COUNCILLORS who were told they could not challenge a school’s controversial relationships and sex education policy have spoken out about their concerns.

Councillors Jennie Hewitt and Liz Harvey, who sit on the standing advisory council for religious education committee (SACRE), had asked to discuss RSE policies at the meeting on March 12.

But council lawyers told the committee the issues are beyond the committee’s remit.

Earlier this month, council leaders raised serious concerns over a sex and relationship resource which is being taught at St Mary’s Roman Catholic High School in Lugwardine.

The Catholic sex and relationship resource A Fertile Heart, which has the approval of the Archdiocese of Cardiff, says contraception is wrong, that gay and lesbian people cannot marry and must abstain from sex.

It also says that men were ‘created to initiate sexual relationships’ and women to be ‘receiver-responders’.

The council is also disturbed at the failure of the Archdiocese of Cardiff to discuss these concerns.

Councillor Jennie Hewitt said: “We’ve been trying all week to get the curriculum on the agenda.

“A Fertile Heart cultivates a passive role for women. It says they are receivers/responders and men are initiators.

“I’m concerned about young men having an absolute understanding that whatever women wear and wherever they go, yes means yes and no means no.

“They need to be taught the basic principles of respect and consent.”

Councillor Liz Harvey also called for the issue to be discussed by the committee.

“I know with faith schools everything it does it does with the values and through the lens of their faith, whatever it is, which is fair enough,” she said.

“But there’s a particular dimension of the Roman Catholic faith which is showing itself in the choice of the syllabus for A Fertile Heart.

“It speaks to there being a message going out there about how boys behave towards girls and how girls should expect to respond.

“There’s concerns that there are some mixed messages that young people are receiving about what’s expected of them and others.

“You can’t be saying things that go against equality legislation and human rights.”


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Headteacher Stuart Wetson, previously said St Mary’s is a Catholic school and their relationships and sex education policy is inspired by religious teachings of the Roman Catholic faith.

“In accordance with the Department for Education’s guidance on Relationships and Sex Education, we are committed to providing our pupils with opportunities for broad and balanced debate on a range of issues whilst teaching distinctive faith perspectives on relationships.

“We continue to review and evaluate our practice, sharing feedback from teachers, pupils and parents with the Archdiocese of Cardiff and the publishers of key resources.

“Please see our most recent Ofsted and Section 48 Inspection reports, which comment directly on our ‘Outstanding’ provision in all areas.”

The Archdiocese of Cardiff has still not responded to requests for comment.