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Conservatives abdicating their responsibilities on sex education

February 19, 2018 9:00 AM
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

Eight schoolchildren working at a table supervised by a teacher.

In interviews with The Sunday Times and Andrew Marr, new Education Secretary Damian Hinds signalled he would encourage restrictions on pupils' rights to sex education.

In the former interview, he is reported to have acknowledged he was reversing the policy of his predecessor, Justine Greening.

Hinds also failed to commit to the reintroduction of maintenance grants for students from the most disadvantaged backgrounds as part of a review of the university system.

The sexual harassment and intimidation scandals - and the resulting need for the #metoo movement - and the shocking rise in homophobic and transphobic attacks are just some of the reasons why compulsory sex education is vital.

The new Education Secretary should be pushing for all children to have age-appropriate sex education, not trying to encourage the use of opt-outs that could result in young people struggling to understand the sexual rights of themselves and others.

The Conservatives must not abdicate their responsibilities in this area.

Hinds was equivocal at best - dismissive in reality - of maintenance grants for the poorest university students when he was interviewed by Andrew Marr.

Universities must be open to all and, for the system to work properly, the Liberal Democrats have argued that maintenance grants are vital for students from disadvantaged backgrounds.