Michael Doherty, a concerned father from Suffolk, took a bold step by removing his daughter from her primary school due to what he considered highly inappropriate sex education lessons. He believes that the lessons were not suitable for children of her age and wanted to protect his daughter from exposure to explicit content. This decision was not taken lightly, as he felt it was necessary to take action to safeguard his daughter’s innocence and wellbeing.
The teachings in question included topics such as orgasms and even anal sex, which Mr. Doherty found shocking and worrisome. He was alarmed to discover that these lessons were mandatory in schools across the UK, leaving him with limited options for his daughter’s education. When he approached the school to see the teaching materials, he was informed that they were unable to share specifics due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. This lack of transparency only fueled his concerns as a parent.
Furthermore, Mr. Doherty learned that the teaching resources, including a controversial video produced by the BBC, were provided to the school by an external charity called the PSHE Association. This revelation underscored the importance of parental involvement in decision-making processes regarding the materials taught in classrooms. Mr. Doherty believes that parents should be consulted and have a say in what their children are exposed to at school.
The video in question depicted explicit content, including scenes of wet dreams, erections, and ejaculation. This concerned father found it highly inappropriate for fourth-grade students like his daughter Sofia. While the video was eventually removed from the website, Sofia’s teacher denied any sexual nature in the lessons, claiming that sex education was not being taught to her year group. Mr. Doherty firmly believes that parental consent should be obtained before exposing children to such sensitive topics.
Mr. Doherty expressed his disappointment with how his concerns were handled by the school, stating, “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.” He firmly believes that it is crucial for parents to voice their concerns and ensure that their children’s education aligns with their values and morals. The over-sexualization of children is a growing concern, and Mr. Doherty believes that parents must play an active role in protecting their children’s innocence.
After much persistence, Mr. Doherty was eventually able to withdraw his daughter from the school. Currently, Sofia is spending time with her family in Poland before she attends another school. Homeschooling is also being considered as an option by her parents, who want to ensure that Sofia receives an education that aligns with their values.
It is essential to note that since September 2020, Relationships Education has become compulsory in primary schools, while Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) is now mandatory in secondary schools. However, this has led to confusion among teachers seeking guidance on the subject, resulting in the use of materials from charities with unconventional views on biological gaps. Mr. Doherty considers the teaching of PSHE and RSE as a “sausage factory,” emphasizing the need for schools to be a safe place for education and to trust the judgment of their leaders.
The Department for Education has acknowledged the reports of inappropriate materials and has initiated an urgent review of the curriculum. They are also exploring the possibility of introducing age ratings to ensure the appropriateness of teaching materials. In addition, the Education Secretary has emphasized the rights of parents to view teaching materials and clarified that copyright law does not prevent parents from accessing external resources on school premises.
Thurston Church of England Primary Academy, where Sofia attended, has stated that their PSHE curriculum adheres to the statutory guidance provided by the Department for Education. The school follows the government-funded and quality-assured program of study from the PSHE Association to ensure it meets all statutory requirements. They have also confirmed that the BBC Bitesize video has been withdrawn and that they will be reviewing their teaching materials.
In conclusion, Mr. Doherty’s decision to remove his daughter from the school was driven by his concerns about the inappropriate nature of the sex education lessons. He firmly believes that parents should have a voice in their children’s education and be aware of the materials being taught at school. The incident has led to a broader discussion about the need for transparency, parental involvement, and age-appropriate education within the curriculum. It is a reminder that the safety and well-being of children should always be a top priority.