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LGBT-inclusive SRE: one year on

LGBT inclusive SRE one year on

What a year it has been for Sex and Relationships Education!

This time last year we launched our pioneering report, Sshh..No Talking: LGBT-inclusive SRE, laying bare the stark and shocking reality of what sex and relationships education is like for young people.

Our report found that one in seven young people had ever been taught SRE, and 95% hasn’t been taught about LGBT-inclusive relationships. 75% hasn’t had anything about consent and 97% missed out on any discussion around gender identity.

We called on the government to End The Silence on SRE and make it compulsory in all schools so that all young people get taught the knowledge and skills they need for life.

Together with other charities, organisations and parliamentarians, we worked on an amendment to the Children and Social Work Bill in February this year demanding just this.

The government noticed, and they presented their own amendments to the bill. In March this amendment and the bill were passed into law, requiring all schools to teach age-appropriate Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) in secondary school and Relationships Education in primary school.

This was a huge leap forward, but our work is far from over.

We now need to ensure the Government’s guidance for schools and teachers on Relationships and Sex Education includes LGBT sex and relationships, and has a major emphasis on good sexual health, as well as HIV.

Young people want and deserve to be involved in decisions that affect what and how they are prepared for adult life. That’s why we’re organising an event in parliament, with Mencap and YoungMinds, so young people get a say on what RSE covers.

In 2013, Ofsted stated that 42% of primary schools and 38% of secondary schools have inadequate PSHE education.

Currently, teachers lack the training and confidence to teach young people about sex and relationships, and to address sensitive subjects. Currently 20% of PSHE teachers have no training at all. But with RSE now becoming statutory, teachers must be trained and equipped to deliver it effectively.

"Young people today have increasing access to the internet and mobile phones with relationships increasingly conducted online. This can leave  them vulnerable to sexting, pornography and grooming. Well-taught RSE that includes these topics can equip young people to navigate these issues in a safe and healthy way.

And core topics such as LGBT relationships and consent need to be part and parcel of each RSE lesson, not just seen as a tick-box exercise.

If you are aged 18 or under and are interested in taking part in our event in Parliament on Wednesday 13 September between 2.30pm and 3.30pm, then please email alex.phillips@tht.org.uk.

Alex PhillipsAlex Phillips is Campaigns and Parliamentary Officer at Terrence Higgins Trust.