Accord calls for inclusive relationships and sex education

By agency reporter
February 15, 2018

The Accord Coalition has urged that schools be required to provide an education about sex and relationships which helps protect pupils from sexual abuse and harassment, provides secondary school pupils with information on accessing sexual health services and which promotes an acceptance of lesbian, gay, bi and transgender (LGBT) people. Accord has made its comments this week in response to a Department for Education consultation regarding new statutory guidance on the provision of sex and relationship education.

Accord Coalition Chair, the Rev Stephen Terry, said: "High quality education about sex and relationships helps ensure pupils’ health and wellbeing. It is an important safeguarding measure and, though the best schools already provide it, Accord very much welcomes the decision last year by the Government and Parliament to make its teaching compulsory in all schools.

"However, in boosting the status and provision of the subject, we should seek to avoid a situation where some schools provide more thorough teaching in this area and then do so in ways that are not balanced or which undermine wider efforts to tackle discrimination and boost equality. Schools, including faith schools, should be able to teach about a range of religious and cultural perspectives, but this must not come at the expense of teaching core knowledge and promoting an acceptance of diversity.’

The consultation follows the passing of the Children and Social Work Act 2017, which from September 2019 will require all school pupils in England receiving primary education to be taught ‘relationships education’ and those receiving secondary education to be taught ‘relationships and sex education’. The Act also requires the Secretary of State to issue statutory guidance on the teaching of these subjects.

Last summer Accord helped a group of 53 faith leaders organise a joint open letter urging that the new guidance require schools to provide factual information about contraception and abortion, and to promote LGBT inclusivity.

Accord is a wide coalition of organisations which includes religious groups, humanists, teachers, trade unionists, educationalists and civil rights activists, working together for inclusive education.

* Read Accord's response to the consultaion on changes to the teaching of sex and relationship education and PSHE here 

* Accord Coalition http://accordcoalition.org.uk/

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