Sex Education

Oral Answers to Questions — Education and Science – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 11th December 1969.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Willie Hamilton Mr Willie Hamilton , Fife West 12:00 am, 11th December 1969

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what research was conducted into the effects of sex education on children under 10 years of age before his Department gave advice regarding the British Broadcasting Corporation's television programmes.

Photo of Mr Chris Price Mr Chris Price , Birmingham, Perry Barr

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will publish the advice his Department gave to the British Broadcasting Corporation regarding its sex education programmes for children.

Photo of Miss Alice Bacon Miss Alice Bacon , Leeds South East

There were no such consultations.

Photo of Mr Willie Hamilton Mr Willie Hamilton , Fife West

While I do not disagree with the principle of engaging in this sort of education, would not my right hon. Friend agree that it is rather strange that the B.B.C. did not see fit either to consult with or to take the advice of the Department before deciding to put on these programmes?

Photo of Miss Alice Bacon Miss Alice Bacon , Leeds South East

It is not usual for the B.B.C. to seek our advice in this sort of matter, although, as my hon. Friend may know, representatives of the Department sit on the Schools Broadcasting Council. I believe that the B.B.C. has been very good about this and has at all stages consulted parents in the pilot areas where the films have been shown.

Photo of Mr Chris Price Mr Chris Price , Birmingham, Perry Barr

Would the right hon. Lady disregard a lot of the ill-informed criticism that has been made both of these broadcasts and of some of the other excellent sex education that is being given to primary school children in our schools and try to work more closely with the B.B.C. in future to coordinate the work?

Photo of Miss Alice Bacon Miss Alice Bacon , Leeds South East

Accompanied by other Ministers, my right hon. Friend and I saw these films a short time ago and we felt that they did a very good job indeed. I believe that this view was shared by hon. Members who also saw the films. There is a good working arrangement with the B.B.C., but, strictly speaking, neither were we consulted nor are we ever called on to approve films made by the B.B.C.

Photo of Mr James Scott-Hopkins Mr James Scott-Hopkins , West Derbyshire

Does the right hon. Lady realise that some people, including myself, do not approve of the idea of the B.B.C. showing films of this type? Should not the Government take an attitude on this issue and express their feelings, as I did, about whether this is the correct kind of film to be shown on television to children aged under 10?

Photo of Miss Alice Bacon Miss Alice Bacon , Leeds South East

The B.B.C. has undertaken to seek parents' consent in every case before the films are shown, and this occurred in the pilot areas. Thus, no child is forced to see these films, which are available for children whose parents wish them to see them.

Photo of Mr James Jones Mr James Jones , Wrexham

Is my right hon Friend aware that there is great opposition from many parents to the idea of putting on television something which the individual teacher would be reluctant to teach?

Photo of Miss Alice Bacon Miss Alice Bacon , Leeds South East

I appreciate that there are differences of opinion, but I believe it is right that where schools wish to show these films to children as part of their general education, they should first ask parents to see the films and then obtain their consent.