Katy JenkinsLocal Democracy Reporter
A seminar will be organized so that elected officials understand the content of relational and sexual education (RSE) planned for the new school program.
Pembrokeshire Councilor Viv Stoddart’s notice of motion requesting that a ‘seminar be held for members to enable them to be fully informed of the CSR content of the new scheme’ was approved in plenary yesterday (13 October).
Cllr Stoddart added that CSR had been “controversial” and that it was important councilors had all the information they needed to respond to voters.
Members were told there would be no debate on the content of the CSR itself, but Cabinet member Cllr Guy Woodham referred to ‘misinformation’ on the subject as he argued that a seminar would be delayed until a judicial review is concluded.
A judicial review is due to take place next month regarding parents’ lack of choice over whether or not their child will participate in the RSE.
Cllr Andrew Edwards tabled a question to council on the matter, asking ‘does the cabinet member for education agree to parental rights being taken away on the new CSR scheme?’
Cllr Woodham said the new scheme was consulted ahead of the implementation of the Scheme Assessment Act in 2021.
It wasn’t up to him to decide whether parental rights should be taken away because the law makes it clear that “there is no right of withdrawal” and as a cabinet member he helps schools provide the compulsory program.
Another notice of motion was presented by Cllr Rhys Jordan, stating: ‘The Head/Member of Education and Welsh Language writes a letter to the Welsh Government Minister for Education expressing that as the authority , Pembrokeshire County Council does not support or condone the removal of the historic rights of parents or guardians to withdraw their child(ren) from certain subjects taught under the new CSR curriculum if they deem it inappropriate.
It was sent back to cabinet.
An ‘extraordinary’ council meeting lived up to its name when a debate over sex education in schools erupted into chaos in Caernarfon earlier this year.
The public gallery was cleared by police and councilors were held back in Gwynedd council chambers for ‘security reasons’ at the end of the busy meeting on Thursday 25 August.
Emotions ran high as events unfolded during tense discussions about the relationship and education curriculum.
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