Following the Education Committees report on PSHE, Sexpression:UK welcomes its recommendations to make Personal, Social and Health Education, which includes Sex and Relationships Education (SRE), statutory in primary and secondary schools.
The report identifies reasoning behind the need for statutory SRE such as young people relying on SRE as their primary source of information about sexual matters, the importance of SRE in preventing STI transmission and unplanned teenage pregnancies as well as the response from the majority of parents and young people who feel that schools should provide SRE.
Furthermore the report recognises the need for better provision and quality of SRE and recommends that the Government incentives schools to improve the quality of PSHE and SRE teaching.
Key recommendations of the report include:
- That the Government formally endorse and issue the 2014 advice produced by the voluntary sector, and promote this advice more actively to schools and governors.
- That the Government monitor schools' compliance with the requirement to publish information about their PSHE and SRE curriculum on their websites.
- That the DfE restore funding for the National PSHE CPD programme, with the aim of ensuring that all primary and secondary schools have at least one teacher who has received specialist training in PSHE, and monitor progress towards this.
- That Sex and Relationships Education be renamed "Relationships and Sex Education" to reflect the (existing) focus on relationships and to emphasise the importance of this part of children and young people's education.
- That all schools be required to run a regular consultation with parents on the school's SRE provision, in a way that allows all parents to participate.
- That the Government commission Ofsted to produce regular subject survey reports on the quality of PSHE and SRE.
- That the parental right to withdraw their child from elements of SRE should be retained.
Sexpression:UK fully supports the recommendations of statutory PSHE and SRE. We agree with the need for better quality teaching and evaluation of PSHE, and we hope to see the Government implement these recommendations as well as seeing manifesto commitments from political parties to make SRE statutory.
Along with the PSHE Association, FPA and Brook, we have been advocating for this change for a long time and also providing the vital, high quality SRE to young people in UK schools in the current absence of appropriate legislation. We're really pleased to see the recommendations which will hopefully lead to SRE being prioritised in the school timetable and would help us to work with teachers and parents in delivering age appropriate and effective lessons.