The Children, Schools and Families Bill, which had its’ third reading in the Commons yesterday, has received a welcome amendment from an unlikely source. The Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families Ed Balls has tabled an amendment regarding the teaching of sex education in schools, specifically with regards to contraception and homosexuality.
Originally the Bill proposed obligations on all schools, faith or otherwise, to teach children about contraception and homosexuality in a way that gave both sides of the argument. This ended the right of schools to opt-out of any type of teaching on either subject. However, it also prevented faith schools from explaining their faith’s position on the matter. What Mr Balls’ amendment does is to allow faith schools to teach on the subject “within the context and ethos of their faith”. In other words, for example, a Catholic school can teach that contraception is wrong, but they must provide its pupils with teaching about contraception.
This amendment is a fine example of common sense prevailing over the drive for political correctness and is the result of our long-term campaigning on the issue.
In a new and encouraging move Parliament has shown a willingness to work together with faith schools (who provide roughly one-third of the education in the UK) and been sensitive to their views.