I am launching a campaign to review what kind of sex education materials are being used in primary schools to teach children as young as 5 about sex. It is, of course, very important that children learn about sex and are taught to be responsible and safe as we try to tackle teenage pregnancies and sexual transmitted diseases. However, the 'Too Much, Too Young' campaign has highlighted material that is being used in schools that I consider to be completely inappropriate and sending out completely the wrong message.
At the moment it is too often the case that local authorities are recommending material from unlicensed suppliers to be used in primary schools that is completely inappropriate. At a time when there is widespread concern about the sexualisation of childhood, using sexually explicit materials in primary school classrooms can only make things worse.
I secured a debate here in Parliament in Westminster Hall to discuss this matter further with colleagues and to raise this issue with the Department for Education. I would like to make sure that any material taught in primary schools is appropriate, not sexually explicit and not exploitative of our young children. Secondly I want governors to be actively aware of what kind of material is being used in their schools and to take a sensible and responsible view on this. Finally and most importantly I want parents to be able to have their say and to also be actively aware of what kind of sex education is being taught to their children. I want to see a system where parents take a decision on whether to allow their children to be taught sex education and 'opt in' to the lessons rather than having to 'opt out' as is the case at the moment.
Sex education is very important but the right sex education at the right age is also very important. The material used must be appropriate and I want to see parents and governors having a greater say over what is taught.