The Church of Scotland Presbytery of Lewis says it has been approached by a large number of parents and teachers who are gravely concerned about the content of the Relationship, Sexual Health and Parenthood [RSHP] materials which Comhairle nan Eilean Siar intends to introduce in response to Scottish Government Guidance.
Lewis Presbytery is opposed to the use of rshp.org materials as the default resource in teaching the Personal & Social Education Curriculum because:
- the content, and age and stage appropriateness of much of the rshp.org materials approved by the Scottish Government will confuse and prematurely sexualise young minds
- the rshp.org materials are being translated into Gaelic by Bòrd na Gàidhlig in conjunction with NHS Eilean Siar while there are acceptable, alternative RSHP materials presently available to English stream pupils. It is unlikely that they will be available in translation to pupils in Gaelic Medium Education. As a result, Gaelic Medium pupils will have no alternative but the translated rshp.org materials. Pupil withdrawal from such classes will, therefore, be more likely
- while the removal of homophobic and transphobic bullying from schools is an aspiration Presbytery fully supports, there is the very real danger that it will be replaced by heterophobic and faithophobic bullying against those who are unable to ‘embrace’ an ideology that goes against their conscience, morality, and/or faith position. Pupil withdrawal from such classes will, therefore, be more likely
- the liberty teachers have to use alternatives to the rshp.org resource may be lost if, as the LGBTI Inclusive Education Implementation Group urges, legislative options are introduced should insufficient progress in local delivery of LGBT inclusive education take place by the end of the current Parliamentary term.
Lewis Presbytery seeks to work collaboratively with the Comhairle for the well-being of all children and young people in the Western Isles and pledges to support Elected Members and staff in prayer.
It acknowledges the Comhairle’s nationally recognised work in relation to educational innovation evidenced by the success of E-sgoil and urges an equally innovative and dynamic educational innovation in the area of RSHP resources.
Other RSHP materials exist which satisfy Education Scotland and can be tailored to our island culture and the Presbytery pledges to support the Comhairle in this endeavour.