Michael Doherty, a 50-year-old resident of Suffolk, made a decision to remove his daughter from the primary school she attended because of what he claims to be highly inappropriate lessons on sexual educations not suit for children her age.
He requested to see the teaching materials his daughter and her classmates were taught at Thurston Primary School and was left in shock from the lessons included and the way they were presented to the students.
In fact, these teaching materials have been part of the program for a couple of years now but parents weren’t able to see them. The reason for this, according to the school, was the coronavirus pandemic which prevented the facility from sharing specifics about the lessons with parents.
The lessons, which are mandatory in schools around UK, indicate that the nine-year-old students are being taught about orgasms and even anal sex.
Following his demand for clarification and upon asking to withdraw his daughter Sofia from the school, he was told that he couldn’t do such a thing “because it is important that all children receive this content. Covering topics such as friendships and how to stay safe.”
The headteacher’s letter to Mr. Doherty asserted that the school followed a national curriculum for PSHE relationships, but this only added to his concerns because in reality, no such national curriculum exists for this purpose. What’s most, he learned that a controversial BBC video shown to the students during lesson time, as well as other teaching resources, have been provided to the school by an external charity called the PSHE Association.
This revelation only added to the importance of having parents involved in the decision making processes regarding the materials distributed in class.
I feel as a parent they were quite hostile to me. You’re treated like some sort of prude. But I think you need to speak up,” Mr. Doherty said.
The video in question depicted a boy experiencing a wet dream, getting an erection, and ejaculating, something this concerned father found highly inappropriate for four graders. Although the video was later taken off of the website, Sofia’s teacher denied that the video had any sexual nature—claiming that his daughter’s year group was not being taught sex education.
Mr. Doherty, however, argued that the school needed to ask for parental consent before exposing the students to that type of videos.
“It’s really, really weird what’s going on in schools. Why is my daughter being shown a video of wet dreams? The teacher’s reason was so that when she’s an adult she doesn’t go ”eurgh” when she hears about wet dreams. It’s all very bizarre. It’s over-sexualization of children,” he said.
“Children are coming out of schools illiterate and they are doing this stuff. As a parent, it just feels wrong. The video is really strange and disgusting. It’s a really creepy and vile video. I don’t want my child to see a vile, disgusting video that [is] being pushed into primary schools. I have been vindicated because the BBC took the video off their site,” he continued.
When he asked from the school to withdraw his daughter they rejected his request initially, but he was later able to take her out of the school. At the time being, Sofia is spending her time with her family in Poland before she attends another school. Her parents even consider homeschooling as an option.
Since September 2020, Relationships Education has become compulsory in primary schools, and RSE is now mandatory in secondary schools. Sadly, this led to confusion among teachers who sought guidance on the subject, but the void ended being filled up with materials from charities that have unconventional views on biological gaps.
Mr. Doherty described the teaching of PSHE and RSE as a “sausage factory.”
“School should be a safe place for education. Sadly we cannot trust the judgment of some school leaders. As for other parents, most are sadly ignorant of what is being shown to children in the school setting. Maybe if they were aware [of] the potential damage to their children, they would take the same steps as I did,” he said.
A spokesperson from the Department for Education stated, “The safety and well-being of children and young people is our top priority.”
“Following reports of inappropriate materials being used to teach relationships and sex education, the government has already brought forward an urgent review of the curriculum and is looking at introducing age ratings to make sure teaching materials are appropriate. The Education Secretary has also written to schools to reiterate that parents have a right to view teaching materials and copyright law does not prevent a parent from viewing external resources on school premises.” they added.
The spokesperson for Thurston Church of England Primary Academy said that the PSHE curriculum taught at the school adheres to the statutory guidance provided by the Department for Education’s policy on Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education (RSE), and Health Education.
“The curriculum follows the PSHE Association program of study – which is government-funded and quality assured by the educational body to ensure it meets statutory requirements. The BBC Bitesize video was included in the resources but has since been withdrawn by the BBC. The school will be reviewing its materials.”
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