The Sunday Times reports that the new curriculum has been finalized after a six-month consultation with the Department of Education, and will be rolled out across UK schools starting from the 2020-21 educational year.
It will be taught to pupils from the age of five, and it will be illegal for parents to take their children out of the classroom for the lessons in secondary school, meaning that at least a term’s worth of sex education classes – and likely far more – will be attended by each student.
A popular petition to parliament demanding that the opt-out be retained for the length of the child’s school education will be debated in the House of Commons on Monday, though it is not expected to affect the schedule for the implementation of the legislation.
The proposal has encountered resistance from conservative communities, including some Muslims and Jews. In a letter expressing opposition, prominent rabbis expressed fears that some parents would rather take their children out of the education system altogether – which they are allowed to do – rather than subject them to the new curriculum.