Nicky Morgan decision on sex education branded a “missed opportunity” by leading campaigners

The National Children’s Bureau and the Sex Education Forum have issued a joint statement criticising Nicky Morgan’s decision not to make PSHE and sex and relationship education a compulsory part of the curriculum.

Lucy Emmerson Coordinator of the Sex Education Forum, said:

‘Sex and relationships education (SRE) is every child’s right, yet the government has ignored the views of parents, teachers and pupils, and failed to guarantee that all children, in all schools, get this vital learning for life.

‘While a focus on improving the quality of SRE and a review of the guidance given to schools are welcome we need to go further. SRE must begin in primary school and build year-on-year to enable young people to understand a wide spectrum of issues, including the difference between acceptable and abusive behaviour, consent and sexual health.

‘By ignoring the groundswell of support for SRE, and the recommendations of parliamentarians, the government is depriving children of education that prepares them for adulthood, and helps them develop safe, healthy and happy relationships.’

Anna Feuchtwang, Chief Executive of the National Children’s Bureau, said:

‘Young people tell us time and again that they want better teaching on the essential topics covered within PSHE: sex and relationships, physical and mental health, financial and political education, and bullying. Yet despite this, PSHE is still woefully inadequate, with Ofsted finding that teaching fell short in 40% of schools.

‘A commitment to raise the quality of PSHE is good news, but simply keeping the status of PSHE in the curriculum under review is a missed opportunity to make PSHE a compulsory part of all pupils’ education. This would have secured sufficient time in the school timetable, and ensured the subject is taught by properly trained teachers, to the highest possible standard and subject to regular inspection

.‘With high levels of child obesity, increasing numbers of pupils with mental health needs, and a persistent gap between rich and poor, we do our children a serious disservice if we do not deliver on our responsibility to prepare them for life. PSHE must be a statutory part of a whole-school approach to promoting well-being if we are to guarantee all pupils their right to vital ‘life lessons’ to prepare them for adulthood.’


Read or download Nicky Morgan’s letter announcing her decision in full:

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See also: Nicky Morgan: making PSHE statutory would do little to tackle the subject’s problems


So there is a general welcome for Nicky Morgan’s commitment to raise the quality of PSHE but clearly frustration and disappointment at the decision not to make the subject compulsory in all schools.

Which side of the argument are you on here, and why?

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Would making PSHE and SRE compulsory improve the quality of provision?

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Categories: Health, Policy, Primary, Secondary and Teaching.


  1. VictoriaJaquiss

    Death and sex should discussed, not exactly “taught” in schools by skilled and trained teachers, who are familiar to the children, not visiting strangers. All these things take me back to Foxwood School Seacroft. I was Head of PSE when my best friend, Mandy died, and I went on a bereavement training course (for me as well as them). The following year the students and I cried our way through the lessons, and I learnt things about life and death I hadn’t expected. It was a sad time and great times.
    As for the sex education, that was harder, trying to be knowledgable yet distant. Once a visiting STD speaker came in, and when discussing herpes and cold sores said to our students, “I’m sure I don’t have to tell you what oral sex is”. I was sure she did, and after my next session, one 15 year-old boy looked appalled and said, “I’m never going to do that.” He went on to be a well-known drummer and I often wonder . . (I didn’t tell them it was compulsory, by the way).

  2. allabouthechild

    SchoolsImprove 1decisionltd #SRE is vital. How it is taught also important. Obligatory PHSE if badly delivered can switch pupils off

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