Parents fury at sex education in East End schools plan week of protest

18:00 14 May 2012

Parents objecting to “inappropriate sex and relationship” education in primary schools in London’s East End are launching a week of protests.

They have organised five days of public meetings and events aimed at challenging the “inappropriate manner” in which they say sex education is being taught in the classroom without parents’ consent.

The campaigners claim those objecting on religious or cultural grounds to explicit instruction given to their children are being bypassed by Tower Hamlets primary schools using a voluntary programme on sex education for human biology lessons during compulsory science.

“The council has seriously over-reached its powers,” said Yusuf Patel of the Tower Hamlets Parents’ Action Group.

“The rights of parents as set out in government guidance have been curtailed.

“The council should stop interfering in schools, stop wasting taxpayers’ money and cease funding inappropriate materials.”

The campaigners claim the local authority has restricted the right of parents to be consulted and accuse the Town Hall of misusing £78,000 of taxpayers’ money to run the programme.

Organisers are also launching a petition next Monday (May 21) at the London Muslim Centre in Whitechapel where the campaign kicks off 7-9pm.

The campaign moves to the 55 Club in Manchester Road, Isle of Dogs, on Tuesday, 7.30-9.30pm, then Stepney’s Harford Street Multicentre on Wednesday 6-8pm, Bromley-by-Bow’s Kinglsey Hall in Powis Road on Thursday 7-9pm and ending at Bethnal Green’s St Hilda’s Centre in Club Row Friday 7-9pm.

It follows a protest last summer against Tower Hamlets Council allegedly pushing primary schools to use the programme as part of the national science curriculum.

Parents were given assurances by the authority that they would keep the right to withdraw children from classes unless sessions were part of the curriculum.

The Government has advised that all schools must have a policy on sex education in consultation with parents before it is introduced in primary schools next year.

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