Sex education guidance ‘behind the times’, say leading teacher and parent groups

More than 60 of Britain’s leading groups representing parents, teachers and sexual health experts have signed a letter urging David Cameron to urgently update sex and relationships teaching guidance that is 13 years old and “behind the times”. This is from the Telegraph

The current guidance, the only official material teachers use to plan lessons on sex and relationships, was last published in 2000, practically predating the internet.

The document has failed to be updated since, and ignores the rise of online porn, the pressure for young people to document their lives and relationships online, the growth of ‘sexting’ and unregulated chat rooms.

In a letter to The Daily Telegraph, the 69 experts, including Reg Bailey, David Cameron’s adviser on family issues and chief executive of The Mothers’ Union, Chris Keates, the head of teaching union NASUWT, and Simon Blake, chief executive of Brook, the sexual health charity, said teachers lack the right tools to help young people navigate the distorted and inaccurate information they see about sex and relationships online.

“As a new term begins, we note that many schools are no better equipped to teach sex and relationships education (SRE) to a good standard than in previous years. Ofsted inspections have found that SRE needs improving in a third of schools. Schools have out-of-date guidance, which was published 13 years ago.”

…The experts voiced concern that current SRE guidance predated a wave of equality laws which teach young people about non-violent, respectful relationships. “The Government SRE guidance is also behind the times on technology and safeguarding, with no reference to addressing on-line safety, ‘sexting’ or pornography in SRE,” they said.

Teachers felt “anxious” about which topics to include when teaching sex and relationships and would welcome an update to the guidance so they have a better steer on how to approach sensitive subjects with teenagers.

Research commissioned by Telegraph Wonder Womencarried out by the NSPCC, showed seven in 10 pupils think porn should be taught in sex education classes, while one in three pupils believe porn dictates how young people have to behave in a relationship. The NSPCC said girls were having to act “like porn stars” in order to be liked by boys.

The letter published in the Telegraph today, also signed by Jane Less, chair of the Sex Education Forum, Russell Hobby, general secretary of the National Association of Headteachers, and Hilary Emery, chief executive of the National Children’s Bureau, comes as launches a campaign for better sex education.

Telegraph Wonder Women is campaigning for better sex education, urging David Cameron to bring sex and relationships education into the 21st century. Sign our petition at or email us at Follow the campaign on Twitter: #bettersexeducation, @TeleWonderWomen.

More at:  Sex education guidance ‘behind the times’, say leading teacher and parent groups

See the full letter in the Telegraph at: School sex education guidance must be updated to reflect the digital age

Tell us what you think of this call for an urgent update for sex and relationship teaching guidance and let us know if you will be signing the petition to David Cameron…

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Categories: Health and Teaching.


  1. JessBond247

    SchoolsImprove Great to see Girlguiding backing the campaign & showing how important informal education like our 4PeerEd scheme can be

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