Reactions to last week's decision

31st October 2008 at 00:00

Last week, a government review recommended that sex education should be compulsory in schools, provoking a range of responses from family planning groups, religious associations and the media. Here is a selection:

"What a country we are, where children leave school at 16 unable to read or write but are well-schooled in the arts of copulation."

Simon Heffer, The Daily Telegraph

"Providing quality sex and relationships education is essential if we are to reduce rising rates of sexually transmitted infections. Young people need accurate information on relationships and sex to balance what they learn in the playground and from the internet."

Nick Partridge, Chief executive Terrence Higgins Trust

"Plans to extend sex lessons to primary schools would undermine parents and damage children's wellbeing. In a culture that is obsessed with sex, school should be the one place where children are allowed to get on with life."

The Christian Institute

"Sex and relationships education is important for all children. However, space has to be made for personal, social and health education in the school day, and sufficient training and necessary specialist staff made available."

Christine Blower, Acting general secretary National Union of Teachers

"If the Government say they want to talk dirty to primary school pupils and groom the young for sex, this is praised as enlightened social policy ... They wish to spread the idea that underage sex, sex outside marriage and many other things are 'natural' and 'normal' and inevitable."

Peter Hitchens, The Mail on Sunday

"This is a momentous decision. This move will dramatically improve the long-term health and wellbeing of our children and young people. Research shows that sex and relationships education helps young people delay the time they first have sex, and promotes responsible and healthy choices when they do become sexually active."

Julie Bentley, Chief executive Family Planning Association.

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