He issued draft guidance to schools on sex education which places more emphasis on the moral dimension than the existing circular but makes few changes of substance. Sex education is now compulsory in all secondary schools.
Pupils are to be taught to recognise the importance of moral considerations and the value of family life, according to the draft circular.
It reiterates warnings against presenting homosexual behaviour as the norm and the ban on local authority schools 'teaching . . . the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship'.
Teachers are warned against counselling individual students on sexual matters - particularly giving contraceptive advice to girls under 16. They should never 'trespass on the proper exercise of parental rights and responsibilities'.
Mr Patten said yesterday: 'We are clear that all sex education should take place within a framework which encourages pupils to consider the moral dimension of their actions. It should recognise the value of family life and understand the importance of loving relationships and mutual respect.'
In a written parliamentary answer, he said the advice rightly recognised that parents were the 'key figures' in helping children to cope with growing up and the responsibilities of sexual maturity.Reuse content