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Parents accuse Welsh Government of promoting a ‘dangerous woke agenda’ after losing sex education challenge

22 Dec 2022 5 minute read
Jeremy Miles, Minister for Education and Welsh Language. Photo Welsh Government.

Parents have vowed to fight on after losing a legal challenge against the teaching of gender identity and sex to their primary school age children in Wales – accusing the Welsh Government of promoting a “dangerous woke agenda”.

Campaigners from the Public Child Protection Wales group launched a judicial review in the High Court against the Welsh Government’s new Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) curriculum.

It was launched in September and sees the mandatory teaching of relationships and sexuality education to children from the age of seven.

Parent Kim Isherwood, who led the legal challenge, said: “We asked the High Court to recognise the overreach of power by the Welsh Government, we asked the court to help us protect our children from future emotional, physical, and psychological harm.

“The evidence we provided to the court referenced and highlighted concerning levels of betrayal, deceit and false claims made by the Welsh Government, but it appears as though the judge agrees with them – not only do we parents not have rights, but they were never there to begin with.

“The team is preparing the appeal, the higher the court the louder the message. This is not a loss – this is another level of exposure.

“We look forward to another court hearing in the coming weeks where we will fight all the harder to protect our children from a dangerous woke agenda gone off the rails.”

Inappropriate

Four mothers and one father brought a legal challenge in November at the Civil Justice Centre in Cardiff saying the new curriculum was inappropriate for primary age children.

Their claim centred on the “whole-school approach” of the new curriculum which did not allow for any right of parental excusal.

Some of the children attend state schools while others have been removed due to concerns about the curriculum.

They maintained the Curriculum and Assessment (Wales) Act 2021 had not removed the right to excusal, and if it did, it would be contrary to parental rights under Article 2 of the First Protocol to the European Convention of Human Rights (A2P1).

Dismissing all aspects of the claim, Mrs Justice Steyn said: “In my judgment, for the reasons I have given, the case law and texts relied upon by the claimants do not support the existence of a fundamental common law right of excusal.

“This conclusion is unsurprising, given the nature of the claimed right, which is conceptually dependent on a pre-existing obligation of school attendance, and which, as defined by the claimants, has the appearance of legislation rather than a common law right.

“In my judgment, the content of the code and the guidance is consistent with the requirement to take care to ensure that RSE teaching is conveyed in an objective critical and pluralistic manner, and does not breach the prohibition on indoctrination.

“There is nothing in the code or the guidance that authorises or positively approves teaching that advocates or promotes any particular identity or sexual lifestyle over another, or that encourages children to self-identify in a particular way.”

Inclusive

The judge rejected the assertion the teaching of RSE was a breach of A2P1 and said the policy was intended to be “inclusive” and to “reflect diversity”, including by developing awareness of different identities, views and values.

“The fact that such teaching is likely to include the expression of some views with which the claimants profoundly disagree and, no doubt, other views with which others would disagree equally strongly does not violate A2P1,” she added.

Welsh education minister Jeremy Miles welcomed the ruling and said RSE was intended to “keep children safe and to promote respect and healthy relationships”.

“Now more than ever, our children need our help in protecting them from harmful content and people online,” he said.

“RSE should provide young people with confidence to say no to bullies, to call out harassment, and to understand that families come in all shapes and sizes.

“I want parents to understand what is being taught and what resources are being used, and for schools to take the time to have those discussions with parents. This will require time, patience and confidence-building.”

He added: “I would like to put on record that I am appalled by the misinformation that has been purposefully spread by some campaigners, and the additional pressure this has brought upon some schools and workforce.”

NSPCC

The ruling was also welcomed by teaching unions and the NSPCC who said the curriculum provided for education that was “relevant, sensitive, and age-appropriate”.

But the Welsh Conservatives said the concerns of parents should be respected and not ignored.

Shadow education minister Laura Anne Jones said: “While the courts have found in favour of the Labour Government, this decision should not be allowed to delegitimise the concerns of Welsh parents in any way.

“The plight of parents should not be ignored and I will ensure that pertinent questions are raised regarding the teaching of RSE with the education minister and that the answers we seek are sought out.

“We continue to support the rights of parents to withdraw their children from RSE lessons when they feel the content is not age appropriate.”


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Cathy Jones
Cathy Jones
1 month ago

“Public Child Protection Wales” are not all parents, so I strongly object to the phrasing of this. Have your editors not passed GCSE English or something? The way the sentence is constructed implies that the sad and pathetic dweebs of “Public Child Protection Wales ” represent ALL parents. Which they emphatically do not. They are a crew of Facebook Boomers and tinfoil hat-wearing mugs that are being used to try and push the phoney “Culture War” that the far-right use to gain footholds in discourse, culture and countries to destabilise society via the old divide and rule trick …and when journalists and… Read more »

Padi Phillips
Padi Phillips
1 month ago
Reply to  Cathy Jones

Yeahm the headline is a bit tabloidy, perhaps the writer has been reading too much Sun? I completely agree with your assessment of Public Child Protection Wales, and have been following them with some concern for the past year and a half or so, worried over their complete distortion of facts and the agenda they seem to be trying to set. I challenged them about a year ago when I wrote and questioned their association with an extreme right wing group based in West Wales, and the response was quite illuminating – PCPW didn’t consider that political group dangerous or… Read more »

CJPh
CJPh
1 month ago
Reply to  Padi Phillips

Which extreme right wing group?

Leigh Richards
Leigh Richards
1 month ago
Reply to  CJPh

Apparently members of PCPW have made a number of appearances on a channel run by a far right group called Voice of Wales (a search on google throws up plenty of info on VoW – much of it very disturbing).

CJPh
CJPh
1 month ago
Reply to  Leigh Richards

Righto. Not a fan of those guys, not a fan of populism (it allows for an ugly fringe to sneak in too easily). A rep for PCPW seems to be in the chat – perhaps we can ask for a clarification in the form of a public statement here.

David
David
1 month ago

Does the Welsh government want to ultimately go down the same route for sex, as Scotland under the SNP!?

Leigh Richards
Leigh Richards
1 month ago

Pleased to see the Judge threw out the bigots baseless claims. Jeremy Miles is absolutely right to criticise the lies and misinformation spread by some of those campaigning against the curriculum

Argol fawr!
Argol fawr!
1 month ago

Today I was given a blow by blow account of a very countryfied, county school Eisteddfod where a fare number of the educational staff, including the head, seemed to be promoting cross dressing ti win their performances. I look forward to the Welsh Rugby teams following similar policies at the six nations, hoping the teams fare better than recently.

Philip Davies
Philip Davies
1 month ago

Under the subsidiary heading ‘Relationships and Identity’ the new Government-published Curriculum Code helpfully tables the general scope of information to be imparted from ages 3, 7 and 11. The simplest developmental requirements at age 3 are merely expected to waffle on harmlessly (if ponderously) about ‘kindness’ and ‘compassion’ without the expectation of a necessity to intrude any sexuality (whether normal or of a more bizarre nature). However, at age 7 and at age 11 such vague ‘chats’ are clearly meant to soon morph into increasingly systematic indoctrination into those too often depraved and degraded forms into which natural sex has… Read more »

TriTro
TriTro
1 month ago
Reply to  Philip Davies

“However, at age 7 and at age 11 such vague ‘chats’ are clearly meant to soon morph into increasingly systematic indoctrination into those too often depraved and degraded forms into which natural sex has been perverted by licentious adult sex-addicts.”

This is an actual quote from the above comment!
I wonder what they mean by “natrual sex”?

Last edited 1 month ago by TriTro
Leigh Richards
Leigh Richards
1 month ago
Reply to  TriTro

Think we know what they meant ☹️. Shocking bigotry!

Philip Davies
Philip Davies
1 month ago

Once again NT shows it’s intolerant bias for any views not on the narrow spectrum of opinions and beliefs it peddles. A perfectly reasonable and decent comment of mine is now ‘Awaiting for approval’. (Sic. An illiterate repetition has ignorantly been inserted in a phrase that is well-known to anyone possessing even a nodding acquaintance with English). My considered contribution has also been maliciously labelled as ‘spam’ – that’s what you get for trying to edit your own copy, here. This ridiculous rag is hardly worthy of intelligent respect.

Philip Davies
Philip Davies
1 month ago
Reply to  Mark Mansfield

I am sorry that your good self, as the CEO of NT, has been dragged into apologising for Editorial policies – whether personal or algorithmic – which are presumably a delegated responsibility. I regret any embarrassment this has caused you. Nevertheless, I note with gratitude that your authoritative intervention may well have eased the passage of my comment out of that notorious oubliette into which controversy is today altogether too liable to be cast! My respects, if so. The NT’s prompt restoration of my comment I take as an intelligent acknowledgement of it’s fitness for publication, and reminds me that… Read more »

Leigh Richards
Leigh Richards
1 month ago
Reply to  Philip Davies

Reading the bigoted claptrap you wrote about “natural sex” and “perverted by licentious adult sex-addicts” it might have been better for you if the comment had remained unpublished. If your comment is typical of those opposed to the new curriculum it confirms everything welsh govt minister Jeremy Miles has said about those opposed to it

CJPh
CJPh
1 month ago

I oppose this new stipulation in the curriculum, without screaming or resorting to overly emotional “what ifs”. I do think that the UN/UNESCO backed reforms are part well-meaning, part-power flexing and, unfortunately, include an undercurrent of Critical Theory that should have been consigned to the academic dustbin by now. Some of the push back has been overblown, some of it apt, and emotions are running too high. This said, hand waving and “no you” type arguments in the face of legitimate concern and reasonable questions only serve to embolden low-information hotheads and malcontents. Answer questions clearly, with detail and proof… Read more »

Philip Davies
Philip Davies
1 month ago
Reply to  CJPh

Bravo! Your plea, presumably from the ‘chalk face’ [a calcified idiom, I know], for avoidance of the overly prescriptive and the re-balancing of priorities in teaching comes like a breath of fresh air! Hooray! for professional – and parent – discretion and Hooray! for more attention being given to the survival of our own Welsh culture, with far less – or preferably no – emphasis on the marginal politics of eccentric or subversive activism.

CJPh
CJPh
1 month ago
Reply to  Philip Davies

Duw, I don’t sound like a teacher do I? Nope, just some bloke.

I do hope that your organisation is doing its best to remain above the politicking. Would you ever consider an open forum for individuals who are worried or confused by some of the rhetoric your group espouses? I think it could go a long way to turn the temperature down on this highly emotive issue. Nobody wants children hurt here on the msg boards of Nation, despite many of us disagreeing on policy. The siloing helps nobody. Diolch.

TriTro
TriTro
1 month ago

I think you left out the number 4 from the begining of your article title.
Gives a bit more perspective when you relise its only 4 idiots who object.
Why would you write an article with that kind of narrative? No better than a sensationalised bit in the Sun. Why prop up the woke narrative?

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