An open letter to Education Secretary Justine Greening, co-signed by MPs from across parties and leading charities was delivered this week. The letter (which you can read here) makes the case for new legislation in the Children and Social Work Bill to ensure children are taught about health relationships and consent in schools.
The letter states: Children and young people today are subjected to pressures in and outside school that are seriously affecting their mental health and changing their perceptions of what is normal in relationships. Girlguiding found in 2014 that 59% of girls and young women aged 13–21 had faced some form of sexual harassment at school or college. Another study found almost all (96%) of gay pupils hear homophobic language such as ‘poof’ or ‘lezza’ in school (Stonewall, 2012). More recent statistics show one in five girls are sent unwanted pornographic images (Girlguiding, 2016). School leaders report that sexting is endemic, and research by Ofsted in March 2015 found less than half of schools had implemented an acceptable policy for technology in school and that training for teachers in this area was inconsistent.
The letter was written by the End Violence Against Women Coalition (EVAW) who have also developed a short film making the case for SRE and an online petition asking that SRE be made compulsory in all schools.
Please consider supporting this campaign, sharing the film with your students and signing the petition.
But, SRE should not stand alone in schools. It needs to be part of a whole school approach. On this site you will find all the resources you need to develop a whole school approach to sex and relationships education. If you would like to write a blog about your thoughts on this issue please get in touch!
Young people need, want and deserve good quality SRE – lets work together to make that happen!