Government challenged over failure to require the teaching of Sex and Relationships Education in schools

December 1, 2010

The Accord Coalition has reacted with dismay to the news that the Government will not consider making Sex and Relationships Education (SRE) part of the National Curriculum. Responding to a written question from the Liberal Democrat MP Annette Brooke, the Minister of State for Schools Nick Gibb MP has revealed that SRE will not come within the scope of the Government’s forthcoming National Curriculum review.

Chair of the Accord Coalition Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain said ‘all children should be entitled to high standard Sex and Relationships Education. It is beyond belief that the Government does not intend to make SRE compulsory in all schools, when we know that good age appropriate SRE reduces unwanted pregnancies, the spread of sexually transmitted infections and gives children the tools to be clear about personal boundaries, resist pressure, to seek help when they need it and to challenge misleading and inappropriate messages in the media

‘Current SRE provision in the UK lags behind that of many developed countries and at present schools only have to teach the basic elements of human biology as they appear in the science curriculum. There can be little wonder therefore as to why the UK has growing rates of STIs and the highest teenage pregnancy rates in Western Europe.

‘There is widespread support for making SRE part of the National Curriculum among educationalists, religion and belief groups, health organisations, as well as in parliament and among parents, schools and young people. The last Government came within a whisker of making SRE part of the National Curriculum and our continued failure to ensure that all schools provide thorough, accurate and balanced SRE undermines the future health and wellbeing of our children.

‘We challenge the Government to spell out why it is denying the next generation the vital tools it needs to navigate its way through life’.


The report Sex and Relationship Education: Views from teachers, parents and governors, realised in October of this year and commissioned by the National Confederation of Parent Teacher Associations, the National Association of Head Teachers, the National Governors Association and Durex, found that 90% of parents and 93% of Governors thought schools should be involved in providing SRE. More than one in four school leaders and a fifth of governors believe that current SRE in schools is failing children by preparing them for the future ‘not well’ or ‘not at all well’.

A 2007 survey by the UK Youth parliament of over 20,000 young people found 61 per cent of boys and 70 per cent of girls aged over 17 reported not receiving any information at school about personal relationships.

Figures released by the Health Protection Agency (HPS) in August showed that rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) increased again in 2009 in England, continuing the steady rise in STIs over the last decade.

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