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School faces backlash for teaching students men are 'created to initiate sexual relationships'

India McTaggart
·2-min read
School pupils - Anthony Devlin/Bloomberg
School pupils - Anthony Devlin/Bloomberg

A school has been accused of "archaic misogyny" after teachers taught a sex education class that said men were "created to initiate sexual relationships" while women are "receiver-responders".

It has been revealed that 'A Fertile Heart', a faith-inspired programme of study designed for pupils in years four to 11, is being taught at St Mary's Roman Catholic High School in Lugwardine, Herefordshire.

The programme, which has been rolled out to 56 Catholic schools in Cardiff as well as St Mary's School, opposes same sex marriage and teaches that contraception is wrong.

One chapter in particular claims that men and women were designed to have specific roles, particularly in relationships, suggesting that "man has been created to be the initiator in sexual relationships, and woman the receiver-responder".

The LGBTQ charity Stonewall has labelled the teachings as "misinformation," adding that it was "upsetting" to see falsehoods still being taught.

Herefordshire Council criticised the programme earlier this week, slamming it as "at odds" with teaching children to respect differences and calling for it to be scrapped.

Chris Hyde, an LGBTQ activist from Hereford, branded the programme "wholly damaging" and warned that an unsupportive home life coupled with a school "actively telling you not to be what you are" could lead to "extremely detrimental effects through life".

He also slammed the programme's attitude towards women's role in sex as "archaic misogyny".

Education watchdog Ofsted, having previously ranked the school as outstanding in all areas in 2019, have said that once inspections resume they will "look at schools' RSE teaching as part of our ‘Personal Development’ judgement".

St Mary's head teacher, Stuart Wetson, defended the decision to teach 'A Fertile Heart' at St Mary's by saying their policy was inspired by the religious teachings of Roman Catholicism.

Mr Wetson added that the programme has provided pupils with a "broad and balanced debate" on sex, and programmers also stood by the lessons, claiming they prioritise "love, tolerance, human dignity and respect".