Wednesday 5 November 2014

Further ruminations on Brook

I posted recently about the evil that is Brook.

I have a few further thoughts to offer.

One is the disingenuousness, if not downright duplicity, of Simon Blake, the Chief Executive, in the select committee hearing to which I referred.

Frequently, the assumption was made in the conversation that delaying the onset of sexual relations was one of the goals of SRE. Simon Blake behaved as though he agreed with that; but it is in fact no part of Brook's agenda or intention, as their own material makes quite clear. But making that equally clear in that company on that occasion did not suit Blake's political intentions for that meeting, so he remained silent and nodded along, as though he agreed. That struck me as dishonest.

Secondly, I was pleased to see that Sarah Carter of the Family Education Trust had been invited to the Select Committee to give oral evidence; she raised the issue of the Traffic Light Toolkit to which I had referred, and that was subsequently reported by the BBC, the Daily Telegraph, the Independent, the Daily Mail, and the Mirror.

Her comments prompted a very defensive response in the Select Committee from Joe Hayman, chief executive of the PSHE Association. He said, inter alia:
There's no one in our community who feels we should be trying to sexualise children, or any of those kinds of things.
What we want is children to develop healthy and safe relationships and it's really important that teachers are provided with the necessary training in order to do that.
However, it strikes me (and not only me) that the second part of that statement negates the first: because the philosophy and approach used to develop what he and his ideological allies believe to be healthy and safe behaviours involves sexualising children; not least because they think that 'consenting oral and/or penetrative sex with others of the same or opposite gender who are of similar age and developmental ability' is normal behaviour for thirteen year olds.

I think he realised he was on a sticky wicket, as he then tried to distance himself and his organisation from Brook's traffic lights, saying that it was difficult for him to be accountable for every piece of information linked to in the PSHE Association's supplementary guidance, which has many links within it. 

Brook themselves are also on the defensive over this, releasing a statement saying that the tool was not meant for SRE. But that does not explain why it is linked to on the website as a resource for teachers of SRE... Nor does it explain why behaviour that is 'red' for 9-13 year olds is 'green' (rather than at least amber) for 13- 17 year olds.

Of course, Brook have an agenda, and even if the traffic light tool is not used in schools, it is part of a process of shaping expectations and understandings to make underage sex accepted; and will doubtless be followed by a call to 'de-criminalise' it - a call that is to reduce the age of consent, which of course exists precisely to protect children from abuse and the very sexualisation which this lobby claims not to want, but behaves as though it wants very much indeed.

Now is a good time to keep the pressure on Brook: Write to your MP, letting him or her know about this. Write to your schools, expressing your concern and asking about their programmes, and specifically whether the Brook Traffic Light approach to safeguarding is used. If your children are in a Catholic school, don't assume it is any better. Write to your bishop and the CES and ask for concrete assurances.

Sub tuum praesidium confugimus, Sancta Dei Genetrix.
Nostras deprecationes ne despicias in necessitatibus nostris,
sed a periculis cunctis libera nos semper,
Virgo gloriosa et benedicta.

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