The Huffington Post is reporting that parliament has voted against legislation that would make sex and relationships education (SRE) compulsory in schools – despite the fact three-quarters of young people believe this would make them safer.
A 2016 parliamentary report found that almost a third of 16-18 year old girls had experienced unwanted touching at school, while NSPPC research shows 27% of 13-17 year old girls have experienced sexual violence in their relationships.
Currently, only state-school students receive compulsory lessons on the biological aspects of sex, while no schools are obliged to teach pupils about the social and emotional aspects of relationships.
Labour MP Stella Creasy’s call to a public bill committee to amend the Children and Social Work Bill to make “age-appropriate, inclusive” sex and relationship education (SRE) compulsory in all schools was voted down on Tuesday.
Speaking in the committee meeting, Creasy said: “When we think about the scandals that have been uncovered in the last couple of years, about how people used to talk and interact with young people, or about the treatment of young girls in our society, we can see that safeguarding children is not a question of the modern world but a question of a better world.”
Campaigners agree that the proposed amendment to the bill is “vital” in keeping young people safe.
“Compulsory, age-appropriate sex and relationship education for all children will mean they grow up understanding consent and healthy relationships and respecting themselves and each other,” Barnardo’s chief executive Javed Khan wrote in a blog on the Huffington Post UK on Tuesday.
“It would also mean they will be taught about the risks online, including sharing personal details and naked images and how to spot the signs of grooming, providing them with the skills and resilience they need to keep themselves safe from sexual violence, sexual bullying and harmful sexual content online, including pornography.”
I know some of our followers are very much against the thought of schools teaching children about sex and relationships. However, I do feel that the teaching of relationships alone would be of great benefit. How to spot an abusive relationship and poisonous friendships, and what to do about them. How to say ‘no’ and how to respond to the repercussions. It doesn’t all need to be about the ins and outs of the bedroom. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or on Twitter. ~ Sophie
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