Sex Classes for Infants; Outrage at Family Planning Expert's Proposal for Schools

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Byline: ANNIE BROWN

PROPOSALS to introduce sex education for infants into Scottish schools were last night condemned by teachers and church leaders.

Under the scheme, put forward by a leading family planning expert, children as young as five would be taught the facts of life.

But critics said the proposal amounted to the theft of innocence.

The call to the Government to change the way youngsters are taught about sex came from the director of the Family Planning Association in Scotland, Anne Marie McKay. She said the lessons should form a major part of the curriculum for five to 14-year-olds in order to curb rising teenage pregnancy and abortion rates in Scotland.

But the strategy was said to be `outrageous and dangerous' by one teachers' leader. `It is is simply too preposterous for words,' said Tino Ferrie of the National Association of Schoolmasters' Union of Women Teachers.

`Psychologically it could do a great deal of damage to introduce the concept of sex to children of that age.

`I am sure any normal parent would be appalled by this suggestion and I trust the Government will dump it in the waste paper basket where it belongs.'

Mrs McKay believes that a radical shake-up in sex education in schools is needed to combat Scotland's high incidence of teenage sex.

More than 200 abortions take place in Scotland each week and 25 per cent are carried out on women under the age of 19. The figures also show a 20 per cent increase in terminations over the past decade, rising from 9,189 to 11,143. `We are calling on the Scottish Office to put sex education high on the Government's agenda in this Parliament,' said Mrs McKay.

`Evidence shows that when children have effective sex education, they are less likely to become sexually active at an early age.

`This in turn would lead to a reduction of unwanted teenage pregnancies. …