The Accord Coalition on inclusive schooling has reacted with dismay to the news that the government will not consider making Sex and Relationships Education (SRE) part of the National Curriculum. It is urging a rethink on the issue.
Responding to a written question from the Liberal Democrat MP Annette Brooke, the Minister of State for Schools, Nick Gibb MP, who met with Accord last year, 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 that "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 a requirement 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."
Dr Romain continued: "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", said Dr Romain.
The Accord Coalition is an alliance of religious and non-religious groups seeking inclusive schooling and the reform of faith schools to ensure equal access, fair treatment and opportunity for all.
Its founding members are the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, the Christian think-tank Ekklesia and the British Humanist Association - along with individual and corporate supporters from Muslim, Jewish, Hindu and other backgrounds.