Children, Schools and Families Bill

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Defence – in the House of Commons at 4:18 pm on 11th January 2010.

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Photo of Edward Balls Edward Balls Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families 4:18 pm, 11th January 2010

I shall not fall into the trap of assuming that if those on the Opposition Front Bench support a policy the hon. Gentleman will support it, or vice versa. The fact that the hon. Gentleman does not support this policy and Opposition Front Benchers-I believe-do support it is probably fairly true to form.

The hon. Gentleman is right to say that there was an organised campaign as part of the consultation, but we also commissioned opinion polls, in both qualitative and quantitative terms. We published the findings at the time, and they showed overwhelming support from parents for making this statutory. I think that if the hon. Gentleman talks to parents and teachers, including head teachers, he will find a widespread consensus that-consistent with a school's ability to make its own decisions about method, content and the parental opt-out-this is the right thing to do, it is probably overdue, and it will help us to reduce the incidence of teenage pregnancies and encourage a culture of mutual respect among our young people.

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