Thursday, March 18, 2010

Pro-life campaigns in schools: The best of times and the worst of times.

Yesterday I went to St Bede's Clapham Park to join other priests at an excellent talk by Antonia Tully (pictured here with parish priest Father Christopher Basden and yours truly), SPUC's co-ordinator of its "Safe at School" campaign. Antonia is herself a mother of six children so she knows a thing or two about the pervasive advance of sex-education in schools.

The talk was followed by Benediction and a nice meal. (It was, after all, St Patrick's Day.)

Beginning with the bad news, she gave an overview of the sorts of things that are going on in schools up and down the land and how the State seeks to embed contraceptive and abortion advice in every sphere of a child's life. She instanced erroneous RE resources, problematic resources in the science curriculum as well as those used in SRE

Connexions is a particular problem. Secondary schools are legally obliged to involve a Connexions advisor. Although ostensibly a careers advice agency, it is actually quite an intrusive organisation. Secondary schools pass on all the contact details of their pupils to Connexions so that an advisor can contact the pupils directly. Antonia related how she was surprised when an advisor phoned asking for one of her children at home. As well as providing careers advice, Connexions is more than ready to offer pupils confidential advice on sexual health matters, as you will see from its home page.

On the good news side, Antonia said that since things were so bad, good things were also occuring and she referred to the "This is my body" resource for primary schools. The programme is published by Philos Educational Publishing and was developed in association with the Education Service of the Diocese of Lancaster and it is now the official programme of that diocese.It is proving immensely successful and popular with both children and teachers. Whereas the State wishes primary school children to receive 'sex education', children at that age are not normally concerned with sex but with the wonder of who they are and where they came from. The fetal models particularly capture the imagination of the young child and lead pupils to an understanding of the existence of life in the womb. They are made of a soft material which mimics human flesh very effectively. The resource also comes with rulers, a teachers resource book, a pupil's resource and a copy of Angel in the Waters. It would be marvellous this were widely disseminated in our schools.


  1. Thanks for a bit more good news Father and Praise the Lord for SPUC!

    God bless
    Alan and Angeline

  2. Yes, This is a great programme. I went to the SPUC conference workshop, and was very impressed. I handed a copy to my parish priest. Well done SPUC.

  3. Thank you Father. This sounds like a wonderful programme.
    I met Antonia a couple of weeks ago on retreat and she spoke about this issue to us.
    The catholic primary school in West London that my two older sons attended used completely secular materials including a ghastly video made I think, for channel 4 which included detailed descriptions of how an org**m felt, and how to stimulate the female cl*tr*s in order to give her s*xual pleasure ( asterixed in order to avoid unwelcome google traffic).

    When I asked the teacher why he felt my 10 year old son needed to know this information he stood there and blushed. I had used the very words that were in the video intended for children, but when they were spoken aloud they caused a ripple of discomfort to spread through the room!
    Another, more senior teacher, who is a religious sister stepped forward and answered my question by explaining that they needed to know because "they hear it in the playground"!

    I now home educate my primary school aged children and find the idea of returning them to school unthinkable.
    There is a pervasive arrogance in education. Many teachers and governors seem to hold very patronising, even contemptuous attitudes towards parents and families and regard themselves as the true and final arbiters of "what is best" for the children.
    It seems to me that Catholic schools are more enthusiastic about being in the good graces of the local authority than in those of Almighty God.
    I have voted with my feet and taken back my children. Since then, I have found home education to be an enormous blessing, in untold ways for our family.
    I heartily recommend it!


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