Parents are suing the Welsh Government over plans to force children as young as three to learn about sex and gender identity.
Four mothers – representing more than 5,000 parents and grandparents – have taken legal action to overturn a Labor-led administration proposal to make religious and sex education (RSE) classes compulsory.
Ministers insist the new curriculum, which will also incorporate the topics of religion, sex and gender into everyday teaching, was ‘developmentally appropriate’ for children, but campaigners say the topics are ‘inappropriate for elementary school students.
Kim Isherwood, 39, who chairs campaign group Public Child Protection Wales, said: ‘It’s dangerous and it makes me absolutely furious. I have always fought for children’s rights, but they take away my right to protect.
The Port Talbot mother-of-two added: ‘This new program is not like the stand-alone CSR courses that pupils and parents are used to. The new compulsory element also means that every child, aged 3 to 16, must participate.
“This cannot be avoided by anyone and parents have no right to ask for information on what will be taught, at what age, or to ask their child to sit.”
Guidance includes the notion that students explore “sexual attraction” and not just the biology of sexual relationships.
He says, “Learners can explore how relationships, sex, gender, romantic and sexual attraction, and personal experiences can shape and inform a person’s identity and individuality… [and] how and why attitudes have changed and are changing, including towards gender diversity and sexuality.
But Lucia Thomas, 41, said: ‘The very first time I heard about sex education for children as young as three my heart skipped a beat and my stomach turned.
“School is a place to learn vital biology, learn to develop relationships with both sexes and develop respect. But, as parents, we think what’s happening here is the sexualization of children, not their upbringing.
The parents have appointed international human rights lawyer Paul Diamond to represent them and legal documents have been lodged at the High Court in Cardiff.
In England, the roll-out of sex education in primary schools is also set to continue, but parents will be able to withdraw their children from sex education classes until the age of 15.
Last night a Welsh Government spokesman said groups such as the NSPCC and the Office of the Welsh Children’s Commissioner supported the plans, adding: ‘It is totally wrong to suggest that we are ‘sexualising’ children.
“Under the new curriculum, all pupils in Wales will have full access to high-quality relationships and sexuality education designed to protect them and ultimately help them navigate the complex realm of relationships and of sexuality.”
Last night The Mail on Sunday revealed that nearly one in 15 pupils at a top secondary school identify as transgender or non-binary.
More than 60 young people at the school, which has about 1,000 students enrolled, said their gender was different from their sex at birth or did not identify as male or female.
The majority have done so since most of the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions were lifted last summer, raising concerns about the impact of online trans ‘influencers’ on young people who have been in largely confined to their homes for months.
A teacher said the students involved were between the ages of 11 and 18, almost all were girls and most identified as non-binary.
While the school notifies parents if a student requests to use a different name or pronoun, staff were “blundering in the dark” without government assistance, the teacher said.
The revelation comes days after Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said officials were developing “clear” guidelines on how teachers should treat trans students.
Highlighting the need for guidance, Tory MP Miriam Cates said: ‘The Department for Education needs to come up with very clear and very detailed guidance on what schools should do about pupils who identify as trans or non-binary.’
Ms Cates, who called for an investigation into the spread of gender ideology in schools, added: ‘They also need to make sure schools understand that when a child claims to be trans or non-binary, they should then be protected in the same way as children who may have anorexia.