Wednesday, 24 February 2010

CES Statement on the Sex Education Bill (3rd Reading)

"CESEW Statement regarding Amendment 70 to the Children, Schools
and Families Bill (23 February 2010)
Following the Third Reading of the Children, Schools and Families Bill, 
Amendment 70 has been accepted as part of the Bill. The amendment
is as follows:
Page 14, line 6 [Clause 11], at end insert—
‘(7A)    Subsections (4) to (7) are not to be read 
as preventing the governing body or head teacher 
of a school within subsection (7B) from causing 
or allowing PSHE to be taught in a way that 
reflects the school’s religious character.
(7B)    A school is within this subsection if it 
is designated as a school having a religious 
character by an order made by the Secretary 
of State under section 69(3) of the School 
Standards and Framework Act 1998.’.
The governing bodies and head teachers of Voluntary Aided 
schools are required to conduct their schools in accordance 
with their Instrument of Government and the Trust Deed under 
which they operate. The provisions of the amendment will 
enable schools with a religious character to fulfil these 
requirements in the teaching of Personal, Social, Health
and Economic (PSHE) Education, which includes Sex and 
Relationships Education (SRE).
The teaching of all aspects of the curriculum in Catholic schools 
reflects their religious ethos. In the same way, the SRE in 
Catholic schools will be rooted in the Catholic Church’s 
teaching of the profound respect for the dignity of all human persons."
The disingenuity of this statement is, in my view, quite staggering.
The Catholic Education Service has failed to tell the whole truth 
about what is proposed in this Bill with regard to the 
Sex and Relationships element. 
As Fr Finigan and others have said, the amendment is worthless:
 "since all schools, including Catholic schools, will still be
required to give information about contraception,
abortion, and homosexual partnerships: and they must
teach a "range of views." In other words, whatever they
do in terms of presenting teaching in a way that reflects
the religious character of the school, they are not allowed
to teach that Catholic doctrine is true."
The question, which the CES's statement has ignored, remains:
Does the teaching of the Catholic Church permit for
Catholic schools to teach children how and where they
can access contraception and abortion?
Thanks to Fr. Finigan and John Smeaton

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