Sex education lessons for adolescents should be mandatory but children of all ages should be allowed to opt out of religious classes, a UN committee has told the UK.
The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC), in recommendations published on Friday, said that faith schools and parents should not have any right to opt out of sex education.
It advised that in the case of adolescents, UK and Northern Ireland governments should “integrate comprehensive, age-appropriate and evidence-based education on sexual and reproductive health into mandatory school curricula at all levels of education and into teacher training, and ensure that it includes education on sexual diversity, sexual and reproductive health rights, responsible sexual behaviour and violence prevention, without the possibility for faith-based schools or parents to opt out of such education”.
They should also repeal laws making attendance in collective worship compulsory while introducing statutory guidance “to ensure the right of all children, including children under 16 years of age, to withdraw from religious classes without parental consent”.
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