The worrying thing is that the focus is almost entirely on the right of parents to withdraw children from the age of 15 and upwards from sex education classes. The current rule is that parents are able to withdraw 19 year olds from such classes.
Nineteen, you say? But that's a fully grown adult. Surely they can make their own decisions?
Well, yes, quite.
What all these outraged journalists seem to be upset about is the withdrawal of the rights of parents to choose how their children are education. But whose rights are more important here?
The parents'? Or the child's, who deserves to be given balanced information to make an informed decision? If they want to then still follow their parents' religious practices, that's up to them to decide. If they decide not to, however, at least they'll have the necessary knowledge to stay safe.
Those upset by the proposals should have some hope, however. They won't come into force until 2011, by which time the Tories will almost certainly be in power. Don't be surprised if they reverse the decision, which affects a whacking 0.04% of schoolchildren.
Meanwhile, some of us are more worried about the actual content, which will affect 100% of school children.
But remember what the UK Youth Parliament said about the current arrangements?
A report published in 2007 by the UK Youth Parliament, based on questionnaire responses from over 20,000 young people, says that 40 per cent of young people described the Sex and Relationships Education (SRE) they had received as either ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’ with a further 33 per cent describing it as only average. Other key findings from the survey were that:Sadly, I can't actually find much detail about the content of the new curriculum anywhere. All I could find through the DCSF website were details of a poll, which told me that 81% of parents think that all children should attend sex education classes, and that 30% think that parents should be able to withdraw their children from such classes.
• 43 per cent of respondents reported not having been taught anything about relationships;
• 55 per cent of the 12-15 year olds and 57 per cent of the 16-17 year old females reported not having been taught how to use a condom;
• Just over half of respondents had not been told where their local sexual health service was located.
Which means at least 11% think it's okay to ignore a child's rights.
[Edit: Okay, I'll give a linky to one smug git called Justin Thacker, just so you can marvel at his smugness, and complete ignorance of what atheism is, and hence the possibility that not all atheists agree with each other.]