Half of British parents want no sex-ed in schools: poll

The poll, conducted by, questioned more than 1,700 parents of 5-11 year-olds between April 26 and May 4.
By Rebecca Millette

By Rebecca Millette

UNITED KINGDOM, May 10, 2011 ( – More than half of British parents – 59 percent – say sex education should not be taught to children at school, according to a recent poll.

The poll, conducted by Baby Child, questioned more than 1,700 parents of 5-11 year-olds between April 26 and May 4.  Fifty-eight percent of respondents disagreed with sex education being taught in schools, and 48 percent also agreed that sex education should not be done until children were at least 13 years-old.

Of those who disagreed with teaching sex education in schools, 41 percent thought it inappropriate to teach young children about sex, while the remaining 28 percent deemed it the parents’ responsibility and choice to instruct their children as they felt appropriate.

“I am not surprised by the results of the study, with the majority of parents against the idea of sex education in a school environment,” said Baby Child Co-Founder Andy Barr. “This is a sensitive subject and parents have their own way to approach it and want to control what their children know, even more so at a young age.”

In terms of topics covered in sex education lessons, 65 percent of parents agreed contraception was the most important topic, followed by puberty, homosexuality, and sexually transmitted diseases.

Sex education has been the topic of debate by ministers and government representatives recently as a review is underway for the national curriculum. 

Just last week, a Conservative Member of Parliament requested leave to motion for acceptance of a bill that would require education on the benefits of abstinence to girls age 13 to 16.

During discussion of the bill on April 5, MP Nadine Dorries maintained the current sex education has resulted in a sexualization of society. 

“I believe that the answer to ending our constant struggle with the incredibly high rate of teenage sexual activity and underage pregnancies lies in teaching our girls and boys about the option of abstinence — the ability to just say no as part of their compulsory sex education at school,” said Dorries.

Dorries’ bill was backed by a small majority of Parliament and will reportedly come up for a second reading sometime in January 2012.

“We have to re-examine thoroughly the content of sex education that is provided in schools, and consider whether what is currently offered is in the best interests of our children and society as a whole,” said Dorries.

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