The UK Government today launches a revitalization of the countries relationships and sex education curriculum.
Today they launch a consultation to update the current legislation from 17 years ago. They say it fails to address risks to children.
With the rise of online pornography, sexting and online safety concerns – the Education Secretary Justine Greening says:
‘It is unacceptable that Relationships and Sex Education guidance has not got an update for almost 20 years. Young people must have an education that teaches them the importance of healthy and stable relationships.’
Legislation passed earlier this year will make relationships and sex education compulsory in all schools in the UK.
However, Greening who is in a same-sex relationship still hasn’t confirmed whether the new compulsory classes will include LGBTI relationships.
But now the government are asking teachers, parents and young people to tell them what the new compulsory relationships and sex education curriculum should look like.
Currently only a third of pupils in local-authority run secondary schools get Sex and Relationship Education.
LGBTI charities welcome consultation
Ian Green, Chief Executive, Terrence Higgins Trust welcomes the consultation.
‘It’s vital that compulsory Relationships and Sex Education is up to date and inclusive. We are happy to feed into the Department for Education’s eight-week consultation.
‘In order to help tackle high rates of STIs among young people and ensure that all young people have the information they need to make informed decisions about relationships, we must see a strong emphasis on neglected topics such as sexual health and LGBT inclusion in this guidance. It’s vital that young people are at the heart of this initial consultation to ensure this is done right.’
Additionally, Ruth Hunt, Chief Executive Stonewall, is also happy to see this move from the Government:
‘We’re pleased to see the government taking steps to ensure lesbian, gay, bi and trans people, and the issues they face, are included in relationship and sex education.
‘The current guidance, published 17 years ago, contains no mention of LGBT people. Schools that teach LGBT-inclusive RSE are in the minority, leaving many LGBT young people without the information they need to make safe, informed decisions.’
One school that is bucking the trend is Woodside High School. Recognized by outstanding, they’ve seen homophobic bullying drop massively. They already deliver LGBTI inclusive sex education.
Campaigners will be using the opportunity to get as many voices into the consultation calling for LGBTI inclusive sex education.
Last year’s National Student Pride focused its panels on the subject. Student co-chair Hatti Smart says, ‘I hope lots of students have their say in the consultation. They know best about what sex and relationships education they want.’
Elsewhere, young people have already been having their say. Just this month, sexual health charity Brook launched a young people’s manifesto for sex education ahead of the government’s announcement.