARE stands on Assisted Suicide and End of Life matters can be accessed here

Below are extracts from the manifestos of the larger political parties relating to end of life matters.

Alliance Party

No comment

Conservative Party

No comment

Democratic Unionist Party

No comment

Green Party (England and Wales)

No comment

Green Party in Northern Ireland

No comment

Labour Party

No comment

Liberal Democrats

The Liberal Democrats commit to “provide more choice at the end of life and move towards free end-of-life social care, whether people spend their last days at home or in a hospice.” (pg. 21)

Plaid Cymru

No comment

Scottish Greens

No comment

Scottish National Party

No comment

Sinn Fein

No comment

Social Democratic and Labour Party

No comment

UKIP

No comment

Ulster Unionist Party

No comment

Please like & share:

Where do the main parties stand on Sex and Relationships Education?
Public Affairs

CARE believes that sex and relationships education (SRE) works best when parents are fully engaged both having conversations with their children at home, apart from what is happening at school, and in being fully aware of when and how this subject is being covered at school so they can follow-up at home. Further information as to where CARE stands on Sex and Relationships Education issues can be accessed here

Below are extracts from the manifestos of the larger political parties relating to SRE.

Alliance Party

No comment

Conservative Party

The Conservative party will “educate today’s young people in the harms of the internet and how best to combat them, introducing comprehensive Relationships and Sex Education in all primary and secondary schools to ensure that children learn about the risks of the internet, including cyberbullying and online grooming.” (pg. 79)

Democratic Unionist Party

No comment

Green Party (England and Wales)

The Green Party pledges to “Improve young people’s access to basic but vital health needs, by providing more funding for sexual health awareness campaigns, providing greater access to free condoms and sexual health clinics; removing VAT from sanitary products and ensuring that they are provided free of charge to those in extreme financial need.” (pg. 15)

In the separate manifesto for gender equality the Green Party also commits to the following:

“Ensure all children receive high quality age appropriate sex and relationships education exploring issues such as consent, different kinds of abuse in relationships, maintaining healthy relationships in the world of smartphones and the internet, and of sexual and romantic identities beyond “heterosexual”. Where necessary, teachers shall be provided with additional training to enable this.”

“Address gender stereotypes, homophobia and transphobia in society, initiating public education programs both in schools and wider society.” (Manifesto for Gender Equality pg. 12)

Green Party in Northern Ireland

No comment

Labour Party

“We will make age-appropriate sex and relationship education a compulsory part of the curriculum so young people can learn about respectful relationships.” (pg.77)

“To tackle bullying of LGBT young people, Labour will ensure that all teachers receive initial and ongoing training on the issues students face and how to address them. And we will ensure that the new guidance for relationships and sex education is LGBT inclusive.” (pg. 111)

Liberal Democrats

The Liberal Democrats promise to “introduce a curriculum entitlement – a slimmed down core national curriculum, which will be taught in all state-funded schools. This will include Personal, Social and Health Education: a ‘curriculum for life’ including financial literacy, first aid and emergency lifesaving skills, mental health education, citizenship and age-appropriate Sex and Relationship Education (SRE).” (pg.28)

The Liberal Democrats will “include in SRE teaching about sexual consent, LGBT+ relationships, and issues surrounding explicit images and content.” (pg.29)

The Liberal Democrats are committed to “make the curriculum the responsibility of an Educational Standards Authority to pilot, phase in and resource future changes in consultation with professionals and experts while retaining legitimate democratic accountability.” (pg. 29)

The Liberal Democrats will “challenge gender stereotyping and early sexualisation, working with schools to promote positive body image and break down outdated perceptions of gender appropriateness of particular academic subjects.” (pg. 29)

They will “Tackle bullying in schools, including bullying on the basis of gender, sexuality, gender identity or gender expression.” (pg. 30)

Plaid Cymru

No comment

Scottish Greens

No comment

Scottish National Party

No comment

Sinn Fein

No comment

Social Democratic and Labour Party

No comment

UKIP

UKIP reaffirms its 2015 Manifesto pledge to “end sex education in primary schools.” (pg. 24)

Ulster Unionist Party

No comment

Please like & share:

Where do the main parties stand on online safety?
Public Affairs

CARE campaigns for child protection through the law to be upheld online, just as it is offline. Research published in 2016 warned that 53 per cent of 11-16 year olds have seen pornographic content online with 34 per cent viewing it once a week or more.  The report also found that this exposure to pornography was severely damaging to how these young people viewed sex and relationships. Further information as to where CARE stands on Online Safety issues can be accessed here

Below are extracts from the manifestos of the larger political parties relating to Online Safety.

Alliance Party

No comment

Conservative Party

The Conservative party will “lead a global effort to close down online spaces for those who abuse children, incite violence or propagate hate speech.” (pg. 38)

The Conservative party promises to “develop a digital charter, working with industry and charities to establish a new framework that balances freedom with protection for users, and offers opportunities alongside obligations for businesses and platforms. This charter has two fundamental aims: that we will make Britain the best place to start and run a digital business; and that we will make Britain the safest place in the world to be online.” (pg. 77)

They will “work with industry to introduce new protections for minors, from images of pornography, violence, and other age-inappropriate content not just on social media but in app stores and content sites as well. We will put a responsibility on industry not to direct users – even unintentionally – to hate speech, pornography, or other sources of harm. We will make clear the responsibility of platforms to enable the reporting of inappropriate, bullying, harmful or illegal content, with take-down on a comply-or-explain basis.” (pg. 79)

The Conservative party will “continue to push the internet companies to deliver on their commitments to develop technical tools to identify and remove terrorist propaganda, to help smaller companies build their capabilities and to provide support for civil society organisations to promote alternative and counter-narratives. In addition, we do not believe that there should be a safe space for terrorists to be able to communicate online and will work to prevent them from having this capability… Where we believe people need more protections to keep them safe, we will act to protect them. We will give people new rights to ensure they are in control of their own data, including the ability to require major social media platforms to delete information held about them at the age of 18, the ability to access and export personal data, and an expectation that personal data held should be stored in a secure way. To create a sound ethical framework for how data is used, we will institute an expert Data Use and Ethics Commission to advise regulators and parliament on the nature of data use and how best to prevent its abuse.” (pg. 79-80)

Democratic Unionist Party

No comment

Green Party (England and Wales)

No comment

Green Party in Northern Ireland

No comment

Labour Party

Labour believes that ”we all need to work harder to keep children safe online. Labour will ensure that tech companies are obliged to take measures that further protect children and tackle online abuse. We will ensure that young people understand and are able to easily remove any content they shared on the internet before they turned 18.” (pg. 96)

Liberal Democrats

The Liberal Democrats will “introduce a digital bill of rights that protects people’s powers over their own information, supports individuals over large corporations, and preserves the neutrality of the internet.” (pg. 73)

Plaid Cymru

No comment

Scottish Greens

No comment

Scottish National Party

No comment

Sinn Fein

No comment

Social Democratic and Labour Party

No comment

UKIP

UKIP promises to “extend the remit of the current cross-government Internet Safety Strategy and invite participants to consider whether new legislation is required to address the problem of online abuse.” (pg. 22)

Ulster Unionist Party

No comment

Please like & share:

Where do the main parties stand on religious liberty and equality?
Public Affairs

CARE campaigns for the provision of space in the public square and market place for Christians and people of other faiths to live, work and conduct business in accordance with their faith without being viewed as extremists or risk prosecution. Further information as to where CARE stands on Religious Liberty and Equality issues can be accessed here

Below are extracts from the manifestos of the larger political parties relating to religious liberty and equality.

Alliance Party

“Key elements for Alliance in a shared future… would include:

  • Passing a Single Equality Bill.” (pg. 12)

“Alliance is a strong supporter of the European Convention on Human Rights. We will oppose any proposed repeal of the Human Rights Act or withdrawal from the European Convention on Human Rights.” (pg. 13)

“Alliance will:

  • Continue to promote our unwavering commitment to freedom of, and from, religion across the world and opposing discrimination on the basis of religion or belief.
  • Promote LGBTI+ rights across the world.
  • Use the UK’s role in the Commonwealth to make progress on protecting the rights of women, religious minorities and LGBTI+ people.” (pg. 34)

Conservative Party

The Conservative party will “continue to champion British values around the globe: freedom, democracy, tolerance and the rule of law.” (pg. 38)

They “will expand our global efforts to combat extremism, terror, and the perpetration of violence against people because of their faith, gender or sexuality.” (pg. 38)

The Conservative party pledges to “replace the unfair and ineffective inclusivity rules that prevent the establishment of new Roman Catholic schools, instead requiring new faith schools to prove that parents of other faiths and none would be prepared to send their children to that school.” (pg. 50)

The Conservative party will “consider what new criminal offences might need to be created, and what new aggravated offences might need to be established, to defeat the extremists. We will support the public sector and civil society in identifying extremists, countering their messages and promoting pluralistic, British values. And we will establish a Commission for Countering Extremism to identify examples of extremism and expose them, to support the public sector and civil society, and help the government to identify policies to defeat extremism and promote pluralistic values.” (pg. 55)

The Conservative party promises to “push forward with our plan for tackling hate crime committed on the basis of religion, disability, sexual orientation or transgender identity.” (pg. 44)

They will “work with schools to make sure that those with intakes from one predominant racial, cultural or religious background teach their students about pluralistic, British values and help them to get to know people with different ways of life.” (pg. 55)

They will also “strengthen the enforcement of equalities law – so that private landlords and businesses who deny people a service on the basis of ethnicity, religion or gender are properly investigated and prosecuted.” (pg. 56)

Democratic Unionist Party

No comment

Green Party (England and Wales)

The Green Party promises to “reject the xenophobic Prevent strategy and pursue community-led collaborative approaches to tackling all forms of extremism instead.” (pg. 15)

The Green Party will “co-operate with our neighbours on the shared challenges that face us all – from tackling terrorism and preventing climate change, to reducing inequality. We would work towards an outward-facing Britain that has the confidence and resilience to welcome others.” (pg. 19)

The Green Party promises an “action to tackle racism and discrimination on the basis of faith or disability, real equality for LGBTIQA+ people, equal rights for mixed gender couples to have a Civil Partnership.” (pg. 21)

Green Party in Northern Ireland

The Green Party will “immediately ratify and implement the Istanbul Convention on Women’s Rights.” (pg. 12)

Labour Party

“We will always provide our security agencies with the resources and the powers they need to protect our country and keep us all safe. We will also ensure that such powers do not weaken our individual rights or civil liberties.” (pg.77)

Labour commits to “reintroduce effective judicial oversight over how and when they are used, when the circumstances demand that our collective security outweighs an individual freedom. Labour will review the Prevent programme with a view to assessing both its effectiveness and its potential to alienate minority communities. In doing so, we will address the government’s failure to take any effective new measures against a growing problem of extreme or violent radicalisation.” (pg. 77)

“A Labour government will enhance the powers and functions of [the Equality and Human Rights] Commission, making it truly independent, to ensure it can support ordinary working people to effectively challenge any discrimination they may face.” (pg. 108)

“A Labour government will reinstate the public sector equality duties and seek to extend them to the private sector, ensuring all citizens benefit from this Labour legislation.” (pg. 108)

“A Labour government will reform the Gender Recognition Act and the Equality Act 2010 to ensure they protect Trans people by changing the protected characteristic of ‘gender assignment’ to ‘gender identity’ and remove other outdated language such as ‘transsexual’.“(pg. 111)

“Labour will bring the law on LGBT hate crimes into line with hate crimes based on race and faith, by making them aggravated offences.” (pg. 111)

“To tackle bullying of LGBT young people, Labour will ensure that all teachers receive initial and ongoing training on the issues students face and how to address them. And we will ensure that the new guidance for relationships and sex education is LGBT inclusive.” (pg. 111)

Labour commits to “appoint dedicated global ambassadors for women’s rights, LGBT rights and religious freedom to fight discrimination and promote equality globally.” (pg. 118)

Liberal Democrats

The Liberal Democrats promise to “extend the Equality Act to all large companies with more than 250 employees, requiring them to monitor and publish data on gender, BAME, and LGBT+ employment levels and pay gaps.” (pg. 71)

They will “guarantee the freedom of people to wear religious or cultural dress, and tackle the growing incidence of Islamophobic hate crime.” (pg. 72)

They will “extend protection of gender reassignment in equality law to explicitly cover gender identity and expression, and streamline and simplify the Gender Recognition Act 2004 to allow individuals to change their legal gender without unnecessary bureaucratic hurdles, for example the intrusive medical tests currently required.” (pg. 72)

The Liberal Democrats promise to “ensure that trans prisoners are placed in prisons that reflect their gender identity, rather than their birth gender.” (pg. 76)

The Liberal Democrats pledge to “scrap the flawed Prevent strategy and replace it with a scheme that prioritises community engagement and supports communities in developing their own approach to tackling the dangers of violent extremism.” (pg. 77)

Plaid Cymru

“Where we are: Our fundamental human rights are at risk, exposing the weakest, most vulnerable members of our communities.

Plaid Cymru’s answer: We will publish a human rights charter for Wales to defend Welsh people against the backdrop of a Tory government intent on undermining the Human Rights Act.

Where we can be: Legal protection for our human rights and guarantees that whatever your race, gender or sexual orientation you will be treated equally.” (pg. 39)

Scottish Greens

“We will respect the basic human rights of all citizens and will celebrate the progress made as part of Europe. Brexit must not be used as an excuse to water down or repeal any other domestic protections, such as the Equality Act 2010.  We support the UK remaining part of the European Convention on Human Rights, will oppose any effort to repeal the Human Rights Act 1998, and support adopting the European Social Charter to protect fundamental social and economic rights.” (pg. 12)

Scottish National Party

“The European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) is enshrined in the Scotland Act 1998, ensuring that human rights are protected by the Scottish Government and all Scottish legislation. The SNP re-affirms its commitment to the Council of Europe, the ECHR and their institutions. We will fight to protect human rights across the UK. SNP MPs will oppose any attempts by the UK government to scrap the Human Rights Act and withdraw the UK from the ECHR.” (pg. 30)

“To tackle workplace discrimination and sexist dress codes, SNP MPs will vote for a change in the Equality Act to strengthen and change the law that currently allows employers to have different dress codes for men and women.”(pg. 34)

“The SNP Scottish Government is committed to reviewing and reforming gender recognition laws, in line with international best practice. SNP MPs will press the UK government to match the Scottish Government’s commitment to legislation within this parliament. SNP MPs will continue to demand full devolution of equality law to the Scottish Parliament. Until that happens we will seek equality law reforms to ensure same-sex couples have equal pension rights and protected characteristics are expanded to ensure all LGBTI people are fully protected from discrimination and harassment. At Westminster the SNP successfully pressured the UK government to pass a ‘Turing Bill’ which pardoned deceased gay men convicted for same-sex sexual activity that is now lawful. SNP MPs will press the UK government to go further and match the Scottish Government’s commitment to extend the pardon to gay men who are still alive today and have such records.”(pg. 37)

“SNP MPs will support the establishment of a special envoy to promote the rights of LGBTI people throughout the world, as an integral part of UK foreign policy – helping to alleviate the discrimination and persecution faced by LGBTI people in Chechnya and across the world.”(pg. 47)

“There needs to be reform to the detention and asylum system for LGBTI individuals escaping countries where homosexuality is still criminalised, removing unfair and invasive demands for ‘proof’ of sexuality or gender identity.”(pg. 47)

 Sinn Fein

“Sinn Fein priorities include:

  • A Bill of rights for the North
  • An All-Ireland charter of fundamental rights” (p10)

Social Democratic and Labour Party

No comment

UKIP

UKIP says that “Britain has always welcomed people of whatever faith, nationality or creed who have wanted to make their home in this country, but a lack of vision for an integrated Britain has led to our society becoming more and more fragmented. UKIP will take integration as seriously as we have immigration, and we will not tolerate the intolerable.” (pg. 35)

“UKIP will stand up for the equal rights of all people in Britain, and say we are proud of our country and its achievements, our values of free speech, democracy, independence, and patriotism. We will promote British values in our legal system, in our schools, and in our society.” (pg. 35)

UKIP emphasises that “the growth of sharia councils is of great concern to the public, as is the apparent unwillingness of the political class to prevent them proliferating.  UKIP will take action: we will establish a legal commission to draw up proposals to disband sharia councils. It is simple: there should be one law for all.” (pg. 35)

“UKIP will challenge those who do not uphold the rights of women, or who set themselves on a deliberate collision course with core British values of equality, free speech and democracy. We will protect all women, regardless of their race, ethnicity or religion. Culture is not an excuse for crime, nor is ignorance of the law”’ (pg. 36)

UKIP pledges to “ban wearing of the niqab and the burqa in public places. Face coverings such as these are barriers to integration. We will not accept these de-humanising symbols of segregation and oppression, nor the security risks they pose.” (pg. 37)

‘Until such time as the Muslim community is better integrated, UKIP proposes:

  • Immediately putting into Special Measures schools found to be exposing children to Islamism
  • Giving schools the right to dismiss forthwith any teachers, members of staff or governors found to be actively supporting radical mosques or imams
  • Requiring Ofsted to conduct snap inspections of schools when parents or pupils have raised concerns that:
  • Girls are being offered unequal access to music, dance, PE or drama lessons, or are otherwise discriminated against
  • Anti-Western, anti-Semitic, or anti-equality views are being expressed by staff or governors
  • Muslim or non-Muslim pupils who challenge or do not share hardline views are being bullied or ridiculed.’(pg.38)

UKIP reaffirms its 2015 Manifesto pledge to “protect religious freedoms in accordance with Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, provided those beliefs exist firmly within the framework of British law. We will not condone any faith position that is itself intolerant of the human rights of others.” (pg. 38)

UKIP will “refuse admission to prisons to any imam, preacher or individual known to promote views contrary to British values.” (pg. 41)

Ulster Unionist Party

No comment

Please like & share:

The Alliance Party manifesto: Where they stand on our issues
Public Affairs

On 31 May, the Alliance Party launched their manifesto, detailing their key policies.

The full manifesto can be accessed here.

So what does the manifesto say?

Addressing trafficking and exploitation

Alliance will:

“Promote collaborative efforts to tackle global crimes which require an integrated national and international response. These include: human trafficking, fuel laundering and counterfeiting. We recognise that the profits from these crimes fund illegal organisations locally and globally.” (pg21)

Alliance will:

“Continue to support the fight against slave labour and human trafficking.” (pg34)

Further information as to where CARE stands on Trafficking and Exploitation issues can be accessed here

Marriage

“Key elements for Alliance in a shared future… would include:

  • Extending civil marriage provisions to same sex couples, with robust protections provided through legislation to protect faith groups and religious celebrants who do not wish to marry same-sex couples.” (pg12)

Further information as to where CARE stands on Marriage issues can be accessed here

Religious Liberty and Equality

“Key elements for Alliance in a shared future… would include:

  • Passing a Single Equality Bill.” (pg12)

“Alliance is a strong supporter of the European Convention on Human Rights. We will oppose any proposed repeal of the Human Rights Act or withdrawal from the European Convention on Human Rights.” (p13)

“Alliance will:

  • Continue to promote our unwavering commitment to freedom of, and from, religion across the world and opposing discrimination on the basis of religion or belief.
  • Promote LGBTI+ rights across the world.
  • Use the UK’s role in the Commonwealth to make progress on protecting the rights of women, religious minorities and LGBTI+ people.” (pg34)

Further information as to where CARE stands on Religious Liberty and Equality issues can be accessed here

Please like & share:

Democratic Unionist Party manifesto: Where they stand on our issues
Public Affairs

The Democratic Unionist Party launched its manifesto on 31 May.

The full Manifesto is available to read here. The manifesto does not refer to any of the issues covered on the engaGE17 website.

Please like & share:

Where do the main parties stand on family and tax?
Public Affairs

CARE believes that marriage between a man and a woman is good for the family and therefore good for society.  The social science evidence strongly underlines this wisdom, demonstrating the overwhelming benefits of marriage to both adults and children. CARE believes governments should create a public policy framework that supports marriage through the tax system and makes getting married no harder in this country than is the case across the developed world. Further information as to where CARE stands on family and tax can be accessed here

Below are extracts from the manifestos of the larger political parties relating to supporting marriage in the tax system.

Alliance Party

No comment

Conservative Party

No comment

Democratic Unionist Party

No comment

Green Party (England and Wales)

No comment

Green Party in Northern Ireland

No comment

Labour Party

No comment

Liberal Democrats

The Liberal Democrats will “reverse a number of the Conservatives’ unfair and unjustified tax cuts, including …– The Marriage Allowance.” (pg.40)

Plaid Cymru

No comment

Scottish Greens

No comment

Scottish National Party

 “We will support the reversal of the married couple’s allowance …”(pg. 15)

Sinn Fein

No comment

Social Democratic and Labour Party

No comment

UKIP

No comment

Ulster Unionist Party

No comment

Please like & share:

Having the conversation – sex and relationships education
Public Affairs

Our culture is awash with sexual imagery from advertising to TV programmes and music videos.  Technology has increased young people’s access to pornography and led to harmful behaviour such as sending nude photographs and “revenge porn”.  Teaching our children how to engage in relationships and sexual intimacy in a responsible way and in its appropriate setting – marriage – has perhaps never been more important.

The increased sexualisation of our culture has led many to call for sex education to be compulsory in schools and even a part of the centralised national curriculum.  However, this brings with it a number of areas of concern.

CARE believes that sex and relationships education (SRE) works best when parents are involved – speaking with their children about these issues at home, being aware of when and how the subject is being covered at school, and even helping to shape the curriculum through discussion with school governors.  However, recent changes to the law in England will see “relationships education” become compulsory for primary schools for the first time, and all secondary schools –including academies and independent schools– will be required to teach “relationships and sex education”.  Most critically, parents will not have a right to withdraw their children from relationships education in primary school as they can in relation to sex education.

The exact details about the development of the curriculum and how this teaching will be delivered have yet to be worked out. However, there can be no doubt that this is a critical time to ensure that children are provided with appropriate teaching and that the role of parents in educating their children about relationships and sex in a way and at an age they consider suitable is not eroded.

Many of the political parties have made commitments about SRE in their manifestos and as the guidance for the new SRE system will be developed under the next Government it will be important to find out what candidates think about the issue if you live in England.  Our full briefing paper available here, sets out more details of the current and new systems. Alternatively, you can read a short summary here.

Please like & share: