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Relationships and Sex Education — [Mrs Madeleine Moon in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 6:06 pm on 25th February 2019.

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Photo of Imran Hussain Imran Hussain Shadow Minister (Justice) 6:06 pm, 25th February 2019

I will not.

Parents are also concerned about the faith-appropriateness of the content that will be taught. Importantly, parents of all faith backgrounds are high- lighting those concerns. It is not an issue for a single faith community, but one for the religious community as a collective. Again, my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Ladywood made some pertinent points about certain sections of faith communities feeling polarised and perhaps isolated in some contexts. Let us be clear: faith is, and should be, a protected characteristic that must be respected and considered whenever policy changes are made in any walk of life, including education.

I cannot emphasise enough the value of the involvement and inclusion of parents in any education policy—another point that many Members have touched on. If children are to be successful in life and to do well at school, they need not only good schools, but involved parents. We cannot leave out parents or neglect them. Parents are the final custodians of their children, making decisions on their behalf until they can responsibly make their own. That is backed up by article 14 of the United Nations convention on the rights of the child, which states:

“Governments must respect the rights and responsibilities of parents to guide their child as they grow up.”

Ultimately, any education policy must have parental oversight and include parents, complementing the work that they do at home, with their involvement and consent. I urge the Minister, after hearing the concerns of parents in my constituency and in those of other hon. Members, to consider carefully all the concerns that I have raised on their behalf, and to ensure that the involvement and consent of parents in the education of children is upheld and maintained as vital and fundamental.