LONDON, July 8, 2011 ( – Parents of primary-school children are furious that Nick Gibb, the schools minister, has told Parliament that he won’t stop schools from using an explicit sex ed curriculum aimed at very young children during compulsory public school lessons.

The program at the heart of the controversy, “Living and Growing,” by state-owned broadcaster Channel 4, includes an episode that shows a naked cartoon couple pillow fighting before having sexual intercourse in several positions, as a narrator describes sex and its physical changes as “fun” and “very exciting.”

The episode appears in Unit 2, which is labeled for children aged 7 to 9.

Ruth Pond, a mother of two from Worksop, Notts, has been campaigning locally to make sure the program, which sparked national news coverage last year after parents reacted in horror to its contents, is never forced upon children.


On Wednesday, conservative MP Stewart Jackson had asked national education officials whether they would “take steps to ensure that maintained schools are prevented from teaching aspects of sex and relationships education in science lessons that are not covered in the national curriculum for science.”

The Society for Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) noted that science is a national curriculum subject, and therefore parents are not allowed to withdraw their children from science lessons. By contrast, when sex education lessons are given in personal, health, social and economic (PHSE), parents have a legal right to withdraw their children if such lessons are unacceptable to them.

MP Nick Gibb, Minister of State for Schools in the Department for Education, responded to Jackson’s question, saying: “We trust teachers to use their professional judgement when following the national curriculum programmes of study for science.”

“We do not therefore consider it necessary to impose preventative measures on maintained schools to stop them teaching sex and relationship education (SRE) within national curriculum science lessons,” said Gibb.

Ruth Pond said that she is “very concerned,” that the program is being taught in science classes. “Does this mean that the law regarding the national curriculum will be changed to allow parents to withdraw their children from sex education that is too graphic?

“Otherwise it makes it impossible for parents to protect their children.” 

Tower Hamlets local authority has issued a statement saying that parents can withdraw their children from national curriculum science, although there is no evidence that the Department for Education has approved this.

Local parents are still not happy.

Eneque Charles, a mother of three children at Clara Grant primary school in Tower Hamlets, said, “I have been battling with my children’s school for months because of the ‘Living and Growing’ DVD.”

“My son was shown a cartoon of a couple having sexual intercourse in his science lesson and I was powerless to shield him from this.”

Charles said that the school has backed down on the curriculum and acknowledged the Tower Hamlets announcement, but said she was still “not confident that I will be able to spare my daughter.”

The Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) is conducting a nationwide campaign called Safe at School on behalf of the growing number of parents around the country concerned about inappropriate sex education.