Luke Salkeld reports for the MailOnline — A primary school has been forced to reconsider its sex education policy after parents complained of an “offensive” film to be shown to children as young as five.
They say a DVD and accompanying worksheets are far too graphic for impressionable children.
The controversial Living and Growing material features illustrations of a naked man and woman and invites youngsters to label the vagina and penis.
Sherwell Valley School in Torquay, Devon, planned to use the government-approved sex and relationship lessons.
But angry parents complained that the video, which also includes detailed descriptions of the effect of touching private parts, is inappropriate.
A presentation to parents and governors at the school showed the film in which viewers are told that “rubbing the clitoris will give them a warm feeling”.
One concerned parent, who has a five-year-old daughter at the school, said: “I find it offensive. The programme is inappropriate and unsuitable for a five or six-year-old.
“I think the school has made a grave error of judgement which is morally wrong.
“We were told it was part of a programme to reduce teenage pregnancies in Torbay.
“Teaching my daughter about her clitoris is not going to stop teenage pregnancies. It’s liberal clap-trap.”
Another concerned father said: “Some of the content in the video was very explicit.
“We are Christian parents and we have quite strong values.
“We are not averse to discussing it, but our girls are too young to know.”
Thousands of copies of the Channel 4 sex education packs have been sold to primary schools across the country over the past seven years.
And this is not the first time it has prompted protests.
Last year families campaigned unsuccessfully against the introduction of the classes for five- to seven-year-olds at Dobcroft Infant School in Sheffield.
And in 2003, horrified mothers begged Cambell Infants School in Dagenham, Essex, not to use the material.
Some were so concerned about the contents that they burst into tears at a parents’ viewing.
In Torquay, headteacher of the 560-pupil school Roger Hughes has now agreed to review the school’s policy with governors.
But he defended the use of the film, saying: “We are revising our sex education policy because girls are maturing earlier.
“Out of context, saying we are teaching four or five-year-olds about touching their clitoris sounds shocking.
“But in the context of the video it is taught well and is not offensive.
“It will go over the heads of most, but some children will understand it.”
He continued: “It’s a fact that a child will find comfort by touching themselves between their legs, but there are times when they should not do it.
“In this video it is taught very nicely in a positive way. I would be comfortable with my children and grandchildren watching it.
“We have got guidelines on what should and should not be approached and how to handle awkward situations.”
The complaints over the material come just days after serious concerns were raised over teenage pregnancy rates in Torbay.
A 14-year-old pupil at a school in Paignton last week told how having a baby is now regarded as “fashionable” among schoolgirls.
Kizzy Neal has been asked to give advice to four of her classmates who have also become pregnant since Christmas.
She said: “When my friends see my bump they say they wish they could have a baby, then three weeks later they’re pregnant and don’t know what to do.”
Family campaigners said her comments showed how the Government’s sex education policy had left teens with the “ridiculous but extremely worrying” misconception that having a child was no different to getting a new handbag.
Kizzy’s revelations came as official figures show England and Wales have the highest rates of teenage pregnancies in Europe – with the biggest increase among girls under 16.