An Orthodox schools group has welcomed the government’s decision not to make sex education a statutory subject.
Jonathan Rabson, executive director of the National Association of Orthodox Jewish Schools, said that “we applaud the news that the Prime Minister, David Cameron, has restated the government’s commitment to parental choice by allowing schools to manage this subject in a sensitive and culturally-appropriate way”.
In strictly Orthodox schools, he said, “most schools include study of these subjects through parent education and the Limmudei Kodesh [Jewish studies] curriculum, as mandated by governors and parents”.
Sex and relationships education is compulsory in state-aided secondary schools under local authority control – but not in academies and free schools. But parents are free to withdraw their children from sex education.
The House of Commons’ select education committee had wanted to extend sex education to all state schools by making Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education a statutory subject. It also wanted “age-appropriate” sex and relationships education in primary schools.
But Education Secretary Nicky Morgan recently told the chairman of the committee Neil Carmichael that the government’s priority was improving PSHE rather than changing its legal status.