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Relationships and Sex Education Digest

Feb/March 2015


Parliamentary news and current affairs

The Education Committee inquiry into PSHE education and Sex and Relationships education released a report recommending that PSHE and SRE be made compulsory in primary and secondary schools.

Other recommendations include retaining parental right to withdraw, and the Government formally endorsing SRE guidance produced by Brook, the Sex Education Forum and the PSHE Association. Read the full report:

The PSHE Association response


14 All Party Parliamentary Group chairs supported statutory SRE and PSHE in a joint signed letter to the Telegraph.

School sex education

SIR – As chairmen of All Party Parliamentary Groups across the political spectrum, we write to add our voice to calls to make Personal Social Health & Economic (PSHE) education a compulsory part of the curriculum. This follows today’s report into PSHE education by the Commons Education Committee.

There is a strong and increasing body of evidence that PSHE education has the potential to have a positive impact on academic success, safeguarding, physical, mental and sexual health, equalities, employment prospects and social justice, while building the character, grit, resilience and determination that young people need to thrive in modern Britain.

We have recently seen calls for statutory PSHE education from five royal medical colleges, two royal societies, four leading teaching unions, the office of the Children’s Commissioner, from Public Health England and the Equality and Human Rights Commission. New evidence shows that statutory status has the support of 87 per cent of parents, 88 per cent of teachers and 85 per cent of business leaders.

Yet according to Ofsted, more than 40 per cent of schools do not have good PSHE education. This means that millions of pupils who are not getting appropriate teaching that prepares them for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of life as stipulated by the Education Act.


Under a Labour government Sex and relationships education will be made statutory, and all new and existing teachers will be appropriately trained under Labour’s plans to tackle homophobic bullying. (3 February)


Snapchat has launched a safety centre for parents and children, in response to worries from parents and teachers, and developed with online safety groups including the UK Safer Internet Centre. (23 February)


Reports and Surveys

According to research published by the NSPCC, 40% of teenage girls have been pressured into having sex, and physical violence and abuse was also a factor in 20% of relationships.
Read the full results. (11 February)

The Children’s Commissioner has released a report stating that too many sexually exploited children are still not identified. The report states that “it is worrying that the inquiry’s that PSHE should be a statutory component of the curriculum has not been adopted by the Government.” (17 February)

The Joint Select Committee on Human Rights have released a report on violence against women and girls, mentioning the preventative role of PSHE. In relation to the role of schools, it says that “whilst the government has undertaken good work to raise awareness in this area, schools should play a greater role and include issues of violence against women and girls within the PSHE curriculum.” (19 February)

Figures from the Office for National Statistics have shown that teenage pregnancy (among girls aged 15 to 17) in England and Wales is at its lowest rate in 46 years. The ONS have attributed the drop to several possible factors, including the improved programmes of sex and relationship education introduced by successive governments. (25 February)


Comment and Opinion Pieces

‘A step forward on sex and relationship education is long overdue’.
Caroline Lucas has written a blog on her private member’s bill to make PSHE education statutory in all state-funded schools. (26 February)


The Guardian teachers network have written a piece on ‘How to teach…relationships and consent’

The piece includes a number of lesson ideas, advice from the Sex Education Forum, recommended resources include EACH UK and Expect Respect from Women’s Aid and details of the ‘Effective PSHE in Special Education Provision’ training day which the PSHE Association will hold on Friday 5th June. (9 February)