New guidance on sex education is vital, says National Education Union

By agency reporter
December 21, 2017

Young people desperately need relationship and sex education which covers sexual harassment, sexting and online porn and the other issues they face today, says the National Education Union responding to the Department for Education’s consultation on updated guidance.

Dr Mary Bousted, joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, said, “Young people need relationships and sex education that is fit for the world they live in in the 21st century. The report we put out last week with UK Feminista, shows how urgent this is because sexual harassment of girls is widespread, with 37 per cent of girls in mixed-sex schools having been sexually harassed at school.

“We are calling on relationship and sex education (RSE) to be made a compulsory part of personal, social, health and economic education (PSHE) for all school children. Young people need to be given the knowledge and skills to challenge unacceptable and harmful behaviours and equip them to stay safe. It is not good enough to rely on parents to provide the information and advice young people need when many do not have the time or information to do so.

“For it to be effective, the Government needs to invest in training for teachers so that schools are able to provide high quality RSE. It also needs to ensure schools have high quality resources and enough time in the school curriculum to teach RSE.

“Primary school children need to be given the correct names of body parts, and to learn about menstruation and puberty. RSE also needs to be fully accessible to pupils with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), promote gender equality, and be LGBT+ inclusive.

“High quality RSE would prepare our children to have healthy relationships in adulthood, as well as tackle gender inequality and help our children to stay safe online and offline.

“We are relieved the Government has finally got around to updating its 2000 guidance and will respond to the consultation.”

Download the report on sexism in schools here

* National Education Union


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