Accord backs compulsory Sex and Relationships Education in schools

July 15, 2015

The Accord Coalition has welcomed the cross-party support for a Private Members Bill seeking to require state funded schools to provide Sex and Relationship Education (SRE). The Bill, tabled this afternoon by Accord Distinguished Supporter and former Green Party leader, Dr Caroline Lucas MP, has received support from across the political spectrum, attracting formal backing from Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat and Plaid Cymru MPs.

Accord Coalition Steering Group member and co-Director of the religious think tank Ekklesia, Jonathan Bartley, said ‘High quality Sex and Relationships Education can make a major contribution in boosting pupil’s health and wellbeing, but progress is being frustrated by a narrow lobby lacking in evidence, which seeks to delay when information surrounding how human reproduction occurs is presented. We urge the Government to heed public sentiment, evidence and expert opinion, and require all schools to provide SRE.’

Urging for safeguards at faith schools, he added ‘In providing SRE, faith schools should be able to teach about a balanced range of religious and cultural perspectives on matters related to sex and relationships, but it is vital that schools be required to promote an acceptance of sexual diversity and transgendered people. Otherwise efforts to tackle prejudice could be undermined.’

The Bill follows publication in February of the House of Common’s Education Select Committee report ‘Life lessons: PSHE and SRE in schools‘. The report highlighted the contribution high quality SRE can make towards safeguarding children and boosting their health and well being, and the support of parents, pupils and staff for schools to provide the subject. Among its recommendations, the report called for the provision of SRE to be made statutory at both primary and secondary schools.

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