Welsh ‘Relationships and Sexuality Education Code’ Under Scrutiny

The Labour-run Welsh government has been accused of creating a sex education curriculum with no references to the sexes. 

Education chiefs have removed the word ‘sex’ from the title of the new teaching code and replaced it with ‘sexuality’ as well as removing all references to ‘boy’, ‘girl’ and ‘women’.

The ‘Relationships and Sexuality Education Code’ is scheduled to be debated in the Welsh Senedd for just 30 minutes today before coming into force.

Stephanie Davies-Arai, of the Transgender Trend campaign group, condemned the government’s decision.

She said: ‘This is not fact-based biologically-accurate sex education, but indoctrination of children in gender identity ideology.

‘The erasure of sex undermines safeguarding and erodes the concepts of privacy, boundaries and consent, putting girls particularly at risk.’

The Welsh government said it was wrong to say sex had been removed because women are explicitly referenced in a guide to the Women Against Violence, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Act published alongside the code.

But Tory Senedd members said the omission of any genders in the code was staggering.

Robin Millar said: ‘I would urge the Welsh government to think again about the removal of sex from sex education.’

Laura Anne Jones said there were serious question marks over how the code ‘inexplicably fails to use the terms “male”, “female”, “boy” or “girl” anywhere’.

She added: ‘We don’t even know the exact guidance that will be given to teachers, and it sadly appears to prioritise ideology rather than safeguarding and protecting children.

 

‘The consequences of waving through this legislation without proper scrutiny – just 30 minutes of debate in the Senedd – are huge. This is a stunning example of political correctness gone mad, and I will not be supporting the code.’

Unlike in England, Welsh parents cannot choose to take their children out of sex education classes if they disagree with them. Their only option might be to pay for private education.

Martha Gwion, of Welsh women’s group Merched Cymru, said: ‘A code where girls and women are invisible apart from references to their bodily functions is more than just counterintuitive.’

She added: ‘Such coyness and aversion to naming our bodies, our reality and oppression, is antithetical to high quality relationships and sex education.

‘Women and girls do not experience violence, abuse and opposition because they are feminine, but because they are female.

‘Welsh government should focus less on being different to their counterparts in England and on pleasing lobby groups, and more on doing better for our children and young people.’

But a Welsh Government spokesman said: ‘These claims are incorrect. Wales has led the way by introducing the Violence Against Women, Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Act.

‘The act is explicitly referenced in our statutory Relationships and Sexuality Education guidance, published alongside the code, which schools must have regard to when teaching RSE.

‘We are committed to providing high-quality RSE in Wales which is inclusive to all, developmentally-appropriate and will help increase understanding of safe, consensual, equitable and positive relationships.

‘The code is designed to promote equality and inclusivity, including LGBTQ+ inclusivity, so that all learners can value difference and diversity as a source of strength.

‘Learning about sexual violence is a mandatory part of the code, at the developmentally appropriate point. By promoting a consistent concept of what healthy relationships look like, supported by high quality teaching and learning, we will support our whole-society approach to end the abuse of women and girls in Wales.’

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