Religious groups challenge new sex education lessons

Schools Secretary Ed Balls is facing legal challenges from faith groups and individuals over his announcement of mandatory sex education lessons for pupils. Religious groups reacted with anger to the move by the Schools Secretary, which will make it compulsory for all pupils aged 15 will learn about relationships, sex and drugs over the course of a year. The age of consent in the UK is 16.

The Muslim Council of Britain vowed to mount a challenge to the new laws that it says contravene the right for children to be taught according to their parents’ tradition. Shahid Akmal, chairman of the Muslim Council of Britain’s education committee, said parents would be forced to break the law because of their beliefs. “It will cause difficulty,” he said. “I cannot condone people breaking the law, but it will be an individual decision and some parents will feel that it’s the only option open to them.”

The new legislation will also force faith schools – at least one forth of all British schools – to teach more than just the biology of reproduction and include lessons on contraception, homosexuality and civil partnerships.