Watchdog rules parents of children at Hatcham College do not have right to see teaching materials taught by external providersParents blocked from checking their child’s trans sex education lessons
Parents have been forbidden from viewing the content of sex education lessons urging children to become transgender allies, the Information Commissioner has ruled.
Material aimed at children aged 12 and above provided by The School of Sexuality Education (SoSE) includes links to Mermaids, the controversial transgender children’s charity, and a seven-minute video urging students to become “trans allies”.
Last week, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) ruled that parents at Haberdashers’ Hatcham College do not have the right to see the content of lessons taught by external providers.
The SoSE, which provides workshops on “consent, sexual health, porn and positive relationships” through the viewpoints of decolonisation and inclusivity, was hired by Hatcham College to deliver Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) sessions.
SoSE’s core principles in teaching RSE include an “aim to recognise and address the impact of colonisation” and to focus on “our commitment to equity and social justice”.
The concept of decolonising education has become popular among Left-wing campaigners, who argue that curriculums are too focused on white European culture.
‘Parents must have right to know what is being taught’
Claire Page, a parent, requested lesson slides from Hatcham College after her daughter reported being taught that “heteronormativity” is “harmful,” and was encouraged to be “sex-positive” in a lesson advertised as being about consent.
Heteronormativity is a term used to describe a world in which being heterosexual is seen as the norm.
Mrs Page told The Telegraph: “Parents must have a right to know what their children are being taught at school and must not be shut out of sex education.
“Without access to the materials taught to our children, parents cannot raise legitimate concerns about the public service they are using.”
Miriam Cates, a Conservative MP, said: “It’s deeply concerning that the ICO has taken the decision to sideline parents and prevent proper scrutiny of the contentious materials to which children are being exposed.”
Lesson slides from SoSE aimed at those aged “12+” tell students to watch the Netflix show Never Have I Ever, before answering the question “What does heteronormativity mean?”.
Other questions for students in the lesson include: “Explore how the parental figure… perpetuate[s] heteronormativity,” and “The idea of ‘coming out’ is a heteronormative process that will cease to exist when society stops thinking it has the right to expect and assume about a person’s sexuality and gender.’ Discuss.”.
In another SoSE lesson for 16-year-olds and above, students are told to watch the Netflix programme “Sex Education” despite the show being rated 18+.
Pupils are then told to write down “a list of words that could relate to sex E.g., stroke, wet, hard” and then to “try reading them out loud looking in the mirror (or on a video call with a friend)”.
After Mrs Page submitted a Freedom of Information Request asking for lesson plans and slides from SoSE, the ICO decided that revealing this information would represent a “breach of confidence”.
The ICO ruling states publishing the lessons “would take away SoSE’s right to exploit its intellectual property” at a “time of increasing pressure on school budgets”.
The Information Commissioner decided that while there is a public interest in parents knowing what children are being taught in sex education classes, none of the materials were “so obviously inappropriate as to justify over-riding the Trust’s duty of confidence”.
A spokesman from the Department of Education said: “Schools are legally required to engage with parents on the teaching of relationships, sex and health education.
“We are writing to all schools this term to emphasise this and to make it clear that if a parent requests to see teaching materials, copyright law does not prevent a school from sharing them with parents in person on the school premises.”
Hatcham College did not immediately respond to a request for comment.