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Monday, 12 July 2010

No sex-ed during Ramadan

Each local council in England and Wales is required to have a Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education (SACRE) with representation from people of different faiths, to advise the Local Education Authority. (Their advice is directed to state schools, not Catholic schools.)

In Stoke on Trent, the SACRE has recently published a Public Document Pack which includes advice on Ramadan.
Sex and relationship education
Whilst fasting, Muslims are not permitted to engage in any sexual relations and are expected to take measures to avoid sexual thoughts and discourse. Schools are therefore advised to avoid scheduling the teaching of sex and relationship education, including aspects that are part of the science curriculum, during Ramadan.
Other sections advise schools to avoid parents' evenings and after school functions during the fast, and to avoid swimming lessons because of the danger of accidentally swallowing water. There is also advice on Muslim requirements for modesty, particularly decrying any possibility that while changing for swimming, the Muslim requirement of avoiding nakedness before others should not be compromised.

To be honest, I'm fairly sanguine the idea of schools making provision for the religious observance of Muslims although I find it most interesting that where Muslims are concerned, even the aspects of sex education taught in the science curriculum can be suspended for religious reasons. And one wonders what they think of cartoon pictures of naked children being shown in the sex-ed programmes.
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