Relationships, Sex and Health Education: Statutory Guidance - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords am 2:46 pm ar 16 Mai 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Earl Russell Earl Russell Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Energy and Climate Change) 2:46, 16 Mai 2024

My Lords, I thank the Minister for repeating the Statement in your Lordships’ House. If it is not broken, do not fix it: we on these Benches do not welcome most of these changes, which are politicised solutions that are mainly looking for a problem. Indeed, we fear that the net result will be to put our children and young people at greater risk.

The Government are choosing to water down the safeguarding of our children on the altar of yet another pointless culture war in the run-up to the general election—legislation for leaflets, I call it. Sex education, particularly in the early years, is not about teaching young people to have sex; it is about safeguarding. It is about teaching them to know what is appropriate, what is invasive, and what is abusive; it is about informed consent. Age-appropriate education is vital for empowerment of our young children, so they can live healthy and happy lives.

Where children are questioning their gender identity, they should be supported with open and inclusive discussions centred on their health and well-being. The Government should be careful what they wish for; it is better that appropriate support be provided in schools, because the only alternative is that perhaps inappropriate information will be sought elsewhere.

Finally, what actions have the Government taken to ensure that these changes do not pose greater safeguarding risks to our children and young people?