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Sex and relationships education

SRE campaign logo

Read our report and take action.

Make sure your MP is on the right side of history and ask them to support compulsory Sex and Relationships Education.

The Children and Social Work Bill is passing through Parliament right now, and this is the best chance we have of making Sex and Relationships compulsory in all schools for all young people.

We need MPs to support amendments to the bill which include SRE – so take action today, and make sure your MP is on the right side of history.

Step 1. Find out who your MP is
Step 2. Tweet or email your MP asking them to support mandatory SRE in Parliament:

Please support mandatory Sex and Relationships Education as Children and Social Work Bill passes through Parliament! #EndTheSilence

Please support mandatory Sex and Relationships Education

Our SRE report

Our ‘SRE: Shh… No Talking’ report [PDF], published in July 2016, highlighted that sex and relationships education (SRE) is inadequate or absent in many schools. The report was published following a survey of over 900 young people aged 16-24 and it revealed that:

  • 99 per cent of young people surveyed thought SRE should be mandatory in all schools
  • 97 per cent thought it should be LGBT inclusive
  • one in seven respondents had not received any SRE at all
  • over half (61 per cent) received SRE just once a year or less
  • half of young people rated the SRE they received in school as either ‘poor’ or ‘terrible’
  • just 2 per cent rated it as ‘excellent’ and only 10 per cent rated it as ‘good’
  • 95 per cent were not taught about LGBT relationships

Meanwhile, several key topics were conspicuously absent from respondents’ experiences of SRE:

  • 75 per cent of young people were not taught about consent
  • 95 per cent had not learned about LGBT sex and relationships
  • 89 per cent were not taught about sex and pleasure
  • 97 per cent missed out on any discussion around gender identity
  • three out of five respondents either didn’t remember receiving information on HIV in school (32 per cent) or didn’t receive information on HIV in school (27 per cent)

We collaborate with other organisations when campaigning on SRE. Terrence Higgins Trust is a member of the Sex Education Forum (SEF) who work together with its members and other stakeholders to achieve quality SRE. Established in 1987, SEF believe that all children and young people have the right to good SRE. SEF’s work on SRE is underpinned by evidence, a rights-based approach and the expressed needs of children and young people.

Background on the need for SRE

Sex and Relationships Education (SRE) prepares children and young people for the physical, social and emotional changes they are going to face. We believe all children and young people deserve high quality, comprehensive, age-appropriate, LGBT-inclusive SRE.

The UK Government must ensure that the Education For All Bill requires all academies (primary and secondary) to teach SRE through a contractual requirement – giving it the same compulsory status as religious education.

SRE:

  • improves young people’s sexual health
  • delays sexual activity
  • reduces the number of people students have sex with
  • increases use of condoms and other contraceptives.

We believe SRE should be part of the statutory national curriculum, as part of a broader programme of PSHE. We will continue to fight for this, even though the current government do not want to deliver on it. It is crucial that we don’t fail our current and future generations of young people. Sadly, at the moment we are failing them.

Making sure young people have SRE lessons is only part of the picture. For SRE to be effective it has to be of high quality. Teachers should have access to good training and support as part of their Initial Teacher Training and Continuing Professional Development.

Due to the government’s recent announcements, it is unlikely that SRE will be made compulsory any time soon, so we are campaigning to make sure existing teaching of SRE gets better.

If SRE is made compulsory then we would like to see current teachers given the proper training and support they require, or for schools to work with external specialist organisations such as ourselves and Brook. As well as this, the government guidance, which is now 16 years out of date, needs to be updated.

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Our campaigns

Take action now to change sexual health in Great Britain