Sex education for children under fire at Senedd

A resource for sex education for children has come under fire from the Shaodw Minister for Education and the Welsh Language, Laura Anne Jones MS. Speaking at the Plenary of 14th March the Conservative MS raised concerns over a resource she said was shocking, lacking in biological fact, and simply not age appropriate or appropriate for children.

Questioning the Minister for Education and the Welsh Language , Jeremy Miles MS she said: ” Minister, you’ll be aware that the Welsh Government commissioned a resource for sex education in Wales. This ended up with AGENDA being created and used by teachers and schools across Wales on children as young as seven years old. I read through the 150-plus page document, and I have to say I find a lot of the content shocking, lacking in biological fact, and simply not age appropriate or appropriate for children. It states in your document that children as young as two or three know if they’re trans, and it also mentions gender bending and sex switching. Minister, we both know that you cannot change your sex. Most concerningly, it talks about creating a secret language to talk about these issues, which of course could be used to exclude parents. Minister, are you happy for children as young as seven to be taught these things, and do you think that it’s appropriate? And if you don’t think it’s appropriate or factually correct, why did this Government commission this work and hand it to every school in Wales?”

Jeremy Miles responded by saying: “Well, just for the Chamber to be aware, the letter that I wrote to the Member, the opposition spokesperson for education, now several months ago, I think, asking her to bring to my attention any documents of concern and evidence they’re being used in schools in Wales remains unanswered. And the terms in which the Member brings the matters to the Chamber I’m afraid I think rather says it all. I don’t think this is motivated principally by the well-being of young people in Wales.

“But the substance of her argument is this, if she will listen to the answer. The code that we have voted on as a Chamber is extremely clear about what young people in Wales should learn at which stages of development. There is no doubt about it. If she hasn’t read it, she should do so. It is absolutely clear—. She will know, I think, if she has read the document to which she’s referring, that it is not a document aimed at two and three-year-olds; it is a document that is for older children in the system.

“The code is very clear. It makes a distinction, which I know she will welcome, between biological sex and gender. It is very clear that the purpose of the resource, and indeed that part of the curriculum, is partly to tackle bullying and discrimination. It is also about tackling gender stereotypes. We don’t want to be in a situation where girls are taught that they should be nurses but not police officers, and boys are taught they should be police officers but not nurses. This is part of a rounded education for our young people.

“The resource to which she refers is one that is aimed at teachers, not young people, and provides them with a set of tools to respond sensitively to things that young people are telling them. It isn’t a prospectus for them to share proactively in school and it is, once again, just to be clear, to be used in a way that is age appropriate.

“I saw last week the UK Government announcing they’re reviewing curriculum resources. I’m sure people in England will welcome that. We’ve been doing that in Wales since the turn of the new year, and I hope that, by the summer, perhaps we’ll have concluded that. And so I’ll be really clear: I have an open invitation to the Member to raise with me any concerns that she has, backed up with evidence, in a way that enables them to be addressed. She persists in preferring to bring these matters to the Chamber. She’s perfectly entitled to do that, but I think that’s the context for her remarks. ”

The Conservative MS pressed on by saying: “Minister, it’s very easy—this AGENDA document, in black and white, has the Welsh Government logo on it and it was commissioned by yourself and your predecessor welcomed it. I’ve read out some of the things that were included, verbatim, in that document, which says sex switching, which we know to be factually incorrect. It says children as young as two or three know if they’re trans. That is outrageous, quite frankly, as a parent. What you’re forcing on young people is not based in law or biological facts, Minister. To make matters worse, every child is forced to consume this indoctrination of gender ideology, and you have taken away the parents’ right to opt out of those lessons, which I just don’t agree with. You state that, in most cases, parents’ concerns come from not knowing what’s going on. Information sharing is worryingly different between schools, across schools and across local authority areas. But many parents do know what’s going on, Minister, and still do not want their children learning these dangerous falsehoods. Minister, it’s time to scrap relationships and sexuality education, or, at the very least, give parents back the opt-out option. Would you agree with that today?”

Jeremy Miles MS replied: “I have the advantage over her in being able to see the faces of her colleagues as she’s bringing these things to the Chamber, and it is a picture, because they are as embarrassed as we are all embarrassed. We are all engaged in this Chamber in making sure that there is a curriculum. We are all engaged in this Chamber in making sure that there is a curriculum that addresses the needs of our young people in a complex and changing world. We want to make sure that they are healthy and safe and not subject to misinformation, and not subject to propaganda and ideological opposition. That is what has motivated most people in this Chamber in supporting the curriculum and the code, and there was a point in time at which she was among those people.”

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