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Children should not be taught there are ‘72 genders’, says education secretary – Politics.co.uk


Gillian Keegan has insisted the government’s approach to sex education will no longer see “gender ideology” taught in schools.

Keegan, the education secretary, will publish long-awaited relationships, sex and health education guidance on Thursday.

Under the new plans, teachers in English schools will not be allowed to teach children they can change their gender identity, and age limits are also set to be imposed for the first time on when children can be taught sex education.

Sex education will no longer be taught before the age of nine.

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Speaking to Sky News on Thursday morning, Keegan said it is key for guidance to be in place about “what’s appropriate at what age” and the content is “transparent for parents”.

“Gender ideology shouldn’t be taught in schools”, she added.

The cabinet minister clarified that “the protected characteristic of gender reassignment” and being transgender should be taught and is “something adults can do”.

However, she added that that is “different from gender ideology” and a “spectrum of gender” that “”could change daily”.

Keegan went on to insist that “debates” and exploration of different views should happen, adding: “But you can’t say this is something that people believe and people believe is a fact when it’s not. So what we want to do is make sure that biological sex is important.”

“But contested views about there could be 72 genders — no, we don’t want our children to be taught things that are very much contested.”

Keegan also said parents “have the ultimate role” in sex and relationships education because “they are the first educators of their children” and “will have those first conversations”.

Previously Conservative MP Miriam Cates has claimed that students were being taught about “72 genders” in sex education.

In a session of prime minister’s questions in 2023, Cates called on the government to commission an independent inquiry to “end inappropriate sex education”. 

She said: “Graphic lessons on oral sex, how to choke your partner safely and 72 genders — this is what passes for relationships and sex education in British schools.

“Across the country, children are being subjected to lessons that are age-inappropriate, extreme, sexualising and inaccurate, often using resources from unregulated organisations that are actively campaigning to undermine parents.”

The claims that such teaching is widespread have since been contested, and Cates was asked on Times Radio on Wednesday whether she can “prove” that British schools taught children about 72 genders and lessons on “how to choke your partner safely”.

Cates responded: “Can I prove which schools they were taught in and when? No, of course not.”

Politics.co.uk is the UK’s leading digital-only political website, providing comprehensive coverage of UK politics. Subscribe to our free daily newsletter here.





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