Welsh Resistance To RSE

by | Nov 29, 2021 | RSE, Wales


The article below is a guest blog from The Welsh Resistance:

England isn’t the only country experiencing the corruption of children’s education with the unscientific, misogynistic and homophobic dogma of gender ideology. Wales has committed itself to becoming “the most LGBTQ+ friendly country in Europe.” So, the Welsh government is enthusiastically embedding the socially damaging influence of Queer Theory into whole school curricula across the country. Meanwhile, parents feel powerless to object.

Masterminded by Cardiff University’s Prof EJ Renold, an academic who specialises in ‘queer’ and posthumanist perspectives in childhood studies, and a very small and exclusive voluntary “expert panel”, new curriculum guidance was put out for public consultation, which ended on 16 July 2021. Analysis of some of the most concerning elements was released by Safe Schools Alliance and Merched Cymru.

The curriculum guidance was extremely worrying, not only rebranding sex education as “Relationships and Sexuality Education”, but imposing a new and incomprehensible ideological lexicon that seeks to reimagine every Welsh child as fluid gendered identities with similarly changeable gender orientations, which they may identify and perform as young as three years old. 

The dubious justification for this was published in a document called “The Future of Sex and Relationships Education Curriculum in Wales” and along with its questionable methodologies, it contains all the propagandist tropes frequently used to promote and justify gender ideology. This includes the notorious ‘genderbread man’, which dissects the human body into disparate zones of self-identification. This is the first step towards introducing harmful sex denialism to the classroom. 

Within the Welsh government’s proposed curriculum, parents’ rights to withdraw their children from this “Relationships and Sexuality Education” was undermined in at least two ways: first, the proposals must be embedded across the whole school curriculum, meaning your child can’t just ‘be sick’ on the day they teach RSE, if you even knew when that was, because your child’s maths lessons must now also be ‘queered’. Second, the Welsh government passed legislation in the Senedd to undermine section 405 of the Education Act 1996, ensuring the new Relationships and Sexuality Education curriculum will be compulsory from the tender age of three years old, preventing parents from protecting their children from inappropriate curriculum content and materials. The proposals demand that at three years old, children should be talking to their teachers (whom they barely know) about their genitalia. Unsurprisingly, many Welsh parents are very concerned about this. Direct action groups like Public Child Protection Wales have taken on the fight to protect Wales’s children, to the extent of pursuing legal action against the Welsh government. 

Worryingly, the curriculum proposals were also devoid of child safeguarding information. Child protection protocols and guidance on age appropriate materials were omitted. Worse still, they mandated schools use third parties to deliver the curriculum, with no vetting procedures, which leaves teachers confused by the ideological content of the curriculum beholden to strangers outside the remit of Estyn (Wales’s answer to Ofsted). These third parties will deliver some of the most sensitive and sexually explicit content and information children will ever encounter in the course of their education. 

Freedom of Information Requests to all Welsh Local Education Authorities in Spring 2021 revealed that a number of them have already implemented “toolkits” which explicitly support the inclusion of male staff and students in female spaces on the basis of their assertion of a “female gender identity”; any student who raises concerns may be excluded and/or disciplined. Worse still, the guidance advises children should be socially transitioned by their school without their parents’ knowledge or consent if the school decides this is appropriate, with a real risk of clandestine referrals for medicalisation through Wales’s new Gender Clinic

Rhondda Cynon Taff recently withdrew their guidance when legal action was brought by a child’s parents after he was “transitioned” by the school without their knowledge. The proposed Welsh curriculum and current Welsh Minister for Education (Jeremy Miles MS), explicitly endorses and promotes the ideology behind such discriminatory and harmful policy decisions. 

Parents in Wales urgently need to understand and raise awareness of the rapidly changing situation regarding their children’s Sex Education, but it’s difficult because the Welsh government evidently doesn’t respect parental concerns. Unlike England, schools will not be required to consult with parents on their curriculum or content. It will be up to parents to contact their child’s school, meet with teachers, ask to see materials and raise concerns. Any teacher worth their salt will listen, as shown in this article by a teacher from Wales, who values the importance of maintaining trust between parents and teachers. 

Talking at the school gate is undoubtedly the most effective way for parents to share their concerns with each other, and a school gate campaign in Wales is desperately needed. Individual Welsh schools rather than the government will be the ultimate arbiters of the content and materials to which children will be exposed. Parents can and should use this to their advantage and empower themselves with the knowledge and confidence to challenge their children’s schools. It would be rare for a school to deny a parent insight into their child’s English, Maths and Science curriculum content. Compulsory RSE should be no different. If a school is resistant to sharing such information, alarm bells should be ringing for parents. 

The results of the curriculum consultation are yet to be revealed, but serious concerns exist that it was an exercise in lip service for a decision the Welsh government has already made. The curriculum’s creator, EJ Renold, has already been rolling out mass training to school teachers across Wales and promoting the highly questionable content she created to support and promote the curriculum she designed. This includes the AGENDA and CRUSH materials, in which a social and scientific understanding of sex and sexuality and safeguarding are undermined, and pornography is promoted. It’s time parents knew. 

What can parents do to protect their children in Wales?

  • Ask your child’s school or nursery about their RSE curriculum, content and materials, and insist they keep you informed of curriculum and content changes. Download the School Gate Campaign’s free RSE Toolkit with suggestions of how to do that here
  • Talk to other parents in person, at the school gate, in WhatsApp groups and on social media about what’s happening. Once this curriculum is enforced and embedded from 2022, it will be harder to oppose. All parents need to know. 
  • For more information and advice specific to Wales, Safe Schools Alliance offers guidance to parents concerned about curriculum content and “trans toolkits” here
  • The education, safety and wellbeing of the nation’s children now depends on parents and teachers uniting in their resistance to the imposition of government enforced gender ideology. Wherever possible, parents should support teachers who understand and respect their concerns – too often opposition to this dogmatism jeopardises teachers’ job security and personal safety. Your solidarity and support may help them to speak out. 
  • Parents can support Public Child Protection Wales’s campaign activities here
  • Parents should also urgently write to their local MPs and Senedd members expressing their concern.