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Sex and relationships education (SRE)

SRE campaign logo

It’s time for RSE lessons to be LGBT inclusive.

From September 2019, all secondary schools in England will be required to teach Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) lessons. This was a victory lead by us after decades of campaigning.

Primary schools will also be required to teach Relationships Education lessons.

In February 2018, we submitted evidence [PDF] to the Department for Education on what should be included in RSE lessons, including:

  • A strong emphasis on sexual health, with sexual health professionals providing information about local services available. 
  • LGBT-inclusive lessons that ensure all young people feel fully represented in the topics being discussed.
  • Up-to-date information on HIV that reflects the modern day realities of the virus.
  • Proper training, support and resources for teachers.
  • The right information at the right time.

Background

In March 2017 we achieved our first major step forward in our campaign on SRE. The Government committed to ensuring SRE is delivered by September 2019 in all schools in England: primaries, secondaries, academies, state-maintained, free schools and even private schools. Read our full reaction to the news.

Our work is far from over but this is a huge leap forward. Over the coming months we will be working hard to ensure that the guidance is updated, including ensuring that it is LGBT-inclusive as well as having a major emphasis on sexual health, among other things.

Thanks again for all of your support – this landmark decision couldn’t have happened without you, our supporters.

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.

 

 

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