Accord Coalition joins Sex Education Forum

August 3, 2012

The Accord Coalition has today joined the Sex Education Forum (SEF), which is the country’s leading authority on age appropriate Sex and Relationships Education (SRE). The SEF was founded in 1987 and brings together a large array of SRE practitioners and member groups, including health, education, and religion and belief organisations.

SRE is taught in a great many schools, and normally as part of Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE). However, the quality and quantity of SRE provision in the UK lags behind that of many developed countries. A 2007 survey by the UK Youth parliament of over 20,000 young people found that 61 per cent of boys and 70 per cent of girls aged over 17 reported not receiving any information at school about personal relationships.

The Report Sex and Relationship Education: Views from teachers, parents and governors (2010) identified that 80% of teachers did not feel sufficiently well trained and confident to talk about SRE in class and only 9% of school leaders rated the SRE teaching materials available to them as ‘very useful’. 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’. In contrast however there was widespread support for SRE being taught in schools and the report found that 90% of parents and 93% of Governors thought schools should be involved in providing SRE.

State maintained schools came very close to having to be required to provide pupils with SRE in 2010, as the un-amended Children, Schools and Families Bill 2009/10 proposed making PSHE part of the National Curriculum. Despite widespread support for this move, including from Accord and faith groups, such as the Church of England and Catholic Education Service of England and Wales, the proposal fell due to disagreement with the Opposition and the Bill running out of time due to the general election that year.

Chair of the Accord Coalition, Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain MBE, said ‘Accord is delighted to have been accepted as a member of the Sex Education Forum. The Forum advocates a rights based approach to age appropriate SRE that is grounded on evidence and the expressed needs of children and young people, which Accord is very pleased to support, and by joining we hope to strengthen the Forum’s voice yet further.’

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