Rugby MP raises concerns over school programme which saw year two children taught about 'self-stimulation'

Rugby MP Mark Pawsey has raised concerns in Parliament over a Warwickshire-wide programme which has seen children between six and seven years old taught about 'self-stimulation'.

Monday, 21st October 2019, 6:11 pm
Updated Monday, 21st October 2019, 7:10 pm
File image: Mr Pawsey speaking in Parliament.

Mr Pawsey made a speech in Parliament after parents and the national media began expressing concern over the 'All About Me' sex and relationship (SRE) programme weeks ago - prompting an urgent review.

Jacob Rees Mogg responded to Mr Pawsey in Parliament, stating: "I have read about this, and it is a subject which quite rightly causes controversy if schools give messages to children that their parents are not happy with.

"Parents and schools need to be happy that what is being taught in schools is suitable and that both sides are content with it.

"Schools should not go off and do things that leave parents concerned about what is being told to their children."

He added that he shares Mr Pawsey's concerns, and that he will make sure they are brought to the attention of the Education Secretary.

The programme has been taken from the county council's website, but documents are still accessible from the websites of several primary schools in the county.

Of chief concern among parents and the national media has been a line in one of the programme documents which states that year two children: "Will consider their own rules for how they like to be touched by others and the rules of when it is appropriate to touch themselves - including self-stimulation."

That same section does state that children will also be taught that their bodies belong to them and they have the right to choose who touches them, and that others also have that same right.

It also states children will be taught to recognise when they feel unsafe, and that they should seek help if they are worried.

Mr Pawsey told the Advertiser: “I have been contacted by concerned parents in Rugby following reports in the media regarding the ‘All About Me’ programme for primary schools which has been developed by Warwickshire County Council.

"Having looked at the programme, I understand the concerns of parents who believe that some of the material is not appropriate for young children and goes beyond the Department for Education guidance.

"From next year the Government will require schools to provide Relationship Education in primary schools and Sex Education in secondary schools.

"I am fully supportive of the role of schools in providing sex and relationship education, but it must be age appropriate and parents must be comfortable with what is being taught.

"I have been shown the parent handout for the All About Me programme and it appears that some of the content goes beyond the necessary relationship education and into sex education which is inappropriate for young children.

"I understand that Warwickshire County Council is urgently reviewing this programme. I hope that the outcome of that will be to reassure parents that what is being taught to their children is suitable for their age.”

A spokesperson for Warwickshire County Council said: "These resources are fully researched, evidence based and in line with the department for education guidelines.

"The council considers all comments carefully and so we will be reviewing this content."