A new report finds more than three quarters of faith schools in the UK are failing to teach sex and relationship education impartially.
Conducted by the National Secular Society (NSS), the report states 77% of faith schools teach sex ed according to their religious principles instead of in accordance with the Equality Act 2010.
It analyzes data from 600 state secondary schools. It found 257 of 334 faith schools choose to teach sex ed through their own religious lens.
The government’s policy statement reads: ‘This provision enables faith schools to teach these subjects according to the tenets of their faith, whilst still being consistent with requirements of the Equality Act.’
But to what extent ‘tenets of their faith’ comes into the teaching practice is unclear.
Some faith schools teach homosexuality is wrong, while others state abortion and contraception are wrong. Some schools even teach taboo around menstruation products.
Chief executive of the NSS Stephen Evans wrote to Damian Hinds, the education secretary. He said: ‘Government policy must endeavour to ensure all pupils at all schools, regardless of their religious ethos, are entitled to the same basic level of SRE.
‘We fear that your current approach will lead to unequal education and undermine efforts to ensure that every child has access to age appropriate sex and relationships education, in a consistent way,’ he said.
‘Sexual activity of homosexual people… is deemed unacceptable’
The report states specific examples from schools around the UK.
One of the examples is the Holy Trinity Academy in Telford. It’s policy on homosexuality states: ‘The Catholic Church’s understanding the fact that homosexual orientation is distinguished from the evaluation of the sexual activity of homosexual people.
‘The latter is deemed unacceptable as it does not respect the complimentary nature of male and female since it lacks the life giving potential to proper sexual love.’
On HIV, Woodward Academy states: ‘Woodard recognises the need to address homosexuality and the need to provide education related to the spread of HIV/AIDS which will, of necessity, include reference to homosexuals, bisexuals and heterosexuals.
‘Woodard and the academy will not permit the promotion of homosexuality. Objective discussion of homosexuality may take place in the classroom,’ the school policy states.
And on masturbation, All Saints Catholic School and Technology College believe it’s ‘wrong.’ Their school policy states: ‘The Church teaches that masturbation is wrong in that it can be seen as a form of self – indulgence. This is not what the act of sex is intended to be.’
Read the full report.